Software package for online data transmission from meters
We had a 4-month task to develop a hardware-software complex for data collection from household water, gas, electricity and heat meters, based on LoRaWAN network.
The challenge was to develop the following subsystems:
- Controllers for meters;
- Base station;
- Server part;
- Client application for the provider and the user.
This is how the system works:
- The meter transmits data according to a preset schedule to the base station, which is installed within a radius of up to 10 km;
- The base station receives the signal and transmits it to the server;
- The server processes the data and saves it in the database;
- The user sees the data via a web client application that accesses the server.
We started our work with the Equatel factory, which is located in Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. And the first thing we did was to go to the factory to see the process of meter manufacturing. The capacity of the plant allows to produce 120,000 water and gas meters every month.
While the first sample controllers were being manufactured at the factory, we were choosing the best solution for the base station. The main requirements for us were price and transmission power of the LoRaWAN radio signal. So, we tested the Kerlink, Cisco, Vega, RAK and other base stations. Based on the results of our research, we settled on the RAK.
Together with the testing of the base station, we set up a server for data processing on Node.js using the MongoDB database. By this time the designer had already developed a prototype of the interface for the user's personal account.
Within two weeks after the front-end, the developers were programming the user's personal account. During this time we already had the first 10 boards printed.
For easy testing, we ordered 3D-printing of an automatic unit to simulate the work of a water meter and put our prototype into action.
After that, we went to the factory in Naberezhnye Chelny to demonstrate how the AIC works. According to the test results on real meters, everything went well, but we made some adjustments to the circuitry of the controller for data reading.
At that time the office was working on the development of controllers for the remaining meters and the development of an admin panel. In our case the providers were residential complex management companies and corporate clients: water utilities, power grids, etc.
Further work consisted of high-level development. We created an API to integrate our system with third-party services, and continued improving the personal account and adapting it for all devices.
We presented our product for collecting data from household meters in February at the AquaTherm 2020 exhibition, which took place at Crocus Expo.
We now continue working to further improve the system and connect new meter manufacturers to our service.