Nebula Meter
The Meter Of The Future

The Idea

Like a lot of innovative solutions, the idea for the Nebula Meter started many years ago, about 15 years ago, and took a lot of twists and turns to get to today.

Ron Natinsky, then a Dallas City Councilmember, was sitting through a water department briefing. It was during that briefing that he realized that there had to be a better way of reading the city's water meters. The picture of a meter reader walking to each home and physically reading the meter seems antiquated. Further, the reading was dependent on the meter reader writing down the correct reading. Not only that, but he  also realized that there was no data at all collected except the current meter reading. There was no other data collected that could provide a set of metrics to better manage the water department. 

All this reflected on the fact that as an Enterprise Department of the city, what it charged the customers for water was a direct reflection of the cost doing business. If the cost of doing business could be better controlled then the cost of water to the customers could be lower. As a follow-up he had a meeting with the Department Director and soon learned that there was no monitoring of pressure or pressure at the meter.  Nor was there a way to turn off or on the meter without a costly trip by a service technician. He later leaned that there were a large number of meters that were changed out because of mechanical issues or just plain old age.

All of this swirled in his head with the only idea that there had to be a better way.
He dreamed of a meter that could communicate over the mobile spectrum, that could measure water temperature and pressure, that had a valve to turn the water on or off, and had a totally different business model so the cities did not have to invest large sums of capex into a new system.

As a serial entrepreneur and inventor the idea kept percolating in his head. His knowledge of electronics and experience in the beginnings of the internet helped keep the idea moving forward. But there were roadblocks. There were issue like bandwidth, cost of mobile cellular communications and even battery life.

While busy with many other business ideas after he left public service he kept the idea on the back burner. Finally several of the missing links began to fall into place with the big breakthrough being the announcement of IoT. First NB and then M1 were announced. As is with many such announcements, it took a number of years for IoT to become a reality. Finally in 2018 the beginning of NB IoT was real. This enabled the dream device to move to first prototype and then pre-production units.

The dream of 2005 became a reality almost 15 years later, the Nebula Meter.