Benefits of Advanced Metering Infrastructure for First Responders

July 19, 2019

Within the next three years, more than 1.1 billion smart meters will stretch across the globe through the Internet of Things (IoT), designed to provide faster, more accurate readouts from devices connected to smart grids, such as electric cabling, gas lines, and water pipes across city architectures.

For first responders, smart metering and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) clears the path for better communication and gives first responders emergency governance over utilities and traffic to ensure lives can be saved and civilians kept safe during a crisis.

As smart meters start connecting to 4G long-term evolution (4G LTE) and 5G high-bandwidth networks—with downloading capabilities as fast as 20Gbps—reaction times, responses, and the collection of critical data during an emergency will improve exponentially.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and First Responders

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy released their results from the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program, titled Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Customer Systems. The report highlights attributes of smart metering directly beneficial to EMTs, police units, and other first responders: “AMI enables utilities to isolate outages faster and dispatch repair crews more precisely, reducing outage duration, limiting inconvenience, and reducing labor hours and truck rolls for outage diagnosis and restoration.”

Services and features of AMI that are most beneficial to first responders include:

  • remote connections and disconnections on demand
  • out-of-cycle meter readings
  • voltage monitoring for reactive power management
  • the ability to automatically and remotely measure electricity usage
  • tamper detection
  • outage identification and isolation

Through a network of connected smart chips and modules communicating directly to the smart meter cloud, IoT systems can remain active for the duration of a crisis, even against such forces as tornadoes, hurricanes, and city-wide power outages.

Utilities that face regular, severe weather events can utilize smart metering integration with other information and management systems, “including outage management systems (OMS) and geographic information systems (GIS),” enabling utilities to create detailed outage maps and keep the public informed about restoration progress in their area.

This data could potentially reduce wait times and minimize the influx of panicked calls reporting damages.

The Path to a Smarter Meter Design

Building smart metering IoT solutions for first responders depends on a network of long-lasting, low-powered options that are able to withstand interference. According to ABI Research, “Wireless mesh networking and Low-Power, Wide-Area network (LPWAN) technologies are popular connectivity technology choices for smart water meters,” with cellular and non-cellular LPWAN technologies operating on Long-Term Evolution Mobile (LTE-M) and Narrowband LTE (NB-LTE) connections taking the lead.

Batteries that last more than 10 years will cut down on costs for utility workers that have to shut down entire blocks to dig up cables and pipes. Chipsets and modules with stronger fixed signals and optimized bandwidth connections can transmit through concrete and several underground layers.

The more the smart meter technology grows and improves, the safer and more efficient our future cities will become.

FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. FirstNet’s mission is “to develop, build and operate the nationwide broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.” In September 2018, Telit, a global enabler of IoT, announced plans with AT&T to help public safety agencies explore FirstNet services to better understand and implement 4G LTE technologies.

Scott Agnew, AT&T-FirstNet program assistant vice president, stated that the purpose of the joint operation is “about empowering first responders to confidently select the next-generation tools and technologies that will help them accomplish their mission more efficiently and effectively.”

Telit | Your Industry Leader in Smart Metering Solutions

From low-powered smart meter chipsets designed to read city power voltages and water spikes to automated transportation devices and smart city lighting and management services, Telit is committed to making the power of IoT more accessible to first responders and industries that are looking for faster, everyday solutions.

Discover why AT&T—and other global leaders from around the world—look to Telit for enterprise-grade hardware, connectivity, and platforms designed to transform industries through the power of IoT. At Telit, we believe safer and more efficient cities start with smart technology.

Click here to find out why our chipsets, modules, and services are used across the globe to make the world a safer, smarter place.

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Speak with a Telit IoT expert today to develop your IoT-enabled smart metering solution.