Unlike utility-owned advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems that leverage traditional data collector-based fixed networks, cellular-based Network as a Service (NaaS) AMI solutions are monitored, managed and maintained on behalf of utilities. NaaS AMI solutions empower utilities to focus on key operational efficiencies and instill confidence that they provide unmatched resilience, security and performance.
More utilities have transitioned to NaaS solutions for unmatched flexibility and simplified deployment. It’s important to understand what this offering can do for you. Here are four common problems NaaS solutions can solve for water utilities:
- Network and Security Management: Managing a traditional fixed network can take up a lot of time and resources as utilities must deploy, monitor, manage, maintain and repair it on their own. They also need to have adequate security measures in place to prevent tampering or malware attacks. NaaS alleviates these burdens for utilities.
Deployment timelines are greatly minimized because utilities don’t have to erect radio towers or negotiate leased infrastructure space. The network is managed by the manufacturer and data is encrypted and securely transmitted over a private network to ensure it avoids the public internet. NaaS is the ideal solution to alleviate these hassles, especially for utilities that aren’t sure where to start with network and security management.
- Connectivity Issues and Outages: When utilities lose connectivity or experience an outage, they lose eyes on their system. They have no way of collecting meter reads or knowing if there’s a problem in the system. Cellular NaaS solutions operate on one of the largest and most reliable cellular networks in North America, designed to meet or exceed a 99.999% uptime standard. This is a critical benefit for utilities during and after severe weather or a natural disaster because it minimizes any potential network downtime and makes sure meter readings are collected without interruption.Cellular networks rarely lose connectivity, but if they do, temporary infrastructure is often deployed to maintain a connection while permanent infrastructure is safely repaired. This also provides utilities with peace of mind knowing they don’t need to plan for the repair or replacement of the network after a weather event because it’s taken care of for them. NaaS solutions guarantee the latest hardware, security protection and software to help utilities maintain utmost connectivity.
- Unpredictable Costs: Utility budgets can be difficult enough to balance without unpredictable costs adding up, like network repairs or future replacements. With NaaS, upfront capital costs are not required. Instead, utilities are billed a set monthly subscription fee, eliminating the need to budget for inevitable future capital expenditures and providing utilities with peace of mind knowing that their budget won’t be affected by potential add-ons for the life of the system.
- Insufficient Utility Resources: Utility employees often wear multiple hats to keep operations running. In some cases, this can result in gaps when it comes to network maintenance, timely meter reading and identifying water leaks. Because NaaS assures networks are monitored and managed entirely by the manufacturer, utilities are able to maintain focus on delivering high quality water and other critical system maintenance.
If your utility is weighing its options for a system upgrade, consider a NaaS solution to realize the benefits of an AMI solution immediately upon deploying endpoints. It’s a realistic option for utilities of all sizes and locations to simplify network deployment and provide unmatched flexibility. Learn more about this industry-leading solution and how it can help your utility improve its operations.