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China Telecom, Shenzhen Water Group Deliver the World’s First Commercial NB-IoT-based Water Management Platform

In recent years, Shenzhen has seen escalating water problems. The city was listed among the top 10 most water-scarce cities in China in 2015 and could face a water deficit of 694 million cubic meters per year by 2020.

That’s why the city is prioritizing water management to better plan, distribute and manage the use of water resources.

China Telecom and Shenzhen Water Group have teamed up to launch the world’s first NB-IoT-based smart water project, in which the city collects real-time data from 1,200 smart water meters and monitors pipe networks and water quality control to 4,500 people.

The smart water management platform runs on China Telecom E-Cloud 3.0 and aims to demonstrate the benefits of NB-IoT connected smart meters through transmission reliability and signal penetration tests.

Prior to the pilot test, Shenzhen Water Group had been sending utility staff to customer properties and had problems measuring, identifying and resolving water flow issues and leakages in a timely manner, among other issues. Having to physically visit every customer site to diagnose water issues proved labor intensive, inefficient and costly.

This project required broad coverage throughout the city and physical depth of coverage due to the hard-to-reach water meter locations. To implement the project, China Telecom leveraged its 800 MHz NB-IoT network with over 500 NB-IoT-capable base stations throughout Shenzhen.

Using the new IoT water management platform, Shenzhen Water Group can now receive real-time alerts so that issues big and small can be resolved faster. The smart meters check data pressure and compare throughput at different nodes of the network, which allows the company to find leaks and take necessary preventative measures. They also experience additional benefits, including:

  • Higher data accuracy with the ability to receive data from 99.5% of the meters in each reading.
  • Better visibility into water usage habits and patterns of different consumer groups.
  • Wider coverage over existing networks, with up to a 20dB gain – water meters underground and in basements are more likely to be able to connect to the NB-IoT network than other networks.
  • Open data formats can be combined with other data sources to create big data analysis, so water consumption can be compared to weather conditions.

This smart water management project has set the pace for full utilization of NB-IoT in China’s water industry and is only a part of the nation’s initiative to lead the way in narrowband IoT commercialization. In the future, these efforts could greatly help China develop new benchmarks and create applications and business models based on insights gathered from IoT.

View the full Shenzhen Internet of Things case study here.

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