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Contact a Customer Care Representative

We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or the following business day.

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Customer Care representatives are available by phone Monday–Friday, from 9am–5pm CST.

For sales & general inquiries
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (800) 233-9926

For product support
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (877) 243–1010

We're here to help
Contact a Customer Care Representative

We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or the following business day.

Prefer to call?
Customer Care representatives are available by phone Monday–Friday, from 9am–5pm CST.

For sales & general inquiries
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (800) 233-9926

For product support
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (877) 243–1010

September 21, 2021

How NaaS Simplifies a Smart Water System Deployment

Smart water solutions are becoming imperative as water utilities face relentless financial pressure from aging infrastructure. With Network as a Service (NaaS), utilities avoid upfront capital costs and ongoing operating expenses and pay a set monthly fee instead.
Network as a Service (NaaS) smart water solutions
Smart water solutions like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) are becoming imperative as water utilities face relentless financial pressure from aging infrastructure and consumers who oppose rate increases. One common hurdle of early AMI technology is that solutions were based on fixed communication networks that are expensive and cumbersome to maintain.

Driving the adoption of smart water on a widespread scale requires simplicity and cost certainty, both of which can be found in Network as a Service (NaaS) models for AMI. With NaaS, utilities avoid upfront capital costs and ongoing operating expenses and pay a set monthly fee instead.

The Unpredictable Expense of Fixed Network Infrastructure

Prior to 2014, implementing AMI required utilities to invest in fixed-network infrastructure because cellular-backed solutions weren’t available. With a fixed network, hardware manufacturers tell utilities where to put data collectors—essentially computers tied to antennas—throughout the system to cover the service territory. While the municipality typically has some assets that can be used for placement, such as storage tanks and pump stations with high towers, leasing space or installing poles is often necessary. Additionally, data collectors typically need replacement every seven to 10 years, which can add up quickly.

Along with the lifecycle costs comes the headache of keeping an entire communications network up and running, as most utilities don’t have the appropriate personnel, tools or time. This means utilities often must stretch their budgets to hire more permanent staff or use contractors when help is needed. Although these factors lead to unpredictability in budgeting, traditional fixed networks continue to be rolled out by utilities.

NaaS: A More Cost-Effective Approach for Utilities

When utilities choose a NaaS solution for their fixed network deployment, the hardware manufacturer handles the installation and leasing space, if necessary, as well as monitoring, managing and maintaining the network. Although this can be better for a utility than owning the network, a cellular solution is often even more advantageous.

Cellular-based NaaS is a turnkey solution that includes the communication network as part of the hardware package, so the monthly fees utilities pay don’t need to include a cost for installing and maintaining a network because it’s already in place. This type of agreement can also be extended for the full life of the system, whereas most fixed network NaaS providers won’t offer the same length of contract. As a result, cellular NaaS provides more long-term budget predictability.

Another upside of switching to a cellular NaaS provider is the ability to upgrade to smart meters at a pace or sequence that makes the most sense for the municipality. This can include a phased approach to bring specific routes online over a planned period—starting with commercial and industrial customers, which account for most of the revenue—or simply replacing older meters with smart meters as needed.

Conducting a Proper Evaluation Before Upgrading

When comparing NaaS vendors, some key considerations include:

  • Pricing Structure: Is there a fixed service unit price over the course of the contract or does the price increase several years into the term?
  • Rate of Payback: This will vary based on many site-specific factors, but it should be more accelerated than the rate for a traditional AMI system. Some companies offer ROI calculators to walk municipalities through the calculation before making a commitment.
  • Provider Reputation: A key reason that municipalities are uncomfortable with a NaaS contract is that the upside of shedding responsibility comes with the downside of a loss of control. A partner that is trusted and experienced in the industry can alleviate those concerns.

Vendors that offer flexible contract structures to account for funding challenges—the ability to shift costs to an operational budget item—provide additional value to municipalities. This is helpful, as smart water projects often don’t move forward because funding for capital projects is not readily available or is competing internally against other infrastructure projects.

Make the Upgrade to NaaS

By selecting a trusted NaaS partner, your utility can more rapidly implement smart water solutions that help you systematically tackle the critical issues you face going forward. Learn more about our NaaS solutions, including four problems cellular NaaS systems can solve for your utility.

Learn More

We're here to help
Contact a Customer Care Representative

We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or the following business day.

Prefer to call?
Customer Care representatives are available by phone Monday–Friday, from 9am–5pm CST.

For sales & general inquiries
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (800) 233-9926

For product support
Municipal Water solutions: (800) 616–3837
Commercial & Industrial solutions: (877) 243–1010
Wyco Concrete solutions: (877) 243–1010