Two years ago this September, I got a Saturday morning emergency call from the Water Department, most specifically from a member of the Water Brain Trust. I use the term Brain Trust to mean someone who never ceases to answer questions, and has new and old knowledge about a system, like our town’s water system.
The former — no longer used as of a week ago — system, consisted of several components. These included a pretty decent commercial meter collection system, including reading wands, handhelds, and software that worked that pulled reads from the handhelds, and programmed the handhelds with account information. In addition, a software bridge was written between the water billing (actually real-estate, motor vehicle excise, parking ticket, and water billing) and meter systems. Eventually, that bridge a series of programs and scripts needed re-writing.
After that Saturday call, and after a subsequent call to fix an emergency during the week, I re-wrote the bridge. The vendor was not enthusiastic about helping me understand their data mapping documents, but did help me nonetheless. And so, that re-write bought us time before our new AMR vendor was picked on an RFP (Request For Proposal Bid) and our project started.
We are about to take the first water meter reads from our new AMR system. This would not have been possible in fact without a dedicated water department, and an excellent vendor field team.
It’s one thing to take a wand (looks like a tubular boomerang), push it up against an ARB or touchpad, and get a read. It’s an entirely different matter to coordinate reads from a radio endpoint continually reading the meter, and passing that information, along with all its other approximately 12,000 endpoint siblings to a meter reading system.
So this week, nearly two years after that Saturday call, we are about to snap[shot] water meter reads for the first section that was converted, and to me, that is a big deal.
Bon Apetit to us all. 🙂