Texas city hires Northrop Grumman for wireless infrastructure

City employees in Corpus Christi, Texas, no longer will have to go door to door each month to read water meters by hand, thanks to a new automated meter-reading system.

Northrop Grumman Corp. won a $23 million contract with Corpus Christi to install a citywide broadband wireless infrastructure and an automated meter-reading system, designed to cover the city for government and public access.

Northrop Grumman's Information Technology division of McLean, Va., will design and install a system that will give Corpus Christi public safety officials access to emergency management services, including sending and receiving live video in the field.

One of the first applications of the new system will be to support the automated water meter-reading system, which collects data daily over the wireless network and provides it to the city's customer information and billing system.

The automated system removes the need for field personnel to read each individual meter once a month. The efficiency gained by the new system should make for significant savings to the city, Northrop Grumman said in a statement.

As part of the project, Northrop Grumman will exchange about half the city's 150,000 water and gas meters for automated meters and retrofit the remaining ones with the automated technology.

Northrop Grumman also will conduct a network and information technology study for the city to ensure its ability to support the wireless broadband system and future applications.

Ethan Butterfield is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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