Metmotec's Stronghold probe to secure optical meter reading sensorsUK machine to machine company Metmotec has launched a new product that allows remote reading of manually read utility meters.

The company, which supplies modems for use in industrial and commercial utility meters, has brought Stronghold to market.

The product is a probe that creates a physically secure interface to meter optical ports allowing permanent attachment of modems or gateways for remote reading.

Stronghold works by using magnets with more than 20 times the attraction force outlined in the IEC 62056-21 standard to create a secure attachment with the ferromagnetic disc on the electricity meter's optical port.

Fixed use of the meter optical port, avoids the complex task of accessing a meter’s electrical communication port, said the company in a statement.

The technique also enables remote access to the many meters without an electrical communications port.

Metmotec supplies GSM/GPRS modems with Stronghold probes, available with connector options for hand-held and tablet computers and phones used in meter reading.

Turning 'dumb' meters smart

PowerCost Monitor dumb to smart meter optical sensorThe market for retrofitting mechanical meters with optical sensors to give smart functionality is growing.

In December 2014, Metering.com reported that US utility Hawaiian Electric is trialling a retrofit real-time energy monitoring tool that fits onto a standard analogue meter.

The state’s largest utility plans to fit about 80 PowerCost Monitors, made by Blue Line Innovations, which use an optical sensor to provide real-time data through the cloud to homeowners.

Gene Wang, chairman and CEO of People Power, which provides the cloud technology, said:  “The [PowerCost Monitor] slides over your regular meter, [and it] either reads that spinning disk or it reads the pulse, then transmits the information into our cloud and back to our Presence Pro Energy Application.”

And in October 2014, we included an optical sensor by NorthQ in our hot list of products at European Utility Week.

(Pic credit: CPS Energy)