Expert view:  Crying over spills? Use data to save water

Water shortages impact every aspect of life; it is fundamental to not only human life, but also to the transportation and manufacturing processes that define our modern economies.

Health, commerce, the economy, education all rely on a clean and available water supply. Leaks, pollution, drought are the enemies of water. Over 2 billion people live without safe water at home.

The World Bank estimates that more than 126 million cubic meters of water lost to leaks and theft cost nearly $40 billion per year in waste and foregone revenues.

Water is life, in more ways than one. And the regulators are watching. In the UK, an environment watchdog said the performance of some utilities was “simply unacceptable,” and that England would run short of water within 25 years unless action is taken.

So, what can be done? It all boils down to data.

From leak detection, to incident management and maintenance, data collected from Internet of Things devices can be the catalyst in a utility’s effort to save water.

A highly efficient water utility that can report honestly and accurately on improvements in leakage, pollution control and environmental issues – with a customer centric approach – will demonstrate a clear leadership position.

This requires complex integration between detection and fix, and Software AG is ideally positioned to help, using our unique capabilities. Working with our partners at water utilities, we have formulated a platform for growth and are launching a water management solution.

Using this platform, utilities can:

Detect and report leaks: Using a variety of leading-edge, industry standard Internet of Things monitors and sensors, then analysing the data in real time, you will be alerted as to leakage severity and environmental impact (using geofencing and geospatial referencing).

Manage resources: Integration capabilities trigger activities within your own resource management/ project team planning/route management systems. They direct the right teams to triage in the field to achieve the most effective tasks in the most optimal time.

Handling incidents: A structured working practice definition onsite, via rugged mobile devices, ensures an incident in the field is governed from the moment the resources arrive through every decision process. This will ensure the best-practice approach is taken to the successful outcome of any episode.

Inform and report: Clear accountability, auditable data, straightforward and open reporting will be built into the next round of water resource management plans. This will ensure that utilities get a “fair shake” in the press when accidents do happen, as details of incident detection improvements, environmental considerations, leakage reduction, predictive “AI assisted” analysis of future state, can be delivered to customers for complete awareness of your activities.

Realise ongoing maintenance improvements: Our partners want to be able to analyse current network deployments, points of failure, maintenance reports and descriptive analysis in order to accurately target ongoing work efforts at the most effective parts of the complex network. By utilising our machine learning engine and artificial intelligence analytics tools, our solution ensures that the most cost-effective efforts are being made in a time-sensitive frame. This means utilities can make the very best decisions on the direction and prioritisation of highly skilled and expensive projects.

Here at Software AG we take water conservation and management seriously, and we are working toward a solution to help water utilities better manage their supply. This is digital automated water management and we call it the Cumulocity IoT Solution Accelerator for Water Management. The solution, created in partnership with telco Telstra, provides utilities with a quick way to gain insights from meter data to minimize costs involved with supplying water to customers.

We are excited to be helping create a solution that will address one of the greatest challenges of the next century – the management of our natural resources; first and foremost – water.

To start a conversation around how you can better harness the assets, data, people and processes in your company, please contact: Rik Gunderson, UK Utility Director. Email: [email protected]

This Expert View appears in the latest version of Flex here, or download a pdf of Flex Oct-Dec 2019 here