Data Exchange FAQ

Use these frequently asked questions and answers to troubleshoot Data Exchange files.

Q: When exporting data from a CIS, does BEACON support tab-delimited files? Are other delimiters (spaces, semi-colons, etc.) supported?
A:  BEACON supports the following delimiters in order of precedence: commas, tabs, semicolons, colons, pipes, tildes. To ensure accurate data exchange, review the Exceptions Report created during the import process to troubleshoot and correct files before proceeding with the import.

Q: When exporting data from a CIS, what file extensions are supported by the BEACON Data Exchange process?
A
: Supported file extensions include: .csv, .txt, .dat and .a. Other formats that do not pass text formatting information in the file should also work.

Q: When importing Data Exchange files, the Exceptions Report lists Records with Errors and Records with Warnings. What is the difference between a Warning and an Error?
A: Errors are mistakes or exceptions that prevent a record from being imported. For example, duplicated Location/Service IDs, missing Endpoint IDs, mismatches between endpoints and meters, etc. Warnings alert you to changes that may or may not be intentional. For example, Account or Meter ID changes or a Location/Service ID, Location/Service IDs are already associated with another meter, etc.

Q: What are some of most common data exchange errors and how can they be avoided?
A: The most common issues are created by unexpected or unsupported entries. For example: BEACON expects entries under the Service Point Type column to be a “W” (for water), but sometimes “Service Point Type” is misinterpreted:

Service Point Type

Incorrect

Correct

Standard

W

H2O

W

Water

W

BEACON requires a unique ID for each meter, but Meter ID is sometimes misconstrued to mean Meter Model or Meter Manufacturer:

Meter ID

Incorrect

Correct

ORION

PYR37264738R

GALAXY

FT476654893R

Water

HA352677365R

Location ID is a unique identifier, typically a combination of numbers and letters, not other descriptions of a location or its function:

Location ID

Incorrect Correct
Owner-Occupied House PY56749932R
Commercial FT34678787R
Rentals (Other) HA35774689R

Register Unit Of Measure is another field that requires very specific formatting (all capital letters) and terms:

Register Unit of Measure

Incorrect

Correct

Gallons, gal, gallons

GAL

Gallons to Cubic Feet

GAL

Cubic-FT, cubic feet, ft3

CUBIC_FT

Acre Feet, Acre Foot

AF

m3, M3

CUBIC_METER

L, litres, litre

LITER

Q: Can I just export data from my CIS and leave the column heads (names) out of my CSV files?
A: No. You must include column names that exactly match the Data Exchange Specification.

Q: Our customers are located in countries that do not have ISO State codes. What should we enter under Billing_State and Location_State?
A: Leave those fields blank.

Q: I noticed that BEACON found the geo-coordinates (longitude and latitude) of some of our Service Locations/meters. Can I leave those fields blank and let BEACON do the work?
A: If you do not have that information, yes, you can let BEACON discover the longitude and latitude of a location/meter. Note, however, that those coordinates will be based on the Location Address information and will have street-level accuracy. If you already have coordinates stored in your CIS, we recommend using them. For best results, spell out city names.

Q: When swapping an existing encoder register with a new one, while retaining the ORION Cellular endpoint that is already in use, does the endpoint need to be reset and re-provisioned?
A: When attaching an active, provisioned ORION Cellular endpoint to a new encoder register, the endpoint automatically detects the new encoder register at the top of the next hour. Immediately upon detecting it, the endpoint sends a startup/meter message to BEACON. The endpoint will not need to be reset and will be re-provisioned during the next update.

Q: In our utility, when one customer moves out of a location and a new one moves in, we add a new extension to the existing Account ID. How should we handle updating BEACON?

A: BEACON requires each account in the system to have a unique Account ID along with a Service Agreement, a Service Start Date and–if applicable–a Service End Date. This means that if service is stopped at a given location, because for example a customer moved out, but then a new customer moves in and service is restarted, you must give the new customer a new, unique Account ID and Service Start Date. All of the other data associated with that particular location–its Service Point ID, Location ID, Meter ID, Endpoint Serial Number, address and Geolocation data remain unchanged.

