Sigfox SA has been selected as the network to support South Africa’s transition to smart water meters.

Sigfox SA, a robust and exceptionally low-power technology, was selected by the National Treasury as the network to underpin the new smart water meter ecosystem. The tender, commonly known as “RT29” awarded to various System Integrators, will see existing meters adapted or replaced to become smart meters to improve revenue collection and service delivery. All the new meters will run on the nationwide Sigfox IoT network.

Greg Rood, CEO of Sigfox South Africa, says: “Water is a basic human right, and we are proud to be associated with provision of such essential services, supporting both revenue collections and provision. The fact that the National Treasury has entrusted Sigfox to monitor and support over 15 000 000 smart water meters in the country underlines how robust the technology is. We expect this to be a catalyst to further grow our local IoT and system integrator ecosystem.”

Rood explains that Sigfox was selected to support the smart water meters due to the extensive network coverage, robustness of the technology, low power consumption and the SLAs associated with Sigfox. Sigfox 0G is a preferred technology for utilities around the world, and has an established track record of supporting large commercial utility deployments in South Africa. The superior range and penetration of the advanced Sigfox ultra-narrowband (UNB) signal makes it the ideal connectivity choice to reach meters that are often installed in challenging environments.

“The Sigfox SA network already covers 91% of the South African population. Should there be a need to extend or densify the network, this can be achieved quickly and cost-effectively,” he says.

Sigfox technology also overcomes potential power challenges – smart water meters typically lack access to external power and rely on batteries. Sigfox’s low power network technology – designed to support IoT at scale – means a device can run on the same battery for over 10 years.

Rood says: “The technology has an extremely low power reliance. The smart meter devices are sealed and waterproof, with batteries built in. Our devices will last for over 10 years at one reading a day, which far exceeds the three-year lifespan stipulated on the tender. Due to this extended lifespan, it’s practically an ‘install and forget’ scenario, which cuts costs and optimises resources. Sigfox’s benefits also include ease of installation, accuracy and reliability. And the fact that the network is independent means there is no reliance on Wi-Fi or fibre in the ground.”

He notes that Sigfox is the only mass coverage network underpinned by an SLA. “This enhances reliability and delivers unprecedented ROI for municipalities,” he says.

Rood says:

“The transition to smart meters supported by Sigfox SA will mean improved collections for municipalities, real-time and accurate billing for customers, and improved management of increasingly scarce water resources.”

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