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Radio Tele-switching had it's 29th birthday last week. The service has been live since April 1985 and I can't help but be amazed by it.

Simply put 7.5 million electricity meter's in the UK are remotely controlled by radio. The radio message is sent out by the BBC on a low frequency of Radio 4.

This week I attended the RTS (Radio Tele-Switching) User Group meeting which was set up to bring this technology into the modern age as essentially it hasn't change for such a long time.

For instance the kit which the system runs on is VMS, the machines (there are four of them) haven't fallen over for years, infact they have been sitting in a corner and pretty much ignored and forgotten about purely because they haven't complained.

So if it did break, what are we going to do then? So, it's time to upgrade the kit and the software and this is the next step. As for an alternative well we aren't going to replace RTS because it works and it's cheap. Think about it, what technology can you use today that can update 7.5 million users several times a day for less than £100,000 per year?

The most obvious draw back of RTS is that it can't send messages back which is the main reason it hasn't really taken off with any other industry other than electricty. However other countries in the developing world are starting to use RTS as a way to help them solve some of their energy problems.

So here's to RTS, a technology that has stood the test of time by keeping it simple.

Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2006 2:46 PM Main | Back to top


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