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How field inspection management platforms simplify smart water meter deployments

June 20, 2023

The smart water meter market is slated to grow globally at about 27 percent per year[i] – not surprising considering the many advantages of smart water meters such as reducing water waste, improving water quality, and increasing system efficiency[ii]. There’s only one problem: the meters don’t upgrade themselves.

With a cost to replace digital meters with smart meters averaging about $180 a unit[iii], and millions of units still on old AMR drive-by or walk-by units that need to be upgraded, replacing each water meter to a two-way communicating smart meter is a staggering undertaking to contemplate.

Luckily, field inspection management platforms can help with efficient water meter upgrades, keeping projects on time and under budgets, with benefits including:

Improved efficiency and productivity

With easy-to-follow checklists, conditional fields, and elimination of the inefficiencies of pen-and-paper inspections, digital field inspection software keeps projects moving without wasted time or effort.

Standardization of operations

The scale of the undertaking to replace water meters means that utilities likely will hire outside contractors to perform at least some of the meter swaps. Using a digital data collection app allows everyone to follow along with SOPs so each meter installation goes smoothly, whether done by seasoned utility employee or first-day-on-the-job temp contractor.

Exact location data

As each record and photograph is automatically geotagged with the smart meter location, managers can confirm that the smart meter was installed in the appropriate home or business, all but eliminating the possibility of error or fraudulent job completion reporting.

Real-time troubleshooting

With so many different meter replacement locations and scenarios, questions – and issues – will arise. Being able to share photos, videos, and precise location information allows supervisors to weigh in and give direction from wherever they’re working, while any follow-up tasks can be easily assigned to maintenance or repair crews for quick resolution.

Easy data sharing and integration

Coordinating efforts between contractors, utilities, and municipal agencies requires that data be available for sharing between parties, both as raw data and finished reports. Field inspection management platforms allow this and more, and are particularly helpful when efforts require a great deal of documentation – such as smart water meter replacement projects that are funded by grants, special assessments, federal funding, or on-bill charges for water customers.

How field inspection management platforms simplify smart water meter deployments


As the global demand for smart water meters continues to rise, the importance of efficient and cost-effective upgrades cannot be overstated. Field inspection management platforms like Fulcrum prove to be invaluable tools in this endeavor, streamlining the entire process and ensuring projects stay on track and within budget. With improved productivity, standardized operations, precise location data, real-time troubleshooting, and seamless data sharing capabilities, these platforms pave the way for a successful transition to smart water meters, unlocking enhanced water conservation efforts and a more sustainable future.

Want to learn more about how Fulcrum’s data collection software aids water utility field operations? Check out TREKK Design Group customer success story and find out how it uses Fulcrum to perform manhole and other water utility inspections!

[i] Smart Water Metering Market Share | Statistics Report 2032 (gminsights.com)

[ii] 6 Benefits of Smart Water Management Using IoT Technology | Digiteum

[iii] High Cost of Smart Water Meters Slows Adoption by Utilities | The Water Network | by AquaSPE