One million IoT connections for smart electricity meter network


Thursday, 07 December, 2023

Telecom company Spark has announced a milestone of one million IoT connections for Bluecurrent’s (formerly Vector Metering) smart electricity meter network. The smart meters enable real-time access to energy usage data to improve operational efficiencies and foster innovation opportunities for Bluecurrent’s electricity and gas customers in New Zealand, using Spark’s CAT-M1 IoT network (a 4G network variant).

Moving to CAT-M1 IoT connectivity enables more flexible meter data collection options, which helps Bluecurrent to support its energy customers in providing tailored products and solutions for their own customers. It also means it can provide energy distributors with data insights to optimise network investments and better support their customers during outages.

Bluecurrent has upgraded 70% of its electricity meter fleet so far to use modems on Spark’s CAT-M1 IoT network. The CAT-M1 network technology allows for an easy transition to 5G, without the need for a site visit, as Spark’s 5G services are expanded around New Zealand. Bluecurrent also has more than 70,000 advanced gas meters on the CAT-M1 IoT network.

“The rollout of one million 4G modems to our smart meter fleet so far achieves efficiency gains and enables future-readiness thanks to new customer-centric solutions, data analysis and real-time access to energy usage data powered by IoT connectivity,” said Bluecurrent Chief Executive Neil Williams. “For example, with real-time monitoring, faults and outages are more easily identified and mitigated, leading to operational efficiency and cost savings across the board.

“In addition, the new platform has extended the life of our metering hardware while providing us with more certainty over our long-term communication technology roadmap. By integrating IoT, Spark provides us the ability to innovate for the future needs of New Zealanders as we transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Michele Wong, Spark IoT Lead, said IoT and other high-tech solutions are helping businesses to become more productive and sustainable through technology.

“IoT can connect and monitor physical assets and natural environments, which creates insights that people and systems can then act on to improve their business operations,” she said. “The potential for IoT in New Zealand across multiple sectors is immense — it can cater to such a wide range of business cases, turning data into real insights that make a tangible difference to business outcomes.”

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