Orange's Veolia Win Shows There Are Legs in LoraWAN despite LTE-M and Sigfox Challenge

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1Q 2019 | IN-5397

On December 19, 2018, Birdz chose Orange Business Services (OBS) to help deploy 3 million smart water meters after a 12-month trial in Toulouse, France. Itron, Honeywell (Elster), and Diehl Metering have been selected to supply smart meters for the project that will embed Birdz G3 communication module that support LoRaWAN, Sigfox and proprietary Homerider protocols. Veolia Water, Birdz, and OBS will collaborate to replace existing meters with smart water meters over the next 10 years. Once installed, Birdz and Orange will jointly commission the smart meters to collect data using Oranges LoRaWAN and LiveObjects’ Data management platform. Further, the LiveObjects platform will be integrated with Veolia’s Hubgrade platform to provide meter-to-cash and advanced analytic services to accurately estimate water balance and reduce water loses. Veolia’s longer-term goal is to read 70%, or over 8.6 million, water meters in France remotely by 2027.

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Veolia's Birdz Will Connect 3 Million Smart Meters Using LoRaWAN

NEWS


On December 19, 2018, Birdz chose Orange Business Services (OBS) to help deploy 3 million smart water meters after a 12-month trial in Toulouse, France. Itron, Honeywell (Elster), and Diehl Metering have been selected to supply smart meters for the project that will embed Birdz G3 communication module that support LoRaWAN, Sigfox and proprietary Homerider protocols. Veolia Water, Birdz, and OBS will collaborate to replace existing meters with smart water meters over the next 10 years. Once installed, Birdz and Orange will jointly commission the smart meters to collect data using Oranges LoRaWAN and LiveObjects’ Data management platform. Further, the LiveObjects platform will be integrated with Veolia’s Hubgrade platform to provide meter-to-cash and advanced analytic services to accurately estimate water balance and reduce water loses. Veolia’s longer-term goal is to read 70%, or over 8.6 million, water meters in France remotely by 2027.

Orange's Investment in LoRaWAN Starts to Pay Off

IMPACT


Orange started deploying LoRaWANin early 2016 and, to date, has covered 30,000 municipalities with 95% population coverage. In areas that lack network coverage, Birdz will deploy LoRaWAN to further densify and augment Orange’s existing network to connect smart meters. Beyond its LoRaWAN connectivity, OBS offers its Live Objects data management platform to collect the data from the meters that will feed data to Veolia’s meter data management platform, Hubgrade. For OBS, this is the largest LoRaWAN implementation in terms of end-point connections since its nationwide network deployment started in 2016. Orange has also deployed LTE-M network in France to complement LoRaWAN and cover 95% of the population of France’s metropolitan regions. OBS strategy to support LTE-M and LoRaWAN technology is to offer differentiated service offerings based on end-market requirements. LoRaWAN solutions operating in the ISM band offers OBS customer lowest cost for managed connectivity service, with deep indoor network coverage and power efficiency to support smart meters with a product life of over 15 years.

 

ABI Research estimates that 47 million smart water meters were connected around the world in 2018, and forecasts that meter install base to grow at 31% CAGR to reaching 400 million by the end of 2026. In 2023 LPWA network technologies will be a popular connectivity technology of choice for water utilities, comprising 68% of all connections; cellular and non-cellular LPWA network technologies will account for 17% and 51% of connections respectively. Proprietary non-cellular LPWA network technologies from vendors such as Sensus and Aclara and IEEE 802.15.4 based mesh networking technologies have traditionally been the favored connectivity technologies of choice in smart water metering implementation, especially due to their ability to operate with very-low power. The recent growth in public LPWA network coverage from LoRaWAN, SIGFOX, NB-IOT, and LTE-M is essentially capturing market share from private or enterprise network deployments. As public LPWA networks become more ubiquitous, this shift toward public network adoption will accelerate further, especially in cost sensitive IoT vertical markets. Furthermore, in October 2018, OBS also launched the IoT Connect Anywhere service to provide private LoRaWAN for its enterprise customers using its LiveObjects IoT and analytics platform. The service was built on its successful implementation of a United States-based multi-national oil and gas company for asset tracking applications.

Smart Meters Enable Data-Driven Operational Efficiencies

RECOMMENDATIONS


City municipalities are increasingly facing budgetary constraints; for example, in the United Kingdom municipal investments have reduced by 40% since 2010. Service providers such as Veolia that cater to cities face growing market pressure to deliver innovative solutions to constantly improve services while also lowering costs to remain competitive in the market. Increasingly, service provider contracts also include the sharing of the value creation with customers that are based on financial or environmental metrics or both. According to Veolia’s latest financial report, published in March 2018, Veolia Water in France supplies drinking water to around 23 million people, or 1/3 of French households. Public service contracts with local municipalities and the French market contributed to nearly 27% of Veolia’s water services global revenues. Globally, Veolia’s water services distributed water to 96 million people and managed over 4,000 water production plants, with revenue from water services accounting for 44% of its overall revenue. According to Veolia estimates in 2017, the efficiency rate of drinking water networks was at 73.7%, resulting in a 26.3% loss of non-revenue water annually. Some of Veolia’s contracts include leak reduction goals. For example, its water contract with the city of Lille specifies a water network performance improvement of 6%, rising from 79% to 85% by 2023.

 

In 2015, Veolia group created Nova Veolia, a subsidiary of Veolia group tasked with developing innovative services that use digital technologies. Birdz is a subsidiary of Nova Veolia, created by the merger of Homerider Systems and m2ocity in January 2018. A leading technology solution vendor for water and energy utilities, Birdz already manages over 2.7 million smart meters in Western Europe. Over the years, Homerider Systems and m2ocity, has built its expertise in sensor design, communication networks, and data analytics to help utilities digitize their distribution networks and services. For Veolia, smart metering solutions are initial building blocks that will support its broader ambitions of digitalizing its water service business by offering customers value through real-time access to data and improving overall operational efficiencies.

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