Trieste, 30th May 2007 – The Belgian automated meter reading expert XEMEX will in the future be using the GE863-Quad module from Telit Wireless Solutions. The GSM/GPRS module from the leading international specialist in mobile communications will be deployed in XEMEX’s CrediTalk® Smart Meters. The module will enable energy suppliers to continuously monitor data relating to their customers’ usage and widen their portfolio of services accordingly. The order is for a total of 40,000 modules. With this development, Telit Wireless Solutions is continuing its commitment to the highly-promising M2M market sector of automated meter reading (AMR).
The GE863 module from Telit will be deployed in XEMEX’s CrediTalk® units. These smart meters have been designed especially for the use in facility management and building technology. XEMEX is already installing some 30,000 of these instruments at Dutch energy companies.
Improved handling for energy suppliers
With the pre-paid CrediTalk® application, energy companies can monitor and analyse the consumption habits of their customers. CrediTalk® is clipped onto existing meters and provides additional functions and communication features. The GSM/GPRS-based communication system facilitates constant communication between the meter and a central reporting system. The GSM module assures permanent access to the user’s data without the need for additional smart cards or the entry of codes. The CrediTalk® management application permits the meter to be handled completely from any remote location with the highest level of reliability.
Convenience for consumers
CrediTalk®’s pre-payment facility enables consumers to manage all their transactions from home, for example using online banking. Forgotten or lost electricity bills are now a thing of the past. Using the meter’s display or by visiting a website, consumers can also call up detailed information about their electricity usage, thereby enabling them to adjust their consumption habits.
Extensive selection process
Following a selection process involving the market’s major module manufacturers, XEMEX chose Telit. "After extensive testing of the various GSM modules, we found that the GE863-Quad from Telit matches our technical requirements best", says Marc Coppens, CEO of XEMEX. These technical criteria included for example XEMEX’s ability to include RF signal and antenna on the PCB in a cost effective manner. Another advantage of the Telit solution was its straightforward integration.
GE863: cost-saving assembly
The GE863 is one of the world’s GSM/GPRS modules to boast the BGA (Ball Grid Array) assembly concept. Rapid assembly is thus possible using the pick-and-place method, as used for standard SMD components. "The quicker and cheaper assembly process makes the GE863 particularly suitable for large-volume applications of the type being developed by XEMEX", explains Dominikus Hierl, President Telit Wireless Solutions. The Telit-specific feature EASY GPRS® & FTP facilitates data transfer. The module, which measures just 41.1 x 31.4 x 3.6 mm and weighs just 9 grams, can nevertheless withstand extreme temperatures from -30 °C to +80 °C.
Automated Meter Reading (AMR) – the market of the future
With the continuing deregulation of the European gas and electricity markets, competitive pressure is growing for public utilities. Detailed information on customers’ usage habits is becoming more and more important. Public utilities are also being forced to differentiate themselves from their competitors through additional services. AMR gives these companies the opportunity to offer such extra services. They can read meters remotely and therefore measure consumption in real time. Remote reading thus promotes greater flexibility for responding to customers’ wishes. AMR offers much more than just new sources of revenue for public utilities. The automatic meter reading facility also helps cut costs and make the management of plants and equipment easier. In Europe alone, the potential market for GSM/GPRS-based AMR systems is extremely large.
The Belgian company Xemex NV was founded in 1996. It has specialised in remote reading solutions since 1998. The specialist in telecommunications, wired and wireless networks and services for industry and building security applications offers innovative solutions for supporting processes in companies. Using automated meter reading technology, XEMEX offers a complete package of services and solutions that not only addresses the needs of industrial clients, but also those of customers in the field of facility management. XEMEX currently has a workforce of 15 deployed at its sites in Antwerp (Belgium) and Paris (France).