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NICIGAS Connects 850,000 Gas Meters in Japan with SORACOM and UnaBiz (內附中文)

By 20 November, 2019 No Comments

Led by UnaBiz and SORACOM, the smart makeover will allow the collection of real-time data without the need for a network overhaul

NCU group picture

From Left: Kenji Iwamura – Energy Business Dept. Manager of NICIGAS, Masahiro Mukai – MD of NICIGAS, Junichi Morishita – MD of NICIGAS, Ken Tamagawa – CEO & Founder of SORACOM, Shinji Wada – President of NICIGAS, Henri Bong – CEO & Co-Founder of UnaBiz, Philippe Chiu – CTO & Co-Founder of UnaBiz, Yuki Matsuda – CIO of NICIGAS, Naoto Namekawa – Sales Manager of SORACOM, and Ryuichi Nagashima – Chief Designer of NICIGAS

 

Nov. 20, 2019 – 850,000 Nippon Gas Co., Ltd (“NICIGAS”) gas meters across Japan will get a smart makeover by the end of FY2020, thanks to a retrofitted gas meter reader developed by UnaBiz and SORACOM. The project marks one of the largest deployments of smart utilities solutions to date.

SPACE HOTARU, an original concept by NICIGAS, is a reader that is easily retrofitted onto existing gas meters to enable “smart” features. The Network Controlling Unit (NCU) collects and transmits gas consumption data to NICIGAS’ IoT data platform, “NICIGAS Stream”, via Sigfox’s Japan-wide 0G wireless network allowing the gas valve to be controlled remotely. The NCU is energy-efficient and is expected to last more than 10 years on internal batteries.

Making low-cost and real-time gas metering a reality

The SPACE HOTARU addresses key issues that the gas industry commonly faces: collecting data in a cost-effective way to allow for real-time insights.

Since the adoption of the reader, meter data that used to be read manually by agents once a month is now collected by the NCU on an hourly basis, and sent to NICIGAS Stream daily. Collected data is used to visualise and predict the amount of gas remaining in households, allowing timelier replacement of gas cylinders and improving the quality of service to its consumers.

In addition, the NCU also reports on meter related incidents. In the event of an earthquake, the gas valve is programmed to auto-close, bringing convenience and real-time security to the properties.

 

High-speed partnership solution

The SPACE HOTARU was made possible thanks to the strong collaboration between NICIGAS, SORACOM, UnaBiz, Sigfox, and Kyocera Communication Systems. The solution runs on the 0G network operated by Kyocera Communication Systems, a subsidiary of Kyocera Corporation.

A spokesperson from NICIGAS shared his excitement on the new product: “The combined expertise of SORACOM and UnaBiz in software and hardware development respectively has helped us bring our idea to mass production quickly. The team’s competence and dedication were the key success factors in developing this durable and cost-efficient smart gas meter, and their speed to market is simply unparalleled.”

“With more precise gas consumption data, we can better analyze our demand and supply and turn them into actionable insights for our logistics and distribution channels to achieve maximum resource efficiency. In addition, it will enable us to propose optimal energy usage plans to our existing and potential customers,” he added.

NICIGAS anticipates that the NCU project will give the company a technology lead in both the shifting Japanese consumer market and the global energy front. NICIGAS plans to offer SPACE HOTARU and the integrated system supported by NICIGAS Stream to other gas retailers and other energy retailers.

Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and Co-Founder of Sigfox, said: “It’s really exciting to get this project turning to mass deployment thanks to this collaboration. Sigfox is on the way to exceed its target of 15 million objects connected to our network thanks to the increasing maturity of our market. This project demonstrates the amazing potential of industries to connect their assets for higher revenues and margins.”

Tapping the possibilities of IoT

Tasked with designing and manufacturing NICIGAS’ hardware solution, UnaBiz points to how effective and affordable IoT solutions can be, going well beyond the utilities sector, in logistics and facilities management, for example, allowing companies to optimise on the digitalization of their processes.

“We want to design high-quality, economical and sustainable solutions that can help companies and industries optimise their processes and grow sustainably. Getting connected doesn’t always have to mean having to completely rehaul assets. It is important that businesses, consumers and the environment all win in this process,” explained Henri Bong, CEO and Co-Founder of UnaBiz.

His view is shared by Ken Tamagawa, CEO & Co-founder of SORACOM, which provides the platform that connects devices in sectors that range from agriculture, energy and construction to consumer electronics, manufacturing and real estate.

“NICIGAS represents a prime example of the benefits that a smart IoT connectivity platform brings to large-scale deployments. The combination of IoT technology and cloud capability lets businesses connect devices quickly, affordably, and securely anywhere in the world, while increasing efficiency, sustainability, and customer satisfaction,” he said.

