Massolia News

Retrofitting instead of Replacement: How to turns any electricity, gas or water meter into a smart meter

Millions of utility meters all over the world are still being read manually – a process that wastes time and is prone to errors. Until now, replacing these meters involved significant on-site effort and costs. Now, help is at hand in the shape of the EnergyCam from FAST FORWARD AG, a simple and cost-saving add-on that works with any mechanical utility meter. This tiny device takes optical meter readings and digitizes them before transmitting them via a network or wirelessly to a selected gateway. The new, market-ready EnergyCam will be introduced to the international trade sector in November 2014 at the European Utility Week in Amsterdam.

Until now, a quick and simple switch to smart metering technology has remained a dream. Installing a smart meter always involved having a technician cutting off the supply, which takes time and effort and often involves extra expense. The EnergyCam works around these issues and makes it possible not only for energy suppliers, network operators and meter reading services but also for companies to turn all conventional electricity, gas and water meters into smart meters in a completely non-invasive way and to integrate them into existing smart metering systems. This makes billing simpler for energy suppliers and eliminates the 2-3% error rate that is common to all manual meter reading processes. Companies can use the resulting data to radically improve their energy management processes.

Customer Installation and Operation

Installing and operating the EnergyCam is simple and can be performed on-site by the customer. All you have to do is peel the backing off the adhesive pad, hold the EnergyCam in front of the meter and press the button. Red LED arrows help the user move the EnergyCam into place and foam guides ensure that it isn’t fixed in place before it is correctly positioned. Once the green LED blinks, check that the digital readout shows the same reading as the mechanical counter and press the EnergyCam into place. The acrylic adhesive pad ensures that it remains in exactly the right position for up to 30 years. If you do have to remove the EnergyCam for any reason, the adhesive can be completely removed using a mild alcohol solution. If the location of the counter requires, it is also possible to mount the EnergyCam upside down.

Life Span of Up to 15 Years

Unlike pulse-based counters that don’t indicate the actual meter reading, the EnergyCam’s built-in camera and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) algorithm reads the meter digits physically, thus providing the most reliable source of billing data currently available. Additionally, the device records a digital image of the current reading every 15 minutes, aided in the dark by built-in LEDs. Depending on the model you choose, power is provided either via cable or a battery, available in various capacities to last up to 15 years.