What is AMR?

Although there are a variety of industry definitions, Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) generally is regarded as the reading of a utility meter by a means that does not require physical access or visual inspection of the meter. A typical AMR system has several main components: meter, meter interface unit (MIU), a communications network and host computer.

Normally, within an AMR system (see Figure 1), the meter data is passed from the meter to an MIU, which may be external to the meter or integrated within the body of the meter. In addition to the meter data, other pertinent information may be stored within the MIU, such as any tamper or alarm conditions. This device forms the interface between the meter and the communications network. Many communications networks have been used for AMR, including modulated radio frequencies (RF), telephone lines or GPRS mobile phone networks. Depending on the network used, information from the MIU may be retrieved and stored in intermediate nodes or delivered directly to the utility. In the case of an RF network this may be a hand-held receiver, a mobile unit, such as a van, or a node on a fixed network. BluTower products support all these data collection and transmission methods.


The transfer of the meter data from the network to the utility may be instantaneous or stored for later transmission to the utility host computer. Often, on a fixed network (see Figure 2), the data from the MIU is transmitted via a wide area network (WAN), fixed line telephone (PSTN) or mobile phone network (GPRS) back to the host computer. Once the data is resident within the utility or service provider, the meter and other retrieved information can then be shared with other points on the system, including a customer service representative's PC or the central billing computer.


BluTower offers combinations of data transmitters suitable for most utilities and sub-metering applications. These RF transmitters communicate data that can be captured by networks of BluTower’s 2-way DataStream Aggregators and Concentrators and then transmitted to host computers by telephone lines or a mobile phone network. Data can be captured from any of BluTower’s existing customer installations so it is easy and cost-effective to install transmitters, initially read by walk or drive-by and then convert to fixed network at a later date.

    Why Use Automatic Meter Reading?

    Radio Frequency (RF) Based AMR Systems

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