To accommodate your Account ID schema–that is, the ID number is followed by an extension–you must provide BEACON with an Account ID that incorporates the extension. For example, 1234–001. If you already set up your system and omitted the account extension, you must fix the Account ID to ensure that customers who get EyeOnWater reports only have access to data that pertains to them and not the former tenant.

To fix the problem, create a Data Exchange file with Account IDs that include both the ID number and extension. In addition, provide a Service Agreement Start Date for the new customer and a Service Agreement End Date for the previous customer at that location. Providing a Service Stop Date is crucial if you want to allow your customer service representatives or previous customers to access their consumption information via BEACON or EyeOnWater.

Q: How can we fix compound meters that have been incorrectly modeled?

A: To properly model a compound meter, both its low and high encoder registers must have the same Meter ID. For example, if the low register has the Meter ID 12345 and the high register has a different ID, e.g., h12345, then follow the steps below to fix the problem:

    1. Unprovision the high register endpoint, i.e., h12345.
    2. Provide a Data Exchange file where the high register has the same Meter ID as the low and the register number of H (or register number 2). Leave the Endpoint SN unchanged.
    3. Once you import this Data Exchange file, the compound modelling issue will be corrected.

Q: What languages does the Data Exchange process support? Does the system understand unicode characters–é, ü, å, ø and so on?
A: BEACON user interface elements are in English. And yes, Data Exchange files support unicode.

Q: We accidentally uploaded a faulty Data Exchange file to BEACON. Is there a way to undo the data exchange?
A:
To undo a bad data exchange, simply correct any problems or errors in your Data Exchange file (see above for a list of common errors) and then bring the corrected Data Exchange file into BEACON.

Q: How long after provisioning does it take before read data is displayed in BEACON?
A: Once provisioned, it can take up to 24 hours for all of the associated endpoint data to update throughout BEACON.

Q: When importing a Data Exchange file, we received a message that said, “Selected Data Exchange import file does not upload.” What should we do?

A: Typically, Data Exchange files fail to upload for one of three reasons:

  • The file size exceeds the 60MB limit
  • You have multiple BEACON sessions running in your browser
  • You are using bookmarks to reach deep into BEACON.

To correct the problem:

  • If the size size is too large, break it into smaller segments.
  • If you have multiple browsers running or are using bookmarks:
  1. Log out of BEACON.
  2. Clear your browser cache.
  3. Close the browser.
  4. Reopen the browser.
  5. Log back into BEACON.
  6. Manually navigate to Assets>System Sync. Do not use bookmarks.
  7. Import the Data Exchange file.

Q: For ORION Cellular endpoints, can leaving the Endpoint_Install_Date field blank cause meter flow history to be hidden from view?

A: Yes. For ORION Cellular and ORION Cellular LTE endpoints, if you leave Endpoint_Install_Date field blank, BEACON will use the most recent date associated with the provisioned service point as the Endpoint_Install_Date. That is, the Endpoint_Install_Date will be set to the most recent of SA_Start_Date or Meter_Install_Date. This can cause flow data from before the Endpoint Install Date to be hidden from view.

Q: How can hidden flow history be restored?

A: For impacted endpoints, simply create a Data Exchange file, and set the Endpoint_Install_Date to the desired date. If that date is not known, enter an Endpoint_Install_Date that matches the Meter_Install_Date.

Q: Where in BEACON can I find the SA_Start_Date and Meter_Install_Date?

A: Both dates are displayed on the Monitor page card. Find the SA_Start_Date on the Location tab and Meter_Install_Date on the Meter tab. Both dates are also shown on the Assets>Data Diagnostics page for each service point.

Q: We swapped a meter on March 1 and are trying to export reads recorded by the previous meter between January 1 and February 28. The exported file, however, only contains one row of data for the new meter and no reads. How can we get reads from the previously installed meter at this location?


A: To get interval reads from previously installed meters at a given location, set the date range of the data export to include the third day that the new meter was installed at the location. In this case, set the export end date to March 3.

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