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BT Looks to Smarten Energy with Long-Range Radio

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BT has announced that it will be taking part in the bid for the government contract to roll-out smart energy meters across the UK.

The company has formed a partnership with Arqiva and Detica and said that in its proposed multi-million pound bid it plans to over 28 million homes and businesses by 2020 or sooner. It would provide smart metering services for electricity, water and gas.

In a move that may surprise some, the BT bid will base its technology on long-range radio rather than mobile phone networks.

BT said in a release that it has spent 18 months analysing the various communications options available and has settled on long-range radio as the most dependable for providing complete nationwide coverage and reception indoors. This makes sense considering most meters in homes will be hidden away underneath stairs.

Olivia Garfield, BT group strategy director, said: “Smart meters will use telecommunications to deliver important environmental benefits and so BT is determined to be at the heart of the project. It is vital that any solution is designed for ubiquitous coverage of homes and is thoroughly secure and resilient. We believe that long range radio is the only technology to offer nationwide coverage and we will release more detail in a series of events in September.”

Smart meters are common sense when you think about it, with a whole host of obvious benefits. Once up and running, the system would be much more efficient, saving the huge cost of employing individuals knocking on doors. Aside from privacy issues it will also be much more environmentally friendly. It should also make billing much more accurate, putting an end to estimated bills and having to rely on users submitting their own bills online.

BT won’t have it all its own way of course. The Guardian reports that the utility firms are deploying smart meters themselves and are working with mobile telcos – British Gas with Vodafone, and Scottish and Southern Energy and nPower with Orange.

All in all, it should be good news all round – except for the man who came to read this writer’s home meter last week. In a few years, he’ll be out of a job.

Via: The Guardian

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