Unearthing water sector innovation solutions through collaboration: Crystal low res

21 Feb 2019

Unearthing water sector innovation solutions through collaboration

  • Siemens and +ADD Strategy lead ground-breaking innovation programme to bring water sector together
  • Collaborative thinking to identify priority challenges
  • Co-investment for innovation-led projects to develop effective solutions and new answers
  • Water quality is the first topic selected for the innovation challenge

Against a backdrop where the scale of interest in water network intelligence is at an unprecedented level driven by sector demands for increased efficiencies and a desire for improved customer service, Siemens has joined forces with specialist innovation partner +ADD Strategy to kick start a two-year programme of collaboration and innovation to try to solve some of the key challenges the water industry is facing.

Using a workshop process, and involving a number of key stakeholders across the water sector supply chain including six water utilities, the programme aims to establish a range of ‘intelligence as a service’ (IAAS) projects and collaborations in the UK utilities space with a focus on clean and waste water management.

The outputs from seven planned workshops will be the collaborative development and prioritisation of themes and discrete project ideas, using innovation to overcome the key critical challenges that need fixing.

The first workshop of 2019 took place in Manchester and explored the issue of water quality. Via a series of collaborative sessions, the stakeholder group delved into a number of issues related to the topic of water quality intelligence. 

They included how to make the business case for greater levels of water quality intelligence across the network; examining the current status of technology functionality to support future aims and objectives, and identifying the key factors currently constraining the adoption of water quality intelligence system technology.

From the wide-ranging number of challenge themes, the workshop participants focussed on defining and selecting the top nine challenge priorities.  They will form the foundation of future collaborative work, and the development of discrete innovation-led projects involving technology vendors, utilities and other relevant stakeholders.

The nine challenge priorities identified were:

  • How will companies and regulators collaborate and overcome resistance to change?
  • Overcoming the challenge of data sharing and the controlled collaborative sharing of data
  • Water quality and sensor data visibility and accessibility inside a water company
  • The total cost of broader turbidity monitoring
  • Clarity around the cost of maintenance scheduling and establishing better costing models
  • Overcoming the reluctance of water companies and vendors to collaborate on developments
  • Known and unknown data sources and the move to unlock the value of data
  • New business models and new service models
  • The better deployment of sensor planning tools

The nine priorities will be further assessed and those considered of the highest importance taken forward as innovation-led projects to develop appropriate and effective solutions.

Adam Cartwright, Head of Innovation, Siemens UK & Ireland, is leading the collaboration initiative on behalf of Siemens. 

He comments: “The water sector is a prime example of an industry facing a number of key challenges, ranging from operational efficiencies, its relationship with regulators and the deployment of technologies to drive digital transformation.

“Successfully overcoming some of the priority challenges defined by the sector - especially around water quality - requires a collaborative approach as no single stakeholder has all the answers.  Working with +ADD Strategy has allowed Siemens to create a proactive forum to bring together those who have a key interest in solving the challenges the sector faces, so we can co-invest time, resources, thinking and technology to find the solutions the sector requires.

“The possibility through collaboration of potentially establishing new business models, examining the opportunity of doing things in a different way and encouraging those with a vested interest to come together to find technology-led solutions, is an exciting prospect, and Siemens is delighted to be supporting a programme which has innovation at its heart.”

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