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Smart meters in homes will help ensure that the UK manages energy consumption more efficiently. A much needed response to the intense pressures on UK energy production and supply. If only the companies that plan the roll outs, install and maintenance of the meters could do so more efficiently!
Better management of the planning phase
Route planning and route optimisation software can respond to this need for efficient smart meter roll out and ongoing smart meter maintenance. For such a scenario to occur, vehicle routing software needs to integrate fully with scheduling and/or GIS solutions that are used to plan implementation and maintenance programmes. The scale of the UK smart meter roll-out program is resource intensive. Dynamic vehicle route planning can assist in planning resources effectively by managing variables that scheduling software cannot, namely, what is the optimum route to travel between locations given the set parameters (which are usually time windows, working hours, traffic conditions and the road network – one way streets, no right turns, etc).
Where should I target my implementations – Scattergun?
The government mandated smart meter plan ensures that consumers do not have to accept a smart meter. Energy providers however do have a target to meet in terms of number of smart meters installed. One would hope that those planning the meter roll out use GIS based technologies to target homes based on demographic data rather than apply a scattergun approach. One thing is for certain: None of the major players use route optimisation software when determining which locations would be the most easily driven given a sample set of smart meter installs! More fool them. They rely on ‘static’ scheduling software that has no regard for the time it takes to drive between locations based on historic traffic conditions between locations nor the physical terrain, road network, etc.
It is quick and easy
The rise of the Cloud platform means that GIS and even scheduling systems can be fully integrated with route optimisation software. Using web services via an API the GIS or scheduling software can ‘call’ the Cloud based route optimisation software with a list of jobs which the route optimisation will automatically optimise, sequence and return in a matter of seconds – Routing-as-a-Service (RaaS).