Cost-efficient universal approach for remote meter reading using web services and computer vision

The Internet of Things is a great vision but also an important challenge for the current research. Through, the connection of many different devices there are outstanding benefits such as an increasing automation and intelligent energy management. Nevertheless, the integration of legacy devices into the Internet of Things is a significant issue. Legacy meters, e.g., cannot provide metering data automatically and the installation of modern smart meters is cost-intensive and thus often unprofitable.

An alternative approach is to extend legacy meters with an automatic meter reading system. Thus, they can be integrated into an intelligent system such as an efficient energy management. In this paper a robust and universal approach for automatic meter reading is proposed. The approach can be applied to water, gas, and electric meters and uses a Web service as standardized and open communication interface. The recognition rate of a prototype implementation is 98 % and the measurement duration is approx. 1.5 seconds. The entire system was implemented on a Raspberry Pi as a cost-efficient hardware platform.