Reduce potential leak points by 60% with Strongcast

Water Main Leak

Non-revenue water losses through leaks is a challenge that councils and utilities across New Zealand face, with aging infrastructure and poor-quality fittings contributing to millions of litres of lost water every year.

Councils are looking to upgrade and replace water networks and infrastructure to take advantage of new technology and methods which will help them become more efficient and robust. While many councils and utilities race towards advanced metering solutions, it must be emphasised that even the smartest meters can be hindered by poor performing ancillary components. The meter is the heart of this setup, yet the neighbouring parts are just as critical to the success of this asset.

Strongcast have developed a solution that can help reduce the risk of water leaks. Its Complete Meter Assembly Kit has minimised the amount of componentry and connection points to reduce the risk of leaks compared to other solutions on the market.

The Tingalpa, Queensland, Australia case study, outlined in the video below, demonstrated that on a street with 15 properties, a typical assembly could have 11 connection points. Taken across all 15 properties, this would equate to 165 connection points. Using the Strongcast solution, this was reduced to 60 connection points, therefore decreasing the risk of connection point leaks by 60%. Having less connections helps reduce the time it takes to install each assembly, improving efficiency and driving down labour costs.

Watch the video below to see how this works.

Through the DataCol and Itron partnership, Strongcast’s superior range of products are now available in New Zealand. DataCol take an agnostic, multi-vendor approach, which enables them to work with multiple meter brands. It gives New Zealand water utilities and councils the flexibility to use multi-meter networks, rather than replacing any current meters with vendor exclusive equipment.

DataCol saves clients’ time and money, while still producing reliable, quality results. The open technology framework of DataCol also protects their client’s investment – if another type of meter is added to the infrastructure in the future, it would still be possible to read its data using the DataCol solution.

To find out more about the benefits DataCol, Itron and Strongcast  can bring to your New Zealand water utility infrastructure, give Mark from DataCol a call on 021 416 311, or send him a message through the contact page.

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Electra Announces Sale of DataCol

Electra Group has entered into an agreement to sell the Datacol business including Australian activities to Wellington-based company, Arthur D. Riley and Co Ltd (‘ADR’).

The agreement is now unconditional with final settlement to occur on the 29th September.

Electra Group Chief Executive, Neil Simmonds says he has been working closely with the Board over the last year to conduct a strategic review of the Group’s business and the decision has been made to pursue other growth opportunities.

“DataCol has made a positive contribution to the overall performance of the Group over many years. We are grateful to the entire team for their efforts and achievements, particularly in transforming the business from an electricity meter reading business into a leading edge data collection, monitoring and management business that has quickly established a market dominant position in the New Zealand water reading market and managed to secure significant international contracts.”
“However, we believe that the future success of the business requires greater size and strength, and that the best way to achieve this is through market consolidation. By consolidating forces with ADR, the Board believes the combined operation can more quickly achieve the required economies of scale that will better position the business for future growth, and provide the most positive outcome for the business, its staff and clients.”

DataCol Today
Established in 1999, DataCol is a data collection, monitoring and management business that has gained widespread recognition for its service commitment and levels of innovation.

A fully owned subsidiary of Electra Group, DataCol employs 23 full time staff across it’s Christchurch head office and Auckland and Wellington branches.

DataCol’s heritage is as a successful provider of meter reading services across the electricity, gas and water sectors. Crucial to this success has been the development of the proprietary SevenX electronic meter reading software package.
The company’s electricity and gas customers include Contact Energy, Genesis Energy, Mercury Energy, Meridian Energy, Energy Online, TrustPower and Powershop. In just seven years it has secured 80% of the New Zealand water meter reading market, with clients including Watercare Services (Auckland) and Tauranga City Council, Waikato Councils, Christchurch and Dunedin City Councils as well as Sydney Water in Australia.

In the water sector, DataCol has partnered with many Irrigation Service companies as well as Meter and sensor vendors to provide comprehensive water monitoring and irrigation management solutions, helping water consent holders comply with government regulation and improve their water usage efficiency through better information and reporting.

