Wireless Connection (Pty) Ltd. received the South African Prepayment Week Innovation Award 2004 for its holistic solution for the sustainable metering and management of electricity and water services. The Wireless Connection SMART® prepayment metering system leverages the cellular telephone network to provide management tools to utilities, allowing meters to be read regularly (typically once a day) and accurately. Connection and disconnection can be carried out remotely, and utilities receive immediate advice of loss of service and tampering.

The flexible vending philosophy was driven by the desire to provide a choice of convenient purchasing points for consumers, who can buy electricity or water via their cellular phones or from the keyboard on the home interface unit. Value added services include initiation of emergency messages by pressing one button on the dwelling unit keypad; warning messages to alert consumers that credit is running out; and SMS (text) messages that can be sent to or from the dwelling unit keypad. A centralised management system enables control complete control of the utility distribution process, as well as flexible reporting, and changes in tariffs or free quota are easily accommodated.

jonesak@iafrica.com / www.prepayment.com