What is AMI? Specifically, it stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure, but over the past year or two, it has started to take on a bigger meaning.
AMI is no longer just about collecting meter reads – it’s about connected solutions and devices transmitting large amounts of data over the network. The Sensus FlexNet® system allows utilities to not only deploy smart meters like the Sonix IQTM, but also to deploy devices like the Sensus® Smart Gateway and Cathodic Protection Test Points that give utilities greater insight into pipeline integrity.
With the deployment of Sonix IQ meters, utilities will have more granular consumption data while also gaining access to pressure and temperature information at the meter. The Sonix IQ will also have remote shutoff capability as well as automatic shutoff ability when pressure, flow, or temperature crosses a predetermined threshold. In addition to transmitting consumption data, the Sensus Smart Gateway enables utilities to send pressure, temperature, position, or any piece of data that comes from a 4-20mA sensor over the FlexNet network. It can be deployed anywhere in a utility’s network and moved around as needed. The cathodic protection test points collect protective voltage data at cathodic protection test stations and sends the data over FlexNet for utilities to analyze and respond when voltage crosses a set threshold.
Utilities also have access to more data than ever before coming from devices, sensors, internal databases, and external datasets. Urbint supercharges utilities’ operational, inspection, and GIS data with environmental and external metadata from the locations where each facility is installed. That data is used to train Artificial Intelligence (AI) models using non-linear machine learning techniques, identifying patterns and relationships between features that are used to determine risk at each facility.
The Urbint Lens for Leak Prediction uses results of the AI predictions to show where leaks are most likely to occur, and to determine the expected number of identified leaks by grade across the broader service territory. The Urbint Lens for Main Health uses the same techniques to isolate the main segments most at risk from different threats. The utility can then use the software to understand the trade-offs across safety, reliability and affordability in their main replacement plans.
Before AMI, IoT, or whichever buzzword you choose to use, more data generally meant higher spending in SCADA, more trips to the field and making sure that you had AC to power your devices. Data sources were typically disparate as no database or technology was connecting them, leading to many missed opportunities for improvements in operations. With recent advances in technology, utilities now have access to more frequent data at a fraction of the cost and can connect devices in ways previously unattainable.
With access to data becoming easier every day, it can be overwhelming and take years for a utility to integrate it into their analytics and data strategy. That’s where Sensus and Urbint come in. Marrying the Sensus and Urbint technologies enables utilities to connect new types of data to unlock novel insights. Complex interrelationships across large combinations of features can be calculated quickly using AI, for example allowing a utility to use more frequent consumption data to help predict methane loss on a leak by leak basis. Collecting higher resolution real-time data adds the ability to understand risk as it happens, and each new device that gets connected increases the predictive power.