Shenzhen – Internet of Things Case Study

Overview

Water and gas supply to customers in Shenzhen has always been a problem. Huge investment in enhancing the administration of both of these utility services in Shenzhen and the rest of China is, however, picking up speed. Significant infrastructure investment is taking place across China, with 40,000 kilometers of new gas pipeline linking 470 million people and an equal amount of investment in water infrastructure to better address issues like leakage and infrastructure management. Shenzhen Water and Shenzhen Gas have cooperated with China Telecom and Huawei to show the benefits of NB-IoT linked smart meters to both utility businesses.

Requirements

Solution

NB-IoT Deployment in Shenzhen Water
China Telecom, which has signed a partnership agreement with the other partners, is driving the deployment of this NB-IoT pilot. China Telecom is in charge of designing and deploying the NB-IoT network, as well as the usage of its IoT platform. Shenzhen Water has developed the pilot's criteria as well as identified a suitable deployment area. Huawei is accountable for the NB-IoT chipsets and network equipment, while Ningbo Water Meter is in charge of the construction and production of NB-IoT equipped water meters. The NB-IoT trial's goal is to show that NB-IoT is a viable solution for smart water meters. The wider coverage regions and low power characteristics of NB-IoT will be investigated as part of the study. Water systems may link to the NB-IoT network even if they are situated underground or in basements, thanks to China Telecom's NB-IoT network's great signal penetration.
Shenzhen Water's Advantages
Shenzhen Water Group will profit from NB-IoT in a number of ways, including:
  • Transmission Reliability : Because NB-IoT is built on LTE networks, it retains the technology's excellent quality qualities. This implies that communications can be consistently delivered and processed on a routine basis, that the network is robust, and that it is internationally standardized. All of this offers Shenzhen Water Group the assurance that it can deploy NB-IoT water meters without the requirement for extra backups or infrastructure in the event of a power outage.

  • Signal Penetration : With up to a 20dB boost over current networks, NB-IoT is meant to enhance coverage. This implies that water meters in difficult-to-reach areas, such as inside or underneath, are far more likely than other networks to connect to the NB-IoT network. Water meters installation may therefore be planned more easily since network coverage is higher, and meters may be placed in more useful locations for the water business rather than compromising network coverage.

  • Open Data Formats : Because NB-IoT provides ample bandwidth to accommodate a wide range of data formats and protocols, the Shenzhen Water Group may employ open data formats to guarantee that data integration with the Chain Telecom platform is as simple as feasible. Using agreed-upon data formats also allows additional data sources to be joined to generate big data analysis, such as comparing water use to weather conditions.

NB-IoT Deployment in Shenzhen Gas.
In March 2017, Goldcard installed a range of electronic gas metres in collaboration with Shenzhen Gas, China Telecom, and Huawei to test NB-IoT communications in a variety of situations and settings utilizing the 800MHz frequency. Shenzhen Gas, China Telecom, Goldcard, and Huawei may use NB-IoT to benefit from standardized data collection and IoT platforms, allowing the gas business or mobile operator to control the entire end-to-end administration of systems integration from a central location.

The companies have created a new system for sustainable gas metering as part of the experiment, allowing new applications to be swiftly deployed on the network. This is hosted on the eCloud, which was built by China Telecom and Huawei in collaboration, and has a data structure tailored to the Chinese gas sector. As a result, gas providers and their partners throughout China will be able to benefit from these innovative technologies.

The companies sought to see if they could complete a variety of scenarios, such as prepaid and postpaid invoicing and transactions, valve controls, meter attribute modifications, multiple communications configurations, and data integrity security. As a result, the experiment was created to test a range of scenarios and verify that gas meters can be linked even in difficult-to-reach places like within metal meter cabinets or within enormous buildings.

