Four Croatian Companies Busy Digitising Gas Metres in Osijek

Lauren Simmonds

By the end of the year, up to five thousand gas users in Osijek will have the opportunity to read their gas meters on a monthly basis using digital technology thanks to four Croatian companies.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of July, 2020, this is the single largest gas metre digitisation project in the Republic of Croatia and the first to be done on the so-called 0G (zero G) network.

HEP Plin in Osijek, in cooperation with four Croatian companies that deal with technology, started upgrading the existing gas meters with devices which will enable the automatic sending of data over the Internet, and it will remain as such for the next ten years without the need for any additional interventions.

Damir Pecusak, Executive Director of HEP Plina, says that he is satisfied with the partnership of these Croatian companies and the solution that is being offered for the Eastern Croatian city of Osijek.

“The partnership of these Croatian companies in integration, hardware and software development resulted in the rapid implementation and ensuring of scalability, and the competence and commitment of IoT Net Adria partners from Sigfox’s ecosystem proved to be a key success factor in developing a cost-effective and reliable automated gas meter,” explained Pecusak.

The hardware device itself, which reads the status of the gas meter via a camera, does so several times a day, and encodes it so that it can be easily and quickly transferred further. It was developed by the Croatian company Byte Lab.

By the end of 2020, as many as 5000 users will get the opportunity to read their gas meters monthly using the most advanced technology.

This domestic R&D factory develops custom hardware for companies such as 3M, Philips and ABUS, and last year, it launched its debut hardware product. Multicom, which has developed a number of its own solutions in the field of billing and transaction monitoring, and the Osijek software company Axis are working on the software and other points of integration of this project.

HEP’s subsidiary HEP Telekomunikacije (Telecommunications) provided a data acceptance service to the data processing platform, the second key part of the IoT (Internet of Things) solution, because it performs data verification and pairing with HEP Plin’s billing system.

The data transfer itself was performed by the company IoT Net Adria, which manages the 0G network here in Croatia as part of the French startup Sigfox.

Ranko Rezek, CEO of IoT Net Adria, says that this is the first large-scale project in which all the advantages of 0G technology can be showcased. It is a wireless network, it operates throughout Croatia, and it specialises in the exchange of data between machines.

Previously, IoT Net Adria presented the first commercial user of its network, Marina Punat, who developed an IoT system that allows for the remote monitoring of the situation on yachts and which is already used by more than 400 yachtsmen.

”In Osijek, we’ve shown that a mix of smart devices with more than ten years of autonomy, our global IoT network and the capabilities of digital platforms, all allow utilities to quickly, cheaply and securely connect their readers anywhere in the country and thus increase efficiency, sustainability and customer satisfaction,” noted Rezek.

He added that he sees this project as a pilot for the digital transformation of the entire gas industry in Croatia, as well as for increasing the value in that industry in general, from distributors all the way to the end users. He stated that the project reduces the cost of the manual reading of gas meters and enables the monitoring of the situation in the gas network in real time.

“The HEP Plina digitalisation project provides users with an insight into real consumption, estimates of consumption costs, as well as an analysis of historical and current data,” concluded Rezek.

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