 

NICIGAS 與 SORACOM 和 UnaBiz 合作連結日本國內的 850,000 部瓦斯錶

  UnaBiz SORACOM 主導,此項瓦斯錶智慧改裝作業將可收集即時資料,無需對網路進行大改造

左起:Kenji Iwamura NICIGAS 能源商業部門經理,Masahiro Mukai – NICIGAS 行銷總監,Junichi Morishita NICIGAS 行銷總監,Ken Tamagawa SORACOM 執行長暨創辦人,Shinji Wada NICIGAS 總裁,Henri Bong UnaBiz 執行長暨共同創辦人,Philippe Chiu UnaBiz 技術長暨共同創辦人,Yuki Matsuda NICIGAS 資訊長,Naoto Namekawa SORACOM 銷售經理,以及 Ryuichi Nagashima NICIGAS 設計總負責人

新加坡/台灣/日本,2019 年 11 月 20 日 – 到 2020 會計年度的年底,日本國內共 850,000 部 Nippon Gas Co.,Ltd(以下稱「NICIGAS」)瓦斯錶將加裝瓦斯錶讀取器,變得更聰明。此項專案是現今部署規模最大的一項智慧公用事業解決方案。

由 NICIGAS 提出原始設計概念的SPACE HOTARU 讀取器,可輕鬆加裝至現有的瓦斯錶,提供「智慧」功能。網路控制單元 (NCU) 會收集瓦斯用量資料,並透過 Sigfox 在全日本的 0G 無線網路將資料傳輸至 NICIGAS 的物聯網資料平台「NICIGAS Stream」,並可遠端控制瓦斯閥。NCU 的耗電量低,使用鋰電池而且預計可運作長達 10 年。

 

實現低成本的即時瓦斯計量

SPACE HOTARU 可解決燃氣業共同面臨的關鍵問題:以具成本效益的方式收集資料,以提供即時的洞察資訊。

自從採用此讀取器後,原本瓦斯錶資料由專人每月人工抄錶讀取,現在改由 NCU 每小時收集瓦斯錶資料,然後每日傳回 NICIGAS Stream。收集的資料用於呈現和預測家戶的剩餘瓦斯量,以便更及時地更換瓦斯桶,進而提升為消費者提供的服務品質。

此外,NCU 還會報告瓦斯錶相關的事件。當發生地震時,會將瓦斯閥設為自動關閉,不但提供便利性,而且也為用戶財產提供即時安全保障。

高速合作解決方案

在 NICIGAS、SORACOMUnaBiz、Sigfox 和 Kyocera Communication Systems 之間的通力合作下,SPACE HOTARU 就此誔生。此解決方案在 Kyocera Communication Systems(Kyocera Corporation 的子公司)營運的 0G 網路上運作。

NICIGAS 發言人分享他對這項新產品的興奮之情:「結合 SORACOM 和 UnaBiz 在軟體與硬體開發的專長,幫助我們快速地將概念化為量產。團隊的能力和付出是順利開發這款耐用、價格實惠的智慧型瓦斯錶的關鍵成功因素,讓產品以無人能及的速度上市。」

「有了更精確的瓦斯用量資料,我們就能更好地分析我們的供需狀況,將它們轉化為可行的洞悉資訊,用於我們的物流和配送通路,以實現最大資源效率。此外,它還能讓我們針對我們現有和潛在客戶提出最佳的能源使用計畫,」他補充道。

NICIGAS 預期 NCU 專案將可讓該公司在轉變日本消費者市場和全球能源方面取得技術領先地位。NICIGAS 規劃向其他燃氣零售商與其他能源零售商供應 SPACE HOTARU 和 NICIGAS Stream 支援的整合系統。

Sigfox 執行長暨共同創辦人 Ludovic Le Moan 說道:「歸功此次的合作,讓這個專案得以大規模部署,這實在令人振奮。由於我們的市場日益成熟,Sigfox 正在朝網路連接裝置數量超過 1 千 5 百萬個的目標前進。此專案展現了產業透過連接其資產進而提升營收和獲利的驚人潛力。」

 

高速合作解決方案

在 NICIGAS、SORACOM、UnaBiz、Sigfox 和 Kyocera Communication Systems 之間的通力合作下,SPACE HOTARU 就此誔生。此解決方案在 Kyocera Communication Systems(Kyocera Corporation 的子公司)營運的 0G 網路上運作。

