Elimination of "meter readers," gaining access to real-time usage information helps utilities cut costs and increase efficiency.
ATLANTA - GTE and Global Data Wireless announce a new wireless-based service that allows gas and electric utilities to remotely monitor their customers' energy use across the United States and Canada instead of sending someone to read the meters.
Global Data Wireless' equipment, installed at the meter, will transmit usage information to utilities over GTE's national wireless data network -the only network of its kind to span all of North America. This gives utility managers, eager to serve large national accounts, their first chance to deploy remote meter reading services over a vast coverage area working with a single wireless service provider-GTE.
"This development allows Global Data Wireless to leverage its automatic meter reading offering against GTE's vast network. This solution is important to the industry because of GTE's extensive North American coverage. As utilities and energy providers try to deliver energy-related services at a national level, this kind of coverage enhances their telecommunications flexibility," said Patrick Hodges, senior industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan.
Remote automatic meter reading services let utilities monitor meters located at their customers' sites. Global Data Wireless' equipment, installed at the meter, transmits usage data like power load profiles and power quality measurements and sends it over GTE's network to the utilities' central host. By monitoring usage remotely, utilities can lower operating costs and provide value-added services to their customers.
"Energy providers have become fiercely competitive in their newly deregulated environment. They are looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency," said Chris Naprawa, Global Data Wireless president. "The cost of providing power varies by time of day because the generating facilities pressed into service for peak periods are some of the most expensive to operate. This new service gives utilities access to real-time usage information to help them better plan which power sources to tap and for how long."
Global Data Wireless will offer the service along with its CS-832 wireless communications device that allows any communications-ready meter to transmit data over GTE's network. "By using GTE's national wireless data network, we've eliminated the inconvenience of dealing with multiple cellular airtime vendors across ever-widening service territories," said Naprawa.
Installed in meters maintained by more than 80 North American electric power and gas utilities, the CS-832 provides cost-effective, secure remote automatic meter reading.
GTE's wireless data network, called WIN4, uses GTE's cellular network and those of more than 50 other wireless carriers to provide seamless coverage throughout North America.
GTE developed the WIN4 network to meet the growing demand for a national wireless data network that can carry messages between machines, computers and other devices. The network uses GTE's existing cellular network, plus arrangements with more than 50 other wireless carriers. It is an industry-standard platform that provides coverage throughout the United States and Canada. General Motors' OnStar division was the first user of the service. Other potential applications include monitoring the status of heavy equipment, gas tanks, soda machines, film drop boxes, and refrigerated cars; diagnosing engine problems; helping insurance adjusters process claims from the field and many others.
About Global Data Wireless
GDI Global Data Inc., through its Global Data Wireless business unit, designs, develops and markets wireless data products and services for automated meter reading (AMR) and remote telemetry applications. GDI's common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE:GI). GDI Global Data Inc. can be reached through the Internet at http://www.globaldata.com.
About GTE Wireless
GTE Wireless, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., provides wireless voice and data telecommunications services to more than 5 million customers in 17 states. GTE Wireless is part of GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE). More information is available at http://www.gte.com.
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