Powell man invents utility meter reading by flight

(WBIR-Powell) Meter readers are a common sight in many neighborhoods- but imagine them being thing of the past.

It's a possibility, thanks to East Tennessee company, Data Flyte, about to launch services that would read gas and water utilities from the air.

"The 'a-ha' moment was when we said 'there's got to be a better way to do this,'" said president and CEO Jack Dischner about current meter reading. "Too many man hours, too many miles, too much work, too much effort to do this."

He said his patented process to use an airplane to collect meter data wirelessly would come into play.

"Five people, eight days to collect all the data. We can do the same thing in six hours," he added.

The service from Data Flyte hooks meters with transmitters to antennae, collecting information on how much a household uses water or gas. That data is sent to the utility, then they bill the customer.

"Contacted a gentleman in Oak Ridge who put us in the right direction as far as the antennae and antennae technology," said Dischner. "From there, it's a simple, straightforward matter."

Several companies across the area have expressed interested in the project.

"Like Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina. We're getting the same reaction from everybody -- they think it's great," he added.

The company plans to launch in January 2014.


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