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Standing on the Shoulders of Technological Giants on Rathlin

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Rathlin Island is once again the scene of new technological advances, helping NI Water to continue delivering what matters for our customers.

NI Water has recently introduced its first Smart Metering pilot scheme, which allows 13 revenue meters on Rathlin Island to automatically report back to a base in mainland Northern Ireland, with the information being used to read customer meters and alert NI Water to any potential water leaks or tampering on the island.

The new wireless scheme will enable NI Water to lift the data remotely for the first time and deliver the best possible service to our customers on Rathlin – but this isn’t the first wireless technological development to have its roots on the island.

119 years ago, in July 1898, the Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi conducted his ground-breaking radio transmission experiments on Rathlin Island, using soundwaves to communicate with the shore. This was a major scientific development in the late 19th Century, a milestone on the road towards universal radio service.

Michael McGreevy, NI Water’s Metering Contracts and Regulation Manager, said: ‘‘The new Smart Metering pilot is a scheme that NI Water is very proud of, but we know we are following in the footsteps of scientific and engineering pioneers in doing so! Guglielmo Marconi was the key figure in establishing wireless telegraphy as a means of effective communication, a legacy that we all continue to benefit from almost 120 years later – and he did so right here on Rathlin Island, conducting his experiments on behalf of Lloyd’s of London. Today, with the beginning of the new Smart Metering scheme, NI Water is very proud to be adding to Rathlin’s reputation as a technological trailblazer, ensuring that the legacy left by Marconi is kept alive.

“It hasn’t always been easy to collect metering data from properties on Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island, due to the unpredictability of the weather and the cancellation of ferry services. This has meant that leaks and other water-related issues on Rathlin can sometimes go unreported for some time, with a knock-on effect on customers. This new technology will ensure we provide the best possible service for our customers on the island and save valuable time and public money.”

Dr Gary Curran, NI Water’s Head of Billing and Metering, said: ‘‘The Smart Metering scheme NI Water has deployed on Rathlin Island will be a great boost to NI Water staff as they go about their work – the project represents a huge step forward for NI Water as we continue to deliver what matters for our customers on Rathlin Island and elsewhere. It will also help us to conserve water, as we will be able to identify leaks on the system on Rathlin much quicker than before and thus work to have these repaired.

‘‘NI Water is excited about the possibilities of this project and will work to continue delivering the best possible service to our customers on Rathlin Island.’’

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