The criteria against which the NB-IoT enabled gas meters were to be evaluated were set to be severe and aligned with the gas industry's expected outcomes. These would include an accuracy rate of over 99 percent for meter readings, the capacity to take meter readings on request, and effective reads even when the meter's signal was very feeble.
Shenzhen Gas's Advantages
NB-IoT allows for robust, real-time data gathering and management of smart gas meters in the gas market, allowing for remote operations and new gas services. As a result, consumer happiness and the efficiency of gas sector procedures increase, and gas utilities gain new commercial prospects.
  • Better energy usage : Battery-powered NB-IoT devices can last up to ten years. Because of improved communications profiles and weak signal needs, this is possible. Because there is no obligation to visit meters and replace components on a regular basis, meter maintenance expenses can be reduced. Gas meters may also be placed anywhere along a pipeline; there is no requirement to place them near power supply or in specified places to guarantee network coverage. This allows the gas supplier a lot of freedom in terms of how they roll out their gas smart meters, and the rollout program may be optimized to guarantee the cheapest installation possible.

  • Greater efficiency : NB-IoT may help Shenzhen Gas save money on operations by providing real-time data analysis and fast debugging, which lowers expenses and increases efficiency.

  • Interoperability : In terms of huge connectivity, NB IoT enables large-scale installations as well as a uniform platform to support a variety of IoT applications. This platform ensures protocol compatibility across multiple manufacturers' applications, making integration easier. This implies that gas meters from a variety of manufacturers may attach to the system in the same way, allowing gas providers to link networks utilizing various gas meters.

  • Data authentication : It is ensured by the NB IoT gas solution's end-to-end system security. Mobile network operators can only utilize NB-IoT on licensed frequency As a result, the possibility of intervention is reduced, and data security is ensured. Because NB-IoT networks are based on current mobile technology, mobile operators can quickly install them, and the increased coverage these networks provide means that all meters can be linked, eliminating the need for different network types to receive data.

Results:

The initial installation of NB-IoT linked water meters was a triumph, and consumers of Shenzhen Water Group have seen a considerable improvement in their experience. Consumers used to have to let meter readers inside their homes, but now all of these readings can be taken afar and in real time, even without a water company needing to depend on their permission. Water use and optimal power flow are now considerably more straightforward. The smart water meters may also communicate flow data on a regular basis, allowing for the measurement of water flow through the network and the identification of leaks for further investigation. Sirens can be generated if there are major flow concerns or obstructions, allowing corrective action to be conducted much more swiftly than before.

The following are the findings of the Shenzhen Gas experiment with China Telecom, Huawei, and Goldcard:
  • In field tests, the coverage was good, with an average uplink rate of 13 kbps and a downstream rate of 7.8 kbps, which is enough for meter reading.

  • In typical operations, the meter reading success rate was 100 percent.

  • In comparison to other networks, NB-IoT provides substantial coverage benefits.

  • The meter reading accuracy was likewise 100 percent when comparing real readings on gas meters with data obtained by the system.

  • NB-IoT consumes a fraction of the electricity that GPRS does.
    • User registration, tariff adjustment, prepayment data, remote valve control, remote meter reading, and remote parameter setting were all completed successfully on the meter head-end service platform, all of which matched the test case criteria.

The trial's results were quite favorable, with NB-IoT demonstrating that it was competent in satisfying all of Shenzhen Gas' strict standards and connecting all of the installed meters. A bigger size scenario was also executed virtually in addition to the actual testing. The goal of this study was to mimic communications to 3 million meters in a 200-minute time frame. Registration, meter readings, payments, and valve control were among the commands that were replicated. The trial's findings were also highly encouraging, with NB-IoT revealing that the average response time is 640ms, with data acquired from every device within 60 seconds of first transmission, averaging 30 seconds over all 3 million meters. Even at this big scale, NB-IoT has shown to be appropriate for usage in smart gas meters, and it is definitely a strong option for connecting huge fleets of smart gas meters in the future.
Both the Shenzhen Gas and Shenzhen Water NB-IoT deployments were a success, with all meters installed being able to connect in a secure way and providing far better service than prior versions of the respective metering systems. The installations have shown that NB-IoT can gather the needed data and regulate the appropriate variables across gas and water meters, indicating that NB-IoT is versatile, scalable, and suited for a range of use cases, while letting each industry build their services as they see suitable. The tests have shown that mobile carriers are ideal partners for gas or water companies wishing to implement smart meters and that their IoT platforms and services are a suitable fit for industrial demands. NB-IoT is an excellent solution for Chinese utilities because of its scalability, security, and functionality, as well as its ability to satisfy their unique goals.