NICIGAS 發言人分享他對這項新產品的興奮之情:「結合 SORACOM 和 UnaBiz 在軟體與硬體開發的專長,幫助我們快速地將概念化為量產。團隊的能力和付出是順利開發這款耐用、價格實惠的智慧型瓦斯錶的關鍵成功因素,讓產品以無人能及的速度上市。」

「有了更精確的瓦斯用量資料,我們就能更好地分析我們的供需狀況,將它們轉化為可行的洞悉資訊,用於我們的物流和配送通路,以實現最大資源效率。此外,它還能讓我們針對我們現有和潛在客戶提出最佳的能源使用計畫,」他補充道。

NICIGAS 預期 NCU 專案將可讓該公司在轉變日本消費者市場和全球能源方面取得技術領先地位。NICIGAS 規劃向其他燃氣零售商與其他能源零售商供應 SPACE HOTARU 和 NICIGAS Stream 支援的整合系統。

Sigfox 執行長暨共同創辦人 Ludovic Le Moan 說道:「歸功此次的合作,讓這個專案得以大規模部署,這實在令人振奮。由於我們的市場日益成熟,Sigfox 正在朝網路連接裝置數量超過 1 千 5 百萬個的目標前進。此專案展現了產業透過連接其資產進而提升營收和獲利的驚人潛力。」

 

About NICIGAS
Nippon Gas Co Ltd, or NICIGAS, is a Japanese integrated energy retailer and supplies LP (liquefied petroleum) Gas, City Gas and Electricity to 1,549K customers in the Kanto region of Japan (as of 30 Sep. 2019). In Japan, the electricity and city gas retail market were fully deregulated in 2016 and 2017, respectively and every player needs to provide newly added-value and higher quality of services, to their customers, in order to differentiate from their competitors. NICIGAS considers ICT and digital transformation (DX), supported by energy/cost-efficient communication technology on the SPACE HOTARU, are the key to solution and success. In this context, NICIGAS believes that ICT and DX are not just a cost rationalization tool but also a strong driver to increase the top line of the businesses, and enterprise-value, sustainably. NICIGAS’ ambitious challenges are highly evaluated in the market and it has been awarded “the Competitive IT Strategy Company” jointly by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (“METI”) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (“TSE”), for four consecutive years (2016-2019).

About SORACOM
Soracom is a global provider of smart IoT connectivity, offering cloud-native wireless service designed specifically for the needs of connected devices. Founded in 2015, Soracom now serves over 15,000 customers around the world in industries ranging from agriculture, energy, construction and transportation to consumer electronics, manufacturing, real estate and healthcare. From global enterprises to fast-growing start-ups, customers trust Soracom to help accelerate speed to market and make it easy to connect devices to the cloud. More information is available at www.soracom.io

About UnaBiz

UnaBiz is the enabler of Massive Internet of Things (IoT) in Asia. The company specialises in providing affordable, well-designed solutions that are energy efficient, highly scalable and simple to deploy at a fraction of conventional cost. UnaBiz envisions a closely connected world powered by simple technology. By uniting people and technology, UnaBiz aims to create an impact on a massive scale, to help every person and every organisation on the planet live smarter, simpler. The company’s mission is to keep its clients and partners ahead with agility and ingenuity. Today, it provides a diversified range of expertise from product design to manufacturing capabilities, tapping into a wide range of skills and resources from the IoT ecosystem to power business growth. In 2018, UnaBiz raised over US$10 million in its Series A funding round, and is since accredited with the ISO 9001:2015 certification for Design of IoT Product and Provider of Network Connectivity Solutions. The company is presently selling in 28 countries and focus on key verticals such as facilities management, asset management, asset tracking and smart parking.

About Sigfox

Sigfox is the initiator of the 0G network and the world’s leading IoT (Internet of Things) service provider. Its global network allows billions of devices to connect to the Internet, in a straightforward way, while consuming as little energy as possible. Sigfox’s unique approach to device-to-cloud communications addresses the three greatest barriers to global IoT adoption: cost, energy consumption and global scalability. Today, the network is available in 65 countries, with 1 billion people covered. ISO 9001 certified and surrounded by a large ecosystem of partners and IoT key players, Sigfox empowers companies to move their business model towards more digital services, in key areas such as Asset Tracking and Supply Chain. Founded in 2010 by Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet, the company is headquartered in France and has offices in Madrid, Munich, Boston, Dallas, San Jose, Dubai, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

About Kyocera Communication Systems

Kyocera Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS) is a systems integration company which connects information to people, people to business, and business to society. The KCCS Group covers the following four major domains: information platforms, communication infrastructures, harmonised economy and ecology infrastructures, and management platforms for companies.

 

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