In 2015 the company purchased a large player in the agricultural sector, Watermetrics, bringing together a large client base with DataCol’s market leading, proprietary remote data collection and monitoring system (Collect) to create a strong market proposition.

Who are ADR?
Established in 1909, Arthur D. Riley & Co. Ltd (ADR) is a wholly New Zealand owned company supplying and servicing the utility industry with special emphasis on electricity and water metering, and high voltage equipment for distribution networks.

The company is proud to represent a select group of manufacturers from across the globe, and the knowledge and competence of its technical personnel who supply solutions to clients in New Zealand, Australia and throughout the Pacific Islands.
Since 1989 they have been involved with the supply of handheld technology utilised by field staff, this has primarily focused on utility meter reading and parking enforcement solutions. Initially using overseas technology , in the late 90’s they committed to the development of their own solution for both meter reading and parking enforcement and management and have continued to develop and offer innovative solutions to their client base.

In recent years a change in ownership structure has created a focus on the need to consolidate their experience in the remote acquisition, monitoring, management and control. From being successful in the supply of Cybetec IP Gateways to Transpower, the acquisition of Control Systems (a SCADA integration company) and ADR’s recently announced acquisition of Abbey Systems – a successful SCADA hardware and Design company who has exposure in local, USA, Australian and South Asia markets – the Datacol acquisition further increases the experience and offering that they can bring to the market place.

Garth Mickell, Managing Director at Arthur D Riley & Co Ltd says the combined operation will strengthen ADR’s market position as a legacy meter reading provider, by being able to offer synergies and efficiencies in operations, and creating New Zealand’s leading data monitoring and management business. This allows the business to actively pursue opportunities both nationally and internationally, particularly in the data collection, monitoring and management sectors. “We are excited to be consolidating forces and to build on the excellent work that’s been achieved to date.”

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Water, water everywhere…

Is smart metering the only technology response for utilities wanting to improve the collection of water metering data?  

There doesn’t seem to be a day goes by when there isn’t one mention of water in our news broadcasts or social channels.  No matter where in the world you choose, water is a top topic under discussion.

Regionally the focus ranges from rainfall, capture and treatment in the driest communities to storage, clean supply, cost, measurement and whether to impose further levies in those populations which have already recognised the importance of water conservation.  Not only logistically but politically the arguments continue to intensify around safe and healthy water supply.

With predictions for our future water supply looking ominous, attention is constantly focussed on the present day measuring and managing of our most precious natural commodity. For example, the use of drones is changing the way public drains are inspected in the United Kingdom.

Vast money and time has been dedicated to coming up with workable solutions to an ideal water meter and as technology continues to get ever smarter how do you make the decision for future proofing your service?

Smart-meter networks are increasingly being evaluated and rolled out by water authorities, in order to gather current consumption data to help with decision making for better managing services and supply. While there’s little doubt for the need to invest in technology solutions how do you work out the best approach for your network in terms of its longevity and future flexibility?

Rapid technology lifecycles are making business planning for water authorities and metering providers even harder.  The smart money is on building a stable foundation which can grow with new technology yet to be developed and adapt to future demands of your customers.

Advances in computing power, data management and communications bandwidth make the Internet of Things (IoT) a credible alternative towards measuring and managing existing water networks. Intelligent electronic devices deployed at pumpstations and distribution networks, involving applications, sensors and networking can make the existing infrastructure smarter.

The challenge is charting a path to achieve this vision using cost-effective strategies. Meeting this challenge requires tuning out the noise about industry disruption to identify and seize the opportunities that IoT technologies enable. To realise the full potential of IoT technologies, we need to understand how to create and capture value from information.

…and not a drop to drink.

It is over 200 years since Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote this famous line in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – getting it right for your network now will go some way to ensuring these poetic words don’t come true anytime soon.

To learn more about how water stakeholders in the Australian utilities space can find inexpensive alternatives to smart data collection, DataCol have developed an Insight Series.  Read the white paper Managing what you measure.

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