Huawei, Vo­da­com take aim at smart wa­ter-heater mon­i­tor­ing so­lu­tion

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY - BY GUGU LOURIE

Huawei, the world’s largest tele­coms equip­ment maker, has t e a med u p w i t h Vo­da­com Busi ne s s to de­velop a tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion for ef­fi­cient en­ergy and wa­ter use.

The s olut i on en­ables users to in­tel­li­gently mon­i­tor and man­age their gey­sers or boil­ers in real time.

Presently, wa­ter heaters are man­aged man­u­ally. This of­ten means that faults are not al­ways de­tected timeously.

This method of phys­i­cally mon­i­tor­ing gey­sers or boil­ers in an era of ma­chine-toma­chine (M2M) so­lu­tions is ob­vi­ously out­dated.

M2M – also re­ferred to as t he In­ter­net of Things ( IoT) – in­volves con­nect­ing an as­sort­ment of de­vices in­clud­ing re­frig­er­a­tors, tooth­brushes, gey­sers, couches, smart elec­tric­ity me­ters and cof­fee mak­ers to the in­ter­net (also see ar­ti­cle on p. 18).

At the Huawei Net­work Congress 2015 held in Bei­jing in May, Huawei re­vealed that it had been work­ing with Vo­da­com to de­velop a smart wa­ter heater mon­i­tor­ing so­lu­tion.

“IoT is the fu­ture of our in­creas­ingly digitised world and net works are key to driv i ng value cre­ation for en­ter­prises,” said Li Xianyin, Huawei gen­eral manager, switch & en­ter­prise com­mu­ni­ca­tions prod­uct line.

Xianyin added: “With Huawei’s IoT tech­nolo­gies and of­fer­ings, we hope to sup­port the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion of t r adi­tiona l i ndus­tries and t he devel­op­ment of the IoT ecosys­tem.” Huawei pre­dicts that by 2025, a to­tal of 100bn in­ter­net con­nected de­vices will be gen­er­ated glob­ally and 2m new sen­sors will be de­ployed ev­ery hour.

Vo­da­com, which i s ma­jor i t yowned by Br i t i s h mo­bile g i a nt Voda­fone, is al­ready play­ing a vi­tal role in the IoT space through XLink Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, a provider of wire­less data M2M ser­vices.

Vo­da­com is al­ready a big player in the M2M mar­ket, but it also wants to pro­vide more M2M SIM cards. In the year to end March, Vo­da­com re­ported a 18.5% r ise to 1.8m ac­tive M2M con­nec­tions.

Tony Smal l wood, Vo­da­com’s e xec ut i v e head: M2M Ser v i c e s , conf i rmed t hat Vo­da­com Busi­ness had worked with Huawei to de­velop a smart wa­ter heater mon­i­tor­ing so­lu­tion. He said that the prod­uct will ben­e­fit users of the M2M so­lu­tion by mak­ing it pos­si­ble to “take proac­tive steps to pre­vent the fail­ure of the wa­ter heater and the as­so­ci­ated pe­riph­eral dam­age”.

He added: “As a by-prod­uct of the so­lu­tion, the M2M de­vice pro­vides the user of the wa­ter heater the abil­ity to op­ti­mise the en­ergy con­sump­tion of the wa­ter heater and there­fore re­duce the cost of the en­ergy used to heat the unit.”

But quest i ons r emain a r ound res­i­den­tial con­sumers. Will they be in­ter­ested in buy­ing the M2M wa­ter­heat­ing so­lu­tion?

Small­wood said t hat t he tar­get mar­ket for t his par­tic­u­lar of­fer­ing was in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and en­ergy man­age­ment so­lu­tion providers.

The devel­op­ment wi l l en­able i nsur­ers and en­erg y man­age­ment so­lu­tion providers to have a data ser­vices plat­form for man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple SIM cards from a sin­gle in­ter­face and gather real-time in­tel­li­gence about smart wa­ter heaters – such as wa­ter tem­per­a­ture and any leakages.

IN THE YEAR TO END MARCH, VO­DA­COM RE­PORTED A IN AC­TIVE M2M CON­NEC­TIONS.

Lourie at­tended the Huawei Net­work Congress 2015 in Bei­jing as a guest of Huawei.

Li Xianyin, Huawei gen­eral manager, switch & en­ter­prise com­mu­ni­ca­tions prod­uct line.

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