Shanghai Water Authority prevents flooding with Echelon's technology

Remote monitoring and operation of flood gates allows quick response to rising waters, avoiding damage downriver...

SAN JOSE, CA, April 5, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Echelon Corp., a pioneer in control networking, and the world's leading supplier of technology for the widely-used LonWorks® control networking platform, today announced that the Shanghai Water Authority is using Echelon's technology to prevent flooding in the Taihu River Valley in the Shanghai region, an area covering almost 37,000 square kilometers and home to over 30 million people.

The Chinese Ministry of Water Resources initiated a $9.8 billion (USD) plan in 2002 aimed at raising the standards of anti-flood projects to shield the area's largest and most important cities and industrial centers and help protect the region from a recurrence of the flooding disasters of 1991 and 1999. Natural disasters, including flooding, cost China over $22 billion (USD) in 2003 alone. The Shanghai project is a two-phase project that is designed to regulate water flow in the region to reduce flooding and provide a platform for water quality monitoring, and is being reviewed to potentially become the basis for a national water resource management model.

"It is essential that we implement flood control and water management measures in China and especially in the region surrounding Shanghai," said Mr. Chen Mei Fa, Chief Engineer, Shanghai Water Authority. "A LonWorks based system using Echelon's control networking products was chosen because the critical nature of the project required absolute reliability, extreme flexibility and expandability as conditions and demands change, and an ability to act upon information in real-time with utter confidence."

The LonWorks based flood control system provides water level data in real-time, enabling the water authority to see conditions across the entire region as they develop and make decisions to protect areas downstream from flooding or overflow. The system optimizes operations with simultaneous control of all flood gates and pump stations in the region, and provides a platform to cost-effectively modify or expand the system in the future. Should water levels reach flood stages, notification is sent to the central control office, allowing officials to take immediate action to remotely close the flood gates. Each station is also fitted with a video camera to provide visual confirmation of conditions, further reducing costs and the amount of staff required to oversee operations.

Shanghai Water Authority turned to Shanghai Gao Cheng Technology Co. Ltd., a LonWorks systems integrator specializing in water resource management and technologies, to implement the flood control system. The solution uses products with embedded Echelon control networking technology as well as IP integration products supplied by Echelon.

"The reliability and advanced web features of Echelon's Internet Servers are essential to the success of this application," said Mr. Fan Yong Shen, Shanghai Gao Cheng Technology Co. "The ability to combine information networks with control networks is the essential capability provided by Echelon's products -- enabling a very low cost and effective means of gathering data from multiple, remote locations and transmitting this data over the Internet to make critical, potentially life saving decisions."

"We are excited by the potential economic and human benefits of the Water Authority's application of our technology," said Lawrence Chan, Echelon's vice president of Asia Pacific and Japan. "This project serves as another example of the broad range of important applications for Echelon products and as a model for what can be done throughout China to help reduce the effects of flood disasters. If the model is successfully replicated, we believe that such projects represent a significant revenue opportunity in China."

A system using similar Echelon products is currently being used to increase safety in coal mines in the Shanxi region of China. The system remotely monitors and controls ventilation systems in the mines to reduce dangerous gas levels and help decrease the number and frequency of mining accidents in China.

The Taihu River Valley is comprised of over 200 rivers and the Lake Tai basin, the third largest freshwater lake in China and the central source of drinking water for the city of Shanghai. As one of the richest agricultural regions in China, it is responsible for producing the majority of the food supply for the area's expanding population. Prone to flooding for hundreds of years, the region required better protection against seasonal rising water levels. With over 2,000 flood gates in the Shanghai area alone, efficiently monitoring and coordinating control of all points proved a challenge. Flood gates were previously opened or closed by hand, making flood control difficult.

Echelon Corp. (www.echelon.com) is a pioneer and world leader in control networking -- networks that connect machines and other electronic devices -- for the purpose of sensing, monitoring and controlling the world around us. Echelon's component and system-level hardware and software products are used by OEMs, VARs, system integrators, utilities -- and virtually every class of institution -- to design, build, deploy and/or operate robust, scaleable, standards-based control networks and devices. Echelon technology can be found in thermostats, light switches and controllers, electricity meters, appliances, heating and air-conditioning systems, traffic signals, trains, aircraft, factories, and buildings -- in more than 50 million "smart" devices made by thousands of manufacturers.

Echelon is also the creator of the LonWorks platform, an extremely robust, flexible, and expandable standards-based control networking platform upon which manufacturers can build products and applications with unparalleled reliability, security, operational integrity, flexibility, and bottom-line value. The worldwide adoption of the platform prompted the formation of LonMark International, an independent trade organization that certifies LonWorks based products against an interoperability specification that allows devices from differing manufacturers to work together; educates the market about the value of device interoperability and open control networks; and creates awareness programs for potential end-users, OEM manufacturers, and integrators of LonMark certified products and LonMark systems. For planners, system architects, or OEM designers of control network products and families there is no better choice than Echelon.

Echelon is based in San Jose, California, with international offices in China, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

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