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COMMERCIAL FEATURE From Smart Metering to Smart Heating With the development of heat metering reform in China, heat supply companies have been paying more attention to the implementation of smart metering systems. Although a basic consensus has been reached with regard to the importance and necessity of smart metering, can smart metering on its own reach the goal of the reform – which is to save energy, reduce emission and improve energy efficiency? The answer is obviously no. If heat-metering reform is only confined to the transformation of billing methods instead of having an effect on the key point of production scheduling, the true aims of this reform will not be achieved completely. Therefore, we put forward the concept of smart heating on the basis of smart metering, aiming at breaking the isolation among different departments in heat supply companies and producing more value out of data. We propose a three-step solution which makes it possible to transform from smart metering to smart heating. Step one: Metering Resource Integration In the beginning of the reform, many heat supply companies mainly focused on the construction of infrastructure but neglected the planning and design of the heat metering management system, with the result that the company purchased heat meters from different manufacturers with different heat metering systems, which were not interoperable or compatible. Most of the existing metering systems are too simply designed, resulting in an inability to deal with large amount of data throughput and metering on a city level. Using more metering systems will worsen the data island phenomenon and limit the ability of metering data to be effective. Therefore, it is the current trend as well as the precondition and basis of the establishment of smart heat metering to integrate metering resources and build a unified smart metering platform in order to replace all the independent metering software. 24 IZAR@WEB metering platform could provide metering managers with information alerts and detailed energy consumption analysis. It can also provide many kinds of data interaction connectors for upper-level application systems. Relying on its advanced technical framework and design concept, IZAR@WEB is high scalable in performance. Step two: Enterprise-level Data Sharing With the implementation of heat metering reform, the heating consumption habits of customers are changing. If the heat supply company cannot adjust the heat production schedule in a timely manner, the reform target of energy conservation together with emission reduction will not be reached. Hence, the heat metering reform can’t stop at the construction of a smart metering system. The reform should also involve heat production dispatch, which would be impossible without data sharing. Only by sharing data with each other and integrating customers’ information from billing systems, metering data from metering systems, customers’ complaints, account management machine status and maintainers’ information, shall we see the essence of informatisation construction and enlarge the value of all information systems. Through open and standard communication protocols, IZAR@WEB ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), a data sharing solution, can eliminate the differences among different application systems on a technical level so that different services could cooperate and communicate with each other. With the data sharing solutions provided by IZAR@WEB ESB, a heat supply company can store all the basic information, such as organisation structure, customer profiles, employee information and device lists, into a LDAP server, and share them with other applications through the ESB. Figure 1 IZAR@WEB ESB - Data Sharing Level Step three: Business Process Optimisation Bringing in a workflow engine and rule engine makes the whole business process paperless, automatic and regularised, and cuts out redundant procedures. The system integration offered by IZAR@ WEB allows a close connection between maintenance crews and the company’s information system through the mobile client which makes it possible to request data and feedback in a timely manner. What is more, as different departments in heat supply companies are involved in various work flow processes, this system removes communication obstacles and redundant procedures. Additionally, every step in this process can be traced and is recorded in detail in journals. Figure 2 IZAR@WEB ESB - Process Integration Level Summary Recently, the MOHURD issued a notice that 103 cities were selected as the pilot cities for the National Smart City Construction programme. Some specific requirements were underlined: information sharing and integration were a top priority. As a public service unit related to people’s livelihood, heat supply will certainly play a very important role in Smart City construction. MI ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yuan Yongkai, Product Manager of HYDROMETER (Shandong) Metering Co., Ltd, has solid experience in software design and enterprises information integration. Currently he is working on providing complete smart solutions for the heating industry. About the company: HYDROMETER (Shandong) Metering Co., Ltd is part of Diehl Metering. As a full-service provider, Diehl Metering supplies the entire process chain from meters to billing. Producing 7 million meters and 4.6 million radio modules per year, it is one of the major players in the international industry. Using highly accurate meters and intelligent system solutions for automated remote reading for all types of energy in combination with smart metering solutions, Diehl Metering ensures the economic and environmentally friendly use of water, thermal power, gas and electricity. METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE - 1 | 2014