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Vodafone’s NB-IoT technology to increase Veolia group’s heating utility efficiency

15. March 2018

Vodafone and Veolia Energie ČR, a.s. have unveiled the first commercial narrow-band Internet of Things project in the Czech Republic. A thousand intelligent heating meters will be installed and connected to the NB-IoT (Narrow Band - Internet of Things) network in Prague and Ostrava in order to ensure reliable and safe heating service for customers in the selected locations. High availability and a secure licensed frequency provide Vodafone and Veolia Energie ČR customers with the best service of this kind in the Czech market.

“Over the past few months, we tested several other technologies in addition to Vodafone’s NB-IoT. The key factor for us was signal quality inside of buildings and in underground spaces because our meters are typically installed in this type of areas,” explains Marcel Vrátný, the technology director of Veolia Energie ČR, a.s., a leader in heat and electricity generation and distribution and a provider of an independent cooling network in the Czech market, adding that: “incorporating IoT technologies into our network control systems will drive service improvement and increase the efficiency of energy distribution and consumption.”

At a time of growing energy prices and increasing pressure on supply reliability and security, the roll-out of smart meters is a logical step to ensure an efficient and sustainable business as well as higher customer satisfaction levels. Connectivity allows the utility to read meters by remote access and change meter settings as necessary. Intelligent devices provide great insight into network usage and enable companies to quickly respond to emergencies and network failures.

Two-way communication between the smart NB-IoT meters and the Veolia Energie ČR network control system provides on-line data about the heating network and will allow the utility to solve and even prevent network-related issues. Furthermore, the smart meters run purely on batteries and need little to no maintenance during the entire 4-year mandatory testing cycle.

Vodafone has introduced a testing packaging for companies that would like to test their devices (sensors, data collection equipment) in the Vodafone NB-IoT network (click here for more details). For a flat fee of EUR 100, the company will get 20 IoT SIM cards (there are several types that customers can choose from), six months of connection to the NB-IoT testing platform at a licensed radio frequency as well as access to Vodafone’s technical support and the Vodafone IoT portal. The portal provides information about the services and technical specifications concerning the SIM cards used in the test.