Transforming A Dumb Meter Into A Smart Meter Simply

Retrofit rather than replace – make mechanical meters smart with EnergyCam.
Published: Wed 03 Sep 2014

If you want to make your meters smart ready without the hassle of a complete replacement program, a new device named EnergyCam may be just what you need.

EnergyCam has a built-in camera and uses Optical Character Recognition to take optical meter readings and digitize them before transmitting them via a network or wirelessly to a selected gateway. Additionally, the device records a digital image of the current reading every 15 minutes, aided in the dark by built-in LEDs.

EnergyCam, from the Munich-based smart component developer FAST FORWARD AG, is due to be introduced at the upcoming European Utility Week in November.

Available for electricity, gas and water meters

EnergyCam is available for electricity, gas and water meters. Adapters are available to ensure accurate reading of non-standard meters with especially narrow or deep-set counters.

Power options include cable or battery with a lifetime reaching up to 15 years.

Data transmission is performed either wirelessly via an 868MHz Wireless M-Bus that conforms to OMS (Open Metering System) standards, or via cable and either M-Bus or Modbus technology using RS232, RS485 or USB connectors. Transmitted data is secured using 128-bit AES encryption. Data can also be accessed by the customer via a LAN and gateway.

FAST FORWARD says that installation is simple and may be performed onsite by the customer. Accurate location to ensure the digital readout matches the mechanical counter is achieved with the aid of LED arrows and foam guides, and once positioned the device attaches to the meter with an acrylic adhesive pad. The adhesive pad lifetime is 30 years but if the EnergyCam needs to be removed, the adhesive can be removed using a mild alcohol solution.