Choosing your partners carefully is an important first step in building state-of-the art advanced meter management (AMM) systems.

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AP Systems, a leader in AMM for the progressive Italian electricity market, first started working with its current technology partner, Wavecom, in 2002. “We consider ourselves pioneers in combining metering with radio transmission. In fact, AP Systems was one of the first companies to use radio combined with metering as early as 1971,” commented Davide Bassetto, Mobile Information Technology Department - Product Manager of AP Systems.

So, for AP Systems, the evolution from basic radio transmission of electricity data to GSM was an easy step. And their recent evolution to GPRS was the natural evolution. Wavecom was an appealing partner for AP Systems for many reasons, but by far the most important was access to their Open AT® software suite. Bassetto continued: “Our customers, most of whom are large electricity suppliers, had certain critical needs that only the Wavecom Open AT® software suite allowed us to satisfy. The most important was, by far, system reliability.” Today, AP Systems has more than 130,000 Wavecom-powered units in the field. In order to make their network of utility meters state-of-the-art, many major electricity providers have turned to wireless connectivity.

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Since the Italian electricity A market is one of the most advanced, with an installed base of more than 500,000 GSMequipped electricity meters, providing the required level of reliability is key to keeping the customer happy

Automatic Network reset ensures connectivity

AP Systems’ APYLINK AT420 advanced meter management module is one of the most reliable on the market today. A key feature is the automatic network reset that turns the system off and on at intervals of 12 hours. This re-set feature is critical in ensuring that connectivity is always maintained. This type of configuration is possible to develop using Wavecom’s Open AT® software suite that is fully programmable in native C language execution.

Security a key requirement

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Another key customer requirement from electricity companies is security. Security for the electricity industry means limiting access to critical meter data. Wavecom technology allowed AP Systems to build in features that restrict access to meter data to authorised-only sources via preloaded numbers that can easily and quickly be modified remotely. Remote access, using DOTA (download over the air) was the final piece of the offer that AP Systems needed to ensure that their solution stood out from their competitors. “The ability to update applications remotely via the wireless networks means huge savings and increased efficiency for the utility companies,” Bassetto added.

Bill of materials lowered

In addition to all of the important features that AP Systems can pass on to its customers, Wavecom technology has also allowed them to significantly lower the bill of materials (BOM). “We were able to lower the BOM of our system by eliminating a microprocessor. We did this by porting our application directly on to Wavecom’s Wireless CPU®. Before Wavecom, we worked with other wireless module providers, but only Wavecom offered us the possibility to significantly reduce the BOM of our device. As a result, our solution is very cost effective.”

Clearly, the partnership of AP Systems and Wavecom has been a beneficial and fruitful one that has held up over the long term and continues to work for creating revolutionary metering devices.