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Second Sight Completes Wireless Monitoring Project for the VA

| Fred Deibel

Scope of Work

 The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) had been given a federal mandate to reduce energy consumption by roughly 25% over 5 years. This posed a problem for the VA, because the infrastructure needed to accurately measure power usage was nearly non-existent outside of traditional methods of billing. To target areas for reduction, the VA needed to implement accurate, reliable, and quantitative measurements of power usage on major campus locations. So, Veterans Affairs opened up bidding for a utility monitoring project for a nation-wide system, which was awarded to Schneider Electric.

Schneider Electric planned to install new power meters to measure power at buildings with 50,000 sqft or larger and/or high usage buildings. This plan included a communication network that would tie the meters together into a central server to collect data for analysis. This way, Schneider could effectively target power consumption and propose ways to cut that usage significantly.

In order to implement their monitoring solution and collect data, Schneider Electric proposed trenching and laying fiber optic cable between metered locations, which would then report data to a central hub server. However, the VA informed Schneider that with the existing pipes and underground utilities, laying fiber would be prohibitively expensive.Schneider turned to Second Sight Systems for a more flexible solution.


 Utilizing their expertise in wireless and radio technology, Second Sight Systems stepped in to implement a solution for meter measurement that did not rely on landline technology. Second Sight proposed the installation of a local area wireless network at each campus based on GE MDS iNET-II radios. SSS would also provide a  secure VPN back to an offsite server at Schneider Electric headquarters in St. Louis, MO.

The project began with Second Sight installing pilot installation programs at locations in California and  Ohio.    Upon the success of these pilots, Second Sight then installed a wireless network connecting buildings at 195 VA campuses. Schneider simultaneously installed meters at these buildings, connecting them through the Second Sight network.

 The Results

 Both Schneider Electric and the VA considered the monitoring project a success, baseline usage could be determined and power saving solutions were provided by Schneider resulting in power reductions at all the VA campuses and more accurate billing and measurement overall.

Additionally, the United States Navy, ramping up their own power-reduction efforts, had run into difficulties with data collection and digital network installation. Learning of the success of the VA installation as well as Second Sight’s unique position as an expert on wireless communications, Schneider Electric offered an additional contract to Second Sight to design, troubleshoot and install their monitoring network on multiple Navy bases across the globe. Second Sight Systems subsequently installed utility monitoring networks in American naval bases across the SE United States and in Italy, Guam, Greece, and Bahrain, Spain, Djibouti, and Guantanamo Bay.

About Us:

Second Sight Systems has been providing wireless communication and utility field services since 1999 and has engineers on staff with extensive experience with SCADA communications and telemetry applications for remote monitoring.  Our track record of completing projects on schedule and at the highest service level can’t be matched.


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