The innovative Integration Automatic Meter Reading System called ZigBee Wireless Sensor Network (ZBWSN) developed by LEO Tech Co. Ltd., was shown at the LEO Tech booth in the Incheon International Information Technology Communication 2009 (ITC 2009). It is taking the attention of many buyers because it calculates and inspects meters almost automatically without human work. The Korea IT Times interviewed Choi Suk-jun, president of LEO Tech. He spoke about the technologies they have built and the plan they will do in the near future.
Q: First of all, congratulations on winning the gold prize in the field of IT in ITC 2009 Awards. Would you tell me a little bit about that
A: We, LEO Tech, are surely a pleasure to win a gold prize in the field of IT here and thank the Incheon Information Technology Industry Promotion Agency and Incheon Metropolitan City deeply. Having this opportunity, we would like to contribute for future technology development of Korea and Incheon Metropolitan City by putting more energy and effort into it.
Q: When did you start ZBWSN development And would you also explain a little bit about what it is and what it does
A: The development period took about a year and a half from 2007 to 2008. The product we developed is basically a remote control unit that is able to inspect and read the gauge on electric meters from a distance. It has basically been developed based on Zigbee Network Solutions applying algorithms like self-configuring, self-healing and mess-avoidance technology. It is easily used on gadgets at home and at the office for the purpose of remote-controlling electric meters, gas meters and water meters.
The differentiation between previous systems and ZBWSN is, first of all, the remote control system itself. As ZBWSN provides totally wireless environments with complete remote control systems, it gives such a following convenient situation. The meter man does not need to go to the home or office to check out the numbers of gas meters anymore. All he has to do is control the ZBWSN in the control center at each sector to gather the necessary data and calculate them. This process, of course, includes automatic calculation of fees assessed.
Q: What could be the remaining technical problems you need to deal with
A: I don't actually think it is a technical problem but recommending the distance from one ZBWSN to another could bring a moment to concern. The recommending distance is about 200m so far and we felt that it needs to be longer. So, we are currently trying to increase its distance by upgrading a repeater which plays an important role to increase the distance from one to another.
The solar cell, which is used for the battery on the repeater, creates a problem with battery charging especially in the winter time and rainy season because of lack of solar exposure. We are therefore thinking to deal with this problem so that it always fully charges the ZBWSN battery.
Q: Would you briefly tell us about your future plans
A: We are in the middle of development for the wireless water pressure control system, which especially deals with the leaking rate of water supply. In fact, water leaking usually happens in large water pipes. So, we expect this product will be taking an important role in preventing such leakages. The early model systems installed at Yeosu in Jeolla province, have been running properly since last year, and a second model will also be installed in Incheon Metropolitan City as a part of supplying projects to the entire domestic market. We have also shown it to Chinese buyers at Shanghai and Changsha, China on Jan. 2009 and we expect that we will be able to visualize exports to the Chinese market in the near future.