Itron has selected Sierra Wireless AirPrime HL Series modules to enable cellular connectivity in its latest line of smart gas meters. The point-to-point residential meters will begin shipping later this quarter to support smart metering initiatives across Europe, beginning with a deployment in Italy.
Itron selected Sierra Wireless based on the company’s smart metering expertise and the global reach the AirPrime HL Series provides. The two companies have previously announced their collaboration to provide smart electrical meters. This is the first time they have collaborated to provide connected gas meters.
The HL Series uses the new CF3 form factor from Sierra Wireless, which is footprint-compatible across product lines and network technologies and will remain fully interchangeable with future versions of the modules, including those for LTE-M networks when they become available (commercial availability is currently expected in 2018).
LTE-M technology is expected to provide a highly efficient cellular LPWA (low-power wide area) technology option for smart metering and smart grid applications, with lower radio-frequency complexity, significantly reduced power consumption (up to 10 years of service on a single AA battery), better in-building signal penetration, and lower costs.
Sierra Wireless is an active contributor to the LTE-M standard definition process within the 3GPP and has committed to launching compatible modules timed with network deployments, expected to begin in 2017.
“We look forward to combining Itron’s expertise in smart gas technologies, and in particular with battery-powered devices, with Sierra Wireless’ experience in providing wireless solutions for the energy industry, which enables us to deliver the highest level of service to our customers,” said Guillaume Garros, vice president of global solutions marketing for gas at Itron.
“Sierra Wireless provides both the expertise in smart metering requirements and an innovative solution to meet the low-power consumption requirements for our new gas metering projects. In addition, the Sierra Wireless modules enable us to leverage a single design for worldwide deployments and across multiple generations of our products as the technology evolves.”
“We are seeing significant interest from utilities in expanding smart metering from electrical grids to initiatives in gas metering as well,” said Dan Schieler, Senior Vice President, OEM Solutions for Sierra Wireless. “We are pleased to expand our collaboration with Itron to address these opportunities with innovative solutions that meet the stringent power requirements of these applications and provide a clear technology path as networks evolve to better support the Internet of Things.”