The smart meter and billing market has seen a rash of new hardware and software products launching this week.
Advanced metering and data software company Master Meter has unveiled a new advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system - Allegro - and a meter data management (MDM) and analytics suite - Harmony.
The solutions for water utilities include near real time event monitoring, geographic information system integration, and automated migration between Drive-by and Fixed Network modes.
The Allegro AMI network is a 450MHz system that uses Master Meter's Under-the-Glass technology that encloses components in an IP68-rated hermetically sealed design with the RF circuitry, meter register and dual-band antenna.
Commenting on the new products, Ian MacLeod, vice president of marketing at Master Meter, said: "The overarching architectural design for Allegro and Harmony was inspired by the simplicity found in nature.
"Efficient use and design of network components to maximize the RF footprint, while synchronizing communication between endpoint and collector, results in the most cost effective AMI system available today."
Connectivity for hard-to-reach meters
Meanwhile, US smart infrastructure company Aclara has launched a through-the-lid antenna that provides a connectivity solution for hard-to-access meter sites.
The company claims the through-the-lid antenna can reach meters in pits and vaults providing "equivalent communications performance to units mounted under composite-material lids".
Aclara said the design allows utilities to reuse existing metal lids or replace them with lids that allow radio frequency signals to penetrate.
The antenna can be installed through an industry-standard-sized hole drilled in the pit lid.
The product can attach to the Aclara STAR network meter transmission unit, which, in turn, is connected to the meter.
Cloud-based water billing solution
And finally, Indian company Magnaquest Technologies has brought its first billing and CRM solution to market for water utility service providers.
The new product - SURE! - is a subscription lifecycle management suite with end-to-end solutions including billing, CRM, metered and convergent billing and pre-paid and post-paid enablement.
The cloud-based solution can integrate with analogue water meters and smart water meter infrastructure, the company said in a statement.
Other features of SURE! include meter data management, workflow management, dynamic pricing management, and payments and collections.
Magnaquest, which has traditionally operated in the PayTV, Broadband, Multiplay and Cloud markets, sees the utility solution has part of a solution for Smart Cities IT infrastructure, said chief marketing officer Ramakrishna Mashetty.
"SURE! solution from Magnaquest has already been deployed by one of the top 5 US energy utilities companies for its home utility billing needs.
"The solution will now provide new differentiating features in terms of payment options that include mobile app based payments, kiosk based payments to serve utility companies' varied class of customers."