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Smart meter test at Munich Airport

The trial could open up new fields for the applications of sensors at the airport

Munich Airport is bringing older analogue systems into the digital world
Munich Airport is bringing older analogue systems into the digital world

Munich Airport, Huawei and Telefónica Germany are collaborating to launch a smart meter proof of concept (POC) based on NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) at the German airport.


Insufficient wireless signals in buildings and underground has reportedly limited the application of sensors in various fields across the airport, making it challenging to replace analogue and manual readings of electricity, water or gas meters.


However, the trial-based introduction of NB-IoT in conjunction with IoT provider Q-loud potentially opens up completely new fields for the application of sensors at the airport, helping to accelerate its digital transformation.


For organisations like Munich Airport, selecting a suitable technological infrastructure requires consideration of many factors. For example, the networking technology required should ideally cover the total area of 1,575 hectares, around 2,200 soccer pitches. In addition, it cannot disrupt the air traffic control system in any way for instance.


The airport’s older analogue systems are being brought into the digital world by using NB-IoT.

One important requirement for the current ongoing digital development of the airport was that the IT department and technology department needed to join efforts if the physical world on premises was to be connected to the Internet and become part of the IoT.


“The Internet of Things is not a goal in itself. We want to increase efficiency and enable new services,” said Johann Götz, responsible for software and infrastructure development at Munich Airport.


“We are responsible for numerous electricity meters, based in the buildings on our premises and in properties in a 10-kilometre radius from the airport. These need to be read at least once a year, and many need to be read monthly. It’s a lot of work, and because electricity consumption cannot be recorded in real-time, we cannot quickly intervene if there are any unforeseen changes.”


The EnergyCam, a camera system developed by Q-Loud, can record meter readings of traditional roller meters, analyse images and recognise displayed meter readings through integrated software, and transfer the data in digital form through NB-IoT in the Telefónica network to Huawei’s OceanConnect IoT platform.


This solution enables the airport IT department to quickly access meter data for rapid analysis, according to the partners.


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