A changing perception of technology costs
For Maynilad Water Services, the digital journey is not entirely new.
The organisation began its digital transformation as far back as 2012.
Providing water and wastewater services to 17 cities and municipalities that comprise the West Zone of metropolitan Manila, the water utility changed its perspective on investment into digital solutions.
"Prior to the transformation it was a very traditional and conservative company,” said Dr Francisco Castillo, senior vice president and chief information officer at Maynilad Water Services.
“Technology was being seen as a cost, rather than a way to drive more efficiencies in the business. That eventually changed.”
Enabling quicker reactions from centralised data
In 2012, Maynilad became one of the first utilities in the Philippines to virtualise all of its servers. It started working on an Internet of Things (IoT) platform with a company called Calibr8 Systems.
Launching ‘FieldMous’ as the organisation’s “single source of truth”, it enabled Maynilad to access data for operation analysis, maintenance and customer service.
According to a video produced by Intel, it allowed the utility to “react fast to disturbances in the network”.
This included not only consumption but if an area experienced low water pressure, Maynilad was able to ramp up production from an alternative facility to service that area.
"We decided to standardise on our hardware, all Intel-based,” added Castillo.
“So when we retrofitted our old plants, which were all manually run, we were able to optimise operation, for example, a pumping station, reducing the electricity consumption considerably."
Between 2012 and 2019, it’s estimated that Maynilad achieved a 50 per cent increase in revenues and a 17 per cent decrease in non-revenue water.
IoT at the heart of the system
“Proactiveness is essential among providers of services, such as Maynilad,” said Isamu Shinozaki, chief architect of Calibr8 Systems. "The company was able to achieve this through its technology initiatives.”
At the heart of the system is an IoT data repository, allowing Maynilad to show real-time telemetry, plant and laboratory data across tens of thousands of field devices and equipment.
Shinozaki added: "Paired with advanced analytics and displays, Maynilad was able to address operational concerns, such as leaks and changes in water pressure in almost real-time."