Open or closed protocol systems for heat networks, what is the difference and what's best for you and your residents?
If you have been or are involved in procuring a PAYG or smart metering system of a heat network you will have no doubt come across the terms “open protocol” and “open access” but what do they mean?
Set up costs
The first thing to say is that this is all about the ability to separate the capital cost of the metering equipment with the ongoing operational cost and the choice of billing and customer services provider.
To explain this clearly it is probably a good idea to start with identifying the individual pieces of the chain involved:
The first two being capital items and the last three being OPEX.
For many years if you purchased a PAYG system then you only had one choice, the hardware vendor would do everything for the life of the metering system.
However as the industry grows things are changing and you may want to mix and match your hardware with your billing and CRM provider. This is where open access comes in.
Open access means the delivery of chain one to five being split between chain four, the data centre and chain five, the Billing and CRM. The Data Centre provides an open access that allows more the one billing and CRM system to be used.
But, there’s more to it
The metering company will still need to be paid to provide the communications (chain three) and the Data Centre (chain four) but there will be a choice of provider for billing and CRM. Indeed some clients with larger portfolios may wish to take this in house.
So what is open protocol then? Well this would put a breakpoint between chain two and three. This however would require a high degree of technical and operational expertise and is not something the a billing or CRM provider would normally take on.
- Open access allows the ability for heat networks to change billing provider
- Open access for heat networks means splitting the original billing supply chain method
Vocabulary for open access heat networks
What is open access?
Open access noun
‘Availability to all’
AKA, open sesame!
What is open protocol?
Open protocol allows suppliers’ equipment to operate without the need for a proprietary interface or gateway. Generally
What is closed protocol?
On heat networks refers to the installation of equipment that can be operated by different suppliers. This may be through a
What are the benefits of open access?
What should I be asking my providers when installing PAYG or smart metering equipment to a heat