With multiple vendors popping up in the digital water market solutions space, It’s an exciting yet sometimes overwhelming time for the water industry. Here we pick out five digital innovations which are starting to make headway internationally…
Top water technology companies leading the way
Utilis: going sky high against leakage
Satellite technology company Utilis is making strong headway in the UK utility market. Represented by Suez Advanced Solutions, the company has conducted trials with utilities Yorkshire Water, Northumbrian Water and Affinity Water. It was also named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2018.
The process uses satellite imagery and advanced algorithmic analysis to track the spectral ‘signature’ of potable water in the ground before the leaks are displayed in GIS reports, including street locations.
Yorkshire Water has said the technology was able to detect underground water leaks from pipes within a 100m radius. To date, the satellite technology has so far identified 44 leaks in Halifax and Keighley and saved 333,000 litres of water a day.
Emagin: data driven modelling
Canadian start-up Emagin is making progress with its artificial intelligence (AI) solution for water utilities. In the UK, the company came out successfully from United Utilities’ (UU) Innovation Lab, which starts with 80 suppliers which are then whittled down to seven to conduct 10-week trials.
For the Emagine trial, a demonstration site was set up in the OIdham District Metered Zone, selected due to its “remote control capabilities and high degree of instrumentation at sites”.
After a 12-week programme, Emagin and UU estimated that they generated 22 percent in cost savings, giving a “payback period of five months”. Collecting data from sources including flowmeters and SCADA systems, the AI platform generated real-time pump schedules, using Machine Learning to help the utility adapt its operations to choose the lowest cost option.
“There’s a real movement in digital and start-up companies and we set up our Innovation Lab to crack the problem and lower barriers to get companies like EMAGIN to meet the right people within our business,” explained head of innovation at United Utilities, Kieran Brocklebank.
The company has multiple industry awards now under its belt: Market Strategy Award at the BlueTech Forum, one of Imagine H2O’s Top 10 global digital water companies, as well as the Innovate@IWS award hosted by Isle Utilities at the WFES event in Abu Dhabi.
Kando: giving wastewater an AI makeover
The clean, drinking water side of the business has been the primary target of many digital technologies, with its cousin – wastewater – slightly neglected from the digital buzz. Israeli company Kando is setting out to change that with its AI software solution for wastewater.
With not-to-be-missed bright, bold and pink branding, Kando is positioning itself in the smart city, wastewater pollution prevention space. The software is designed to “track and manage sewage throughout the entire city, anticipate pollution events and radically reduce costs”.
“Smart Units” are placed at strategic points in wastewater manholes, with antennas emitting a cellular signal, activating when a variation in PH level and pollution is sensed. The company says no power sources are needed.
Although Kando’s references predominantly lie in Israel, including the Haifa Municipality & Haifa Water Company (Mei-Carmel) and HA’Gihon Company, Kando says it is also conducting trials with Australian utility, UnityWater and EYDAP in Athens, Greece.
Grendel Games: harnessing ‘pester power’
One of the Holy Grails for water utilities is to have positive interactive with consumers. Usually, the two interactions between a consumer and utility include paying the bill or complaining; neither of which are positive experiences.
Dutch company Dutch Games has developed an app-based game called Water Battle for children which is directly impacted by their parents’ and community’s water behaviour.