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A pilot project is a statistically significant, smaller-sized version of a full-scale program deployment. You can use the pilot to validate the viability of the program project. But, it must be a relevant and meaningful sample. Before committing into a new, untested project idea, a pilot study can help management, operators, project managers and all other stakeholders to understand the impacts of the program and to determine whether the project is likely to succeed. Most importantly, it dramatically reduces or even elements project risks.

M.J. Martin

A Non-Penetrating Roof Mount to Support an AMI Antenna without Impacting the Roof Membrane

There is some sound logic to piloting an AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) for a Canadian municipal water meter reading solution. Here are some reasons why conducting an AMI pilot would be advantageous:

Performance Evaluation: An AMI pilot allows you to assess the performance of your new water meter reading solution in a controlled environment. You can gather data on accuracy, reliability, and functionality to determine if it meets your requirements and performs as expected.

System Validation: Through a pilot, you can validate the compatibility and interoperability of the AMI solution with your existing infrastructure and systems. It helps ensure that the new solution seamlessly integrates with your water management infrastructure without causing disruptions or conflicts.

Data Collection and Analysis: An AMI pilot enables you to collect real-time data on water consumption, flow patterns, and meter readings. This data can be invaluable for analyzing usage patterns, identifying leaks, optimizing distribution, and making data-driven decisions to improve overall water management efficiency.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: By conducting a pilot, you can gather cost and performance data, allowing you to assess the financial viability and benefits of implementing the AMI solution. This analysis will help you determine if the investment is justified and if the expected cost savings, operational efficiencies, and improved customer service outweigh the implementation and maintenance costs.

Stakeholder Engagement: An AMI pilot can involve various stakeholders, such as utility staff, customers, and regulators. It provides an opportunity for engagement, feedback collection, and addressing any concerns or challenges before full-scale deployment. Involving stakeholders early on can increase acceptance and help in planning for a smooth transition.

Risk Mitigation: Piloting the AMI solution allows you to identify and mitigate potential risks and challenges before implementing it across your entire water management system. By testing the solution on a smaller scale, you can uncover and address issues, ensure security measures are in place, and minimize any potential negative impacts.

Scalability Assessment: The pilot phase helps you evaluate the scalability of the AMI solution. You can analyze its performance when handling different metering capacities, varying data volumes, and additional functionalities. Understanding scalability is crucial to ensure the solution can handle the anticipated growth in your water management system.

Riggers installing a test antenna on a 15 metre tower


Conducting an AMI pilot for your next-generation water meter reading solution provides an opportunity to validate its performance, assess its financial viability, engage stakeholders, mitigate risks, and make informed decisions before deploying it on a larger scale. It helps ensure that the solution aligns with your requirements and brings tangible benefits to your water management operations.

About the Author:

Michael Martin is the Vice President of Technology with Metercor Inc., a Smart Meter, IoT, and Smart City systems integrator based in Canada. He has more than 40 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He was a senior executive consultant for 15 years with IBM, where he worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin served on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).  He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has completed over 30 next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, Indigenous Canada awareness, and more.