Motorola and NERTEC announced an agreement to jointly pursue certain customer opportunities with the goal to deliver advanced digital communication solutions to utility companies.
Together, the two companies will use public and private communications networks to offer a cost effective Automated Meter Reading (AMR) solution to certain electric, gas and water utility companies. The Teaming Agreement enables Motorola to offer NERTEC's AMR application on Motorola's private networks.
"By combining both our company's products and capabilities, we can offer a greater return on investment to our utility customers through lowered operating costs and increased efficiencies, while increasing utilization of the utility's installed wireless communication assets," said Geno Viviano, Motorola Communications and Electronics Inc. vice president, Special Markets Division.
"Our experience in integrating communications in metering equipment combined with Motorola's communication expertise allows us to tailor low cost, secure efficient data access for utilities," said Guy Lemieux, president and CEO of NERTEC. "Using Motorola's private wireless data network provides an additional level of data safety for the utilities."
Motorola will offer NERTEC's AMR application on its Private DataTac, a user-owned wireless data communications network, or on its iDEN(R) wireless IP network that combines voice, telephone interconnect, mobile data and fixed data on one network.
"The low cost IP connectivity allows us to integrate the AMR application on the same network as voice dispatch and cellular-type calls using iDEN technology," noted Jim Hanson, Motorola Special Market's Wireless Data Solutions manager. "This provides utility customers with secure, efficient access to their data without monthly public network communication charges."
"The utilities require innovative solutions that can give them the data they need, when they need it. With the power of Motorola's DataTAC network, we will deliver exactly that," said Lemieux.
In addition, utility companies will have the ability to control their own private wireless networks.
"This control is critical to business success because it offers customers the ability to expand capacity precisely when they need it in saturated zones without the need to wait for assistance from their wireless service provider," said Hanson.
Private DataTAC operates on 25 kHz or 12.5 kHz channels in the 800 and 900 MHz Private Mobile Radio frequency bands and uses Radio Data Link Access Protocol (RD-LAP) for high-speed communication and quick dispatch response time within all types of mobile radio environments. iDEN systems range from a large, statewide public network to a small, single-site private system. Both support AMR operations by filtering unneeded meter fields, providing service to a large number of meters via a single frequency channel.
"Use of this advanced Motorola technology limits the need to expand their communications infrastructure, which can also result in a cost savings for utilities," said Hanson.
Motorola and NERTEC are currently working towards their first team solution-providing wireless communications to an investor-owned utility's gas corrector instruments.