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Safaricom’s New Technology Helps Keep Track of Water Spent At Home

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Safaricom Smart Meter
Image Courtesy Safaricom

Ever got your water bill at the end of the month and you couldn’t believe how and when you spent that much money on water? Well, it looks like Safaricom has a solution to that with their new Smart Meter and Narrow Band technology.

Safaricom Smart Meters

How it Works

Earlier last year, Safaricom introduced the concept at the Development Convention. The innovation seems to be based around the combination of Safaricom’s Narrow Band – IoT Network, ultrasonic metering, and real-time data transfer.

The device is technically capable of providing real-time monitoring of water consumption. Water monitoring helps establish a water provider’s water balance and usage. This also establishes how much water collected from rivers, dams, and boreholes makes it to customers’ meters.

 

Fast forward to 2020 and a team was set out to Embu County to meter various consumers of one of Kenya’s most successful water utilities. Embu Water and Sanitation Company (EWASCO).

The main objective of the trial project is to relay real-time data using Safaricom’s Narrow Band IoT network. They set up 20 devices linked to the Microsoft Azure Cloud with real-time mapping and analytics. All powered by Esri Eastern Africa’s ArcGIS Platform.

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Benefits of the Smart Meter

The smart meters can actually help:

  1. Denote changes in household water consumption
  2. Enhance the response of Kenya’s water sector to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  3. Reduce manual meter reading
  4. Real-time billing
  5. Identification of faults and leaks
  6. Reduction in water loss

According to Safaricom, by utilizing IoT devices, the consortia of Safaricom, Upepo and ESRI can provide real-time information on water consumption to a water company. This can then be used to enhance its water utility operations.

Kevin Kihara, the Managing Director at Upepo Technology Ltd had this to say.

The aim is to achieve greater value and service. We will do this by exchanging data on water consumption at the household, zonal, distribution and abstraction level for water metering across the county.”

Safaricom also notes that the smart water meters will send SMS alerts when tampered. For example when someone opens up the meter body.

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