Taggle Systems is the only Australian-owned tech company in the smart water industry, delivering nearly half the smart water meters in the country. Since its humble beginnings, it has worked to do good in the world.
Taggle Systems is true blue, designed and owned locally, a leader in the Australian market with over 10 years of experience. It has nearly 300,000 endpoints already delivered in the field. An endpoint represents one of its integrated smart water meters or a Taggle device attached to a water meter. When about 600,000 endpoints are installed across Australia, Taggle has almost 50 per cent of the market share.
Led by Chief Executive Officer David Peters, Taggle has been working to make a difference in the world by saving precious water and money for councils, water utilities and everyday Australians by reducing water bills through finding leaks. The company is built on the expertise of some serious engineering talent.
“Our engineering founders were some of the guys who invented Wi-Fi,” said Peters. “They turned their mind to low power, wide area radio networks (LPWAN). It offers low-cost, low-power, long-range communications for many sensors and devices. Our devices last for 15 years on a single battery and are designed for the diversity of the Australian environment.”
Taggle smart water meters help councils and the environment
When Peters looks at the take-up of Taggle technology, he can point to 67 customers across the country – primarily local councils and water authorities. That’s pretty good for a born-and-bred-Australian IoT company.
“We delivered over 2.3 billion meter readings in 2022—this volume of data provides valuable insights for our customers. Last year alone, we identified around 300,000 leaks which could then be addressed quickly. On average, they were fixed within fifteen days. These leaks might only have been picked up months after the next manual meter reads and billing cycle without smart meters. Even then, that lost water might be considered normal consumption,” said Peters.
On average, leak rates are at 90 litres per hour. Taggle’s leak systems recorded 16 gigalitres, about 2400 Olympic swimming pools, of lost water during 2022.
“Imagine if those leaks were left unidentified for months. The savings are huge, especially during droughts,” he said. “Focusing on leak identification and rectification, we’re providing a positive message for customers from the council. We can send an SMS or an email or arrange a call from the council when the platform identifies a leak of a specific size. It’s a plus for the council and the community.”
Preparing for digitising a network
Taggle has delivered projects for councils and water authorities of all sizes. It has rolled out meters across entire regions at scale in one go, as well as smaller, staged rollouts over several years. Peters believes it is essential for councils to understand the different rollout options and how organisations adapt to the new technology.
“Some organisations roll out all the meters in one hit. Tamworth is doing this now,” said Peters. “Townsville, Orange, and Bathurst, on the other hand, are rolling out smart meters in multi-year stages. They would install a few hundred or thousand meters annually and gradually replace their fleet. It accounts for their budget constraints while allowing them to benefit from the latest technology and adjust their plans accordingly.”
He gave the example of one council that rolled out just 500 smart meters as part of a pilot program. Straight away, they discovered 27 leaks and began their water-saving journey.
“The council realised they had to contact those customers and did not have a process. That’s a new business process for the council to put into place that they previously would not have known about,” he said. “It’s also a digital transformation that has started within the organisation, needing new policies and internal activities. It is why a progressive rollout allows the council to digest its learnings. It can get the organisation in tune with the rollout and ensure they can do everything efficiently.”
Councils working together for common good
The water sector within councils and utilities has a wonderful non-competitive nature, all working together to drive innovation and improve processes.
“The strong network between councils and between water authorities sees them talk to and learn from each other,” he said. “We encourage this and held our annual user forum in Brisbane at the beginning of March. Taggle holds online and in-person events so our customers can share what they have learned from their system.”
What are the most common things that are talked about at the forums? Peters has found that leak policies, leak rebates and sign-up incentives are consistently discussed at these forums, as they are topics that always pop up.
“When we have over 65 customers representing nearly 300,000 endpoints, there is a lot of information to share. The sharing of information provides new customers with some pointers. They often deliver more successful projects because of these learnings,” said Peters.
Insights into water and wastewater
Aside from monitoring water flow through meters, Taggle also has solutions from sensors to software to monitor the water and wastewater networks. Collecting data from other sensors can provide a council with valuable insights to improve water management.
For example, understanding water pressure around the network can reduce stress on the infrastructure. It identifies any anomalies for rectification before a break occurs. Similarly, alerts to level rises and blockages in wastewater networks can prevent costly overflow events. These early warning systems are game changers for utilities operating and maintaining their networks.
“We make a range of devices for different use cases. Our latest device, the Cockatoo, is a versatile telemetry device capable of utilising different radio networks, protocols, and battery configurations,” said Peters.
There’s a physical robustness to Taggle’s products. Its warranty guarantees that all our 3rd generation devices we released this past year are designed for a battery life in the field of 15 years. That’s no small task for the engineers.
“Our engineers say it’s like sending a shuttle into space,” said Peters. “You send the device off and don’t want to touch it again. The devices are installed in the front yard or pits and sit there, submitting to all the weather and environmental conditions nature can throw at them. The engineering quality standards we operate under are extremely high, and we continue to beat them for our customers.”
This article was first published and written by Inside Water