A ZigBee-certified wireless water meter developed by Elster and Freestyle Technology is using ZigBee technology from Ember to help utilities and consumers better manage their water cost and usage.

Elster and Freestyle have integrated Ember’s ZigBee System-on-Chip and ZigBee PRO networking software into the new Elster V200 digital water meter to serve global markets. The V200 is one in a series of Ember-enabled smart meters from Elster, with ZigBee smart meters for gas and electricity also in development.

The Elster V200 meters enable households to monitor their water usage wisely, while also giving utilities the ability to provide more efficient billing and better service to customers. The meters integrate effortlessly into wireless home area networks (HANs), working seamlessly with other smart energy devices in the home to help households conserve water, electricity and other resources. A wireless ZigBee-to-IP hub communicates usage data back to the utility for billing and service applications.

The V200 combines Elster’s proven measurement and smart meter technology, Ember’s ZigBee chips and software, and a metering application developed with Freestyle’s Microengine technology. As the meters are battery operated for easy maintenance and installation, the ultra-low power requirements of Ember’s ZigBee chips were essential to the meter’s design. The meters operate in “sleep” mode most of the time, awakening intermittently to communicate with the HAN and hub. Consequently, Ember’s ZigBee technology enables the meters to operate reliably and securely for years using inexpensive batteries.

The V200 meters utilize the ZigBee Smart Energy (SE) version 1.1 profile to provide easy development, installation and operation, as well as interoperability with industry standard Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems and other ZigBee SE devices. Elster can continuously enhance and update the meters using the SE profile’s over-the-air update feature.

“Elster selected Ember’s chips and software because of the company’s market leadership, mature technology and robust application development tools,” said Rob Campbell, managing director of Elster Metering Pty Ltd.

“Ember offered the best development platform so that we could bring this and future products to market quickly” said Richard Strickland, operations director of Freestyle. “With Ember’s tools you don’t have to worry about all the complex networking issues; you can just focus on creating great applications,” he said.

Ember’s ZigBee networking systems – chips, ZigBee protocol software and tools – simplify the complexity of integrating embedded software, networking and RF for developing low-power, wireless products in the connected home, smart energy, and other remote monitoring and control applications.