Npower is a part of the Innogy group, one of Europe’s leading electricity and gas businesses. Npower is one of Britain’s leading energy provider and part of the UK’s ‘Big 6,’ with just under 5 million residential and business accounts.
Npower came to ASL to talk about improving their connectivity. Calvin MacFarlane, Metering & Communications Technical Specialist at Npower, said that they have “a really good relationship with ASL if we are trying to solve a particular problem, we often go to ASL and ask for help”.
Npower had a large number of sites utilising a singular GSM network operator. These sites primary method of communication was CSD (Circuit Switched Data). Npower found they had limited connectivity as a result of having little to no coverage from the MNO (Mobile Network Operator) due to restricted coverage and environmental factors. This issue also affected Npower’s SF performance, a metric monitored by regulatory bodies.
Initially, Npower tried using SIMs from multiple MNOs. This worked for some sites but resulted in those working in the field requiring several different SIMs in order to find the network with the best coverage.
After speaking to ASL about the project, Npower was offered ASL’s network intelligent modem and roaming SIM. This enabled Npower to connect to any available UK network, providing them with the best connectivity wherever they went. ASL’s modem communicated via a private GPRS network. The modem utilised a bespoke telemetry protocol (ATP) which provided efficient connectivity between the modem and the hosted gateway. This ensured high availability, offered maximum uptime, reduced data usage and removed Npower’s reliance on the out-of-date CSD technology.
In addition, ASL supplied Npower, with a serial to USB adaptor (ASLH376). This allows Npower engineers to reconfigure on the existing modem to a roaming SIM, through a custom ASL application. This ensures they would have a quicker more advanced solution.
As a result of working with ASL, Npower’s customers benefited through improved quality of service. This can be seen through the reduction in the total number of engineer site visits and the fall in the total number of reported modem faults.
Plus it wasn’t just customers who saw the benefit. By implementing ASL’s cost-effective modem solution, Npower’s data overhead reduced as a direct consequence of the improved number of UK network options available on any given site.
ASL’s solution continues to bear fruit today. Since its first implementation, Npower’s portfolio has almost risen from 20,000 to 36,000. Despite this, the total number of reported faults has not increased, proof of the long-lasting viability of ASL’s implemented solution. Calvin MacFarlane explains that this “is a reflection on what we have done with ASL” and added that “if there is something we need going forward again, we would pick up the phone and contact ASL.”