Smart Metering control at the tip of your finger
18 Jun 2014 Utilities & Sustainability
One of the biggest advances M2M gives users is empowering them to be self-reliant. There is a score of mobile phone apps to control smart metering. We will see an overview of a couple of them.
As a user when you have gas, electricity, water, other common utilities or a combination of them, you want to have a centralized view where you can control information from a dashboard and interact.
Although it is easy to find many apps we find the market slightly immature for a full adoption of an app standard. We are sure that as the smart meter market matures so will the app ecosystem that gives support to the technology.
We will take two into consideration for each of the main mobile platforms that can be run on Apple or Android smartphones and tablets:
Ovo PAYG (Pay as you Go) from Ovo Energy, a Bristol based energy supply company. The energy app is able to control the following elements of your meters from a mobile phone:
- Top up meters from any part of the world
- Turn on auto top ups so the customers balances never hits zero
- Set up regular monthly or weekly payments to adapt to diverse income situations.
- See what a year’s energy use looks like over a day, week or month
- Never give meter readings again (because they are automatically relayed to the company)
Ovo Energy’s app is still very much mainly informational and to control cost caps. The impact of this type of M2M Technology is to collapse many metering sources into a single consolidated view and to provide saving tips to users. Ovo’s solution as many others in the market falls short on both fronts.
Smart Meters in the Google Play Store is an Android counterpart for this technology. The app is not developed by a utility company but is intended to be a utility independent monitor. The application allows you to keep statistics for meter readings of water, electricity, gas and any other, to monitor and analyze the dynamics of the expenditure of the meters. The app features:
- User-friendly interface
- Tariff system with history
- Graphs and bar charts
- Flashlight and meter interface in menu adding reading
- Unlimited number of meters and values
- Storing readings in the database
- Import/export data
- Any names of meters
- Work with a fractional part
- Notes in meters and readings
Whereas the feature list is more complete, we are still missing the elements that set M2M technology apart, the consolidated data must be processed in order to produce information that impacts user consumption positively and offer the consumer guidance.
In an attempt to create umbrella environments that sponsor the benefits of smart metering some regions like the State of Texas have complete websites and smartphone apps to control and manage your smart metering in a comprehensive manner allowing you to:
- Pay your bill using your existing bank account or credit/debit card
- View your current bill
- Schedule payments
- Check your bill & payment history
- See your electricity usage graph
- Compare previous bills
- Manage your usage and electricity costs
Although some very important steps are being taken to have all smart metering controlled cohesively from the smartphone screen by utility companies, regions that control grids, smart meter producers and independent developers there is still a long way ahead before Mobile Smart Metering becomes proactive and vendor/utility company/region independent.