MeterSYS and the City of Sanford Partner for a Successful Smart City Pilot Project in the Triangle

Located in the center of North Carolina and adjacent to the Research Triangle Park, the City of Sanford has a long history of offering high-quality, innovative service to its citizens. The City recently engaged Raleigh-based MeterSYS, a vendor-neutral provider of end-to-end metering and technology solutions, to help implement an advanced metering solution. In exploring how to enhance value and fully leverage the investment in the network, the City decided that a LoRaWAN solution, that is a low-power, wide-area network, would provide exponential advantages beyond just automated meter reads. While smart metering would be a key component, the interoperable design of a LoRa network would provide the foundation to incrementally adopt Internet of Things (IoT) devices and build out a Smart City design tailored to Sanford and the service of its citizens.

Interoperability was a key driver, as the City wanted to test a variety of top-tier IoT devices from different manufacturers. MeterSYS has developed an IoT solutions-focused service line called SenthiSYS and built a portfolio of device and solution partners over the years, all of which have been certified to communicate on a LoRaWAN network. The City and MeterSYS worked together to identify key areas of focus for the Pilot program, including smart water meters, parking sensors, environmental sensors, and water main pressure sensors. MeterSYS conducts extensive testing and validation within its own Testing Center in Raleigh and each of the devices used in the Sanford Pilot went through exhaustive testing and trial runs before being deployed in the field.

The LoRa network was designed to utilize Tektelic gateways communicating via a Senet network application, whereby each device upon installation is provisioned to communicate. Following installation of network devices on a water tank and downtown rooftop, MeterSYS deployed both Neptune R900i and Mueller ME-8 meters, along with pilot versions of each vendor’s Meter Data Management System (MDMS) City staff to access the read and alert data.

In addition to the water meters, a Trimble Water Distribution Pressure Recorder was installed on a fire hydrant to monitor PSI levels and an Oizom environmental sensor at a junction point for the City’s wastewater system. In the Central Business District, PNI PlacePod parking sensors were also installed, which are surface-mounted sensor devices that provide near real-time parking data.

MeterSYS helped the City implement scaled-down versions of the software that some of the deployed devices offered. For those devices that don’t have accompanying applications, MeterSYS developed a platform that would visualize the data captured by those sensors. While the initial phase focused on the parking data to assist the City in determining future parking needs for the downtown area, the cloud-based application is capable of supporting data from the other devices reporting on the LoRa network and MeterSYS is working to further build out this platform. The City also plans to implement a WaterSmart customer engagement portal to allow those customers with smart meters to interact with their water usage data and to provide a robust self-service platform for its water utility customers.

The partnership between MeterSYS and the City of Sanford has led to the successful deployment of a smart city network that currently supports five different Lora-enabled device types. These low-data, long-range sensors are actively monitoring and reporting any state changes or issues, allowing the City to target resources more effectively and automate routine activities, all on a secure and locally operated wireless network. For more information on our smart city solutions and services, please visit our resources page or contact us at