Tutorial: Deploy and walk through an application template for monitoring smart meters
Smart meters enable not only automated billing, but also advanced metering use cases like real-time readings and bidirectional communication.
An application template enables utilities and partners to monitor the status and data of smart meters, along with defining alarms and notifications. The template provides sample commands, such as disconnecting a meter and updating software. You can set up the meter data to egress to other business applications, and to develop custom solutions.
The application's key functionalities include:
- Sample device model for meters
- Meter info and live status
- Meter readings such as energy, power, and voltage
- Meter command samples
- Built-in visualization and dashboards
- Extensibility for custom solution development
In this tutorial, you learn how to:
- Create an application for monitoring smart meters.
- Walk through the application.
- Clean up resources.
The architecture of the application consists of the following components. Some solutions might not require every component listed here.
Smart meters and connectivity
A smart meter is one of the most important devices among all the energy assets. It records and communicates energy consumption data to utilities for monitoring and other use cases, such as billing and demand response.
Typically, a meter uses a gateway or bridge to connect to an Azure IoT Central application. To learn more about bridges, see Use the Azure IoT Central device bridge to connect other IoT clouds to Azure IoT Central.
Azure IoT Central platform
When you build an Internet of Things (IoT) solution, Azure IoT Central simplifies the build process and helps reduce the burden and costs of IoT management, operations, and development. With Azure IoT Central, you can easily connect, monitor, and manage your IoT assets at scale.
After you connect your smart meters to Azure IoT Central, the application template uses built-in features such as device models, commands, and dashboards. The application template also uses the Azure IoT Central storage for warm path scenarios such as near real-time meter data monitoring, analytics, rules, and visualization.
Extensibility options to build with Azure IoT Central
The Azure IoT Central platform provides two extensibility options: Continuous Data Export and APIs. Customers and partners can choose between these options to customize their solutions for their specific needs.
For example, a partner might configure Continuous Data Export with Azure Data Lake Storage. That partner can then use Data Lake Storage for long-term data retention and other scenarios for cold path storage, such batch processing, auditing, and reporting.
To complete this tutorial, you need an active Azure subscription. If you don't have one, create a free account before you begin.
Create an application for monitoring smart meters
Go to the Azure IoT Central build site. Then sign in with a Microsoft personal, work, or school account.
Select Build from the left menu, and then select the Energy tab.
Under Smart meter monitoring, select Create app.
To learn more, see Create an Azure IoT Central application.
Walk through the application
The following sections walk you through the key features of the application.
After you deploy the application template, it comes with a sample smart meter, a device model, and a dashboard.
Adatum is a fictitious energy company that monitors and manages smart meters. The dashboard for monitoring smart meters shows properties, data, and sample commands for meters. The dashboard enables operators and support teams to proactively perform the following activities before they become support incidents:
- Review the latest meter info and its installed location on the map.
- Proactively check the meter network and connection status.
- Monitor minimum and maximum voltage readings for network health.
- Review the energy, power, and voltage trends to catch any anomalous patterns.
- Track the total energy consumption for planning and billing purposes.
- Perform command and control operations, such as reconnecting a meter and updating a firmware version. In the template, the command buttons show the possible functionalities and don't send real commands.
The application comes with a sample smart-meter device. You can see available devices by selecting Devices on the left menu.
Select the link for sample device SM0123456789 to see the device details. You can update the writable properties of the device on the Update Properties page, and then visualize the updated values on the dashboard.
Select Device templates on the left menu to see the model of the smart meter. The model has a predefined interface for data, properties, commands, and views.
Customize your application
As an administrator, you can change settings to customize the user experience in your application.
Select Customization > Appearance, and then:
- To set the masthead logo image, select Change.
- To set the browser icon image that appears on browser tabs, select Change.
- Under Browser colors, you can replace the default browser colors by adding HTML hexadecimal color codes. For more information about color notation for HEX values, see the W3Schools HTML Colors tutorial.
You can change the application image on the Application > Management page.
Clean up resources
If you don't plan to continue using this application, you can delete it:
- In your Azure IoT Central application, go to Application > Management.
- Select Delete, and then confirm your action.
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