TOYOKEIKI Co. Ltd. (Headquarters: Matsumoto, Nagano Pref., President: Yasuhide Tsuchida) and KDDI CORPORATION (Headquarters: Chiyoda, Tokyo, President: Takashi Tanaka) have agreed to jointly use Cellular LPWA (LTE-M), a new IoT telecommunications technology, to upgrade LP gas metering and other utilities services.
KDDI and TOYOKEIKI will work together to build a new platform for LP gas companies, providing a key element of future utilities infrastructure. The work will include development of smart gas meters and new utilities services.
Since TOYOKEIKI began offering its RINDOU System  centralized gas and water utilities monitoring scheme in 1987, it has accumulated abundant performance and operational data and know-how, much of it stemming from robust overseas orders. KDDI, for its part, has a track record of IoT/M2M business operations spanning more than 15 years, including IoT telecommunications, cloud computing and data analysis services.
By collaboratively applying their complementary assets, the two companies plan to build a new platform on the cloud that enables LP gas service providers to boost their efficiency and convenience while offering LP gas customers value-added services.
They also plan to develop "IoT-RINDOU" (IoT-R)  data transmission devices for LP gas meters that are compatible with the Cellular LPWA (LTE-M) platform characterized by low electric power consumption and extensive wireless connectivity ranges. The devices are expected to consume so little electricity that they will be able to perform two-way telecommunication for about 10 years on common batteries. They are also expected to be able to transmit metering data automatically from locations where conventional telecommunications service reception is spotty or out of reach.
By combining the new cloud platform and IoT-R devices, TOYOKEIKI plans to maximize the use of IoT and AI technologies to boost convenience for both LP gas utility companies and customers. Specifically, they hope to: 1) propose new rate menus that offer LP gas customers better deals, 2) promote prepaid services that help prevent delinquency, 3) provide more efficient gas cylinder distribution through data analysis and AI applications, 4) bring visibility to energy use through smartphone apps, 5) enable elder monitoring services through observation of gas usage patterns, and 6) standardize Web-based online receipt and payment services.
TOYOKEIKI will also upgrade its "MultiCenter" information clearing house, which receives nationwide water and gas utility meter readings and emergency notifications, to be compatible with IoT-R data.
In the future, KDDI intends to expand applications for the platform beyond gas and water utilities, potentially making it available to service providers in a wide range of social infrastructure domains.