Smart metering refers to electronic, internet-capable devices that allow the automatic and remote measurement of energy, water and other types of consumption of a building or home. Smart metering usually allows the processing, transfer and management of data and provides timely consumption information in a highly dissagregated and detailed manner. This facilitates the management of the resources involved, both from the supply side (providers) and from the demand side (users).
In the water sector, smart metering can lead to more efficient management through automatic reading and billing, real time leak detection, identification of abnormal consumption patterns and detection of failures in user-meters. Despite these advantages, smart metering is not yet well advanced in the water sector. The reasons for this are manyfold, and include the lack of common European standards and open technological platforms, which favours the dependency of water operators on technology providers. In addition, present solutions do often not fit the needs of water operators, such as interoperability among systems, non-propietary technology and two-way communication.
These shortcomings explain the need for an advanced water meter technology, able of tackling the challenges of technology lock-in, interoperability, two-way communication, battery lifetime and radio signal coverage, to name a few. In addition, safety issues and people's acceptance of local wireless network emissions are also crucial questions to be addressed.