Sydney Water’s Customer Hub has taken out a Global Water Award for 2019 Smart Water Project of the Year, following on from its achievement as the Australian 2019 Digital Utility of the Year – Water.

The Smart Water Project of the Year award recognised the project that most effectively harnessed digital solutions to achieve excellence in water or wastewater management in 2018.

The Customer Hub has changed the way Sydney Water works with its customers, enabling Sydney Water to be proactive in the way it communicates with customers and predictive in the way it manages its network.

The technology comprises a geo-spatial situational awareness tool (Spatial Hub), online customer portals, automated customer notification and feedback channels, and an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor pilot, simplifying Sydney Water’s complex water and wastewater networks, and making identifying and scheduling maintenance simple.

The Customer Hub was an in-house product, bringing together Sydney Water’s customer engagement expertise and service structures under a single point of leadership and making the most of its internal software development capabilities.

Spatial Hub reduced water outages by around 100,000 properties in 2018, shrinking the number of customers affected by service interruptions by 25-30 per cent annually. By reducing negative customer experiences and service impact, Spatial Hub has already saved Sydney Water over $800,000 in customer rebates.

Sydney Water wins Global Water AwardAdditional web channels allow customers to report leaks, view current water outages and register to receive notifications online. Over 20,000 leaks have been reported this way.

Customer Hub has piloted IoT sensors to better understand network performance and identify problems before they become customer issues. The pilot has already returned benefits, with 19 sewer blockages detected and rectified before reaching crisis point. This leading-edge technology will be continually improved to build its predictive capability and focus the Customer Hub on getting ahead of incidents.

Sian Leydon, General Manager, Customer Strategy and Regulation, accepted the award on Sydney Water’s behalf, saying, “At Sydney Water, we aim to deliver a positive experience not only for our customers but also for our community – every day, every time and for everyone. Since the start of our Customer Hub, customer experience has shifted from a Customer Advocacy Score of 21 to 56 on the Net Promoter Score scale.”

“This award recognises the hard work of our teams right across the business to put customers at the heart of our business.”

Established in 2006 by Global Water Intelligence, the Global Water Awards recognise the most important achievements in the international water industry within several categories, and reward those initiatives in the water, wastewater and desalination sectors that are moving the industry forward through improved operating performance, innovative technology adoption and sustainable financial models.

The 2019 Global Water Awards were presented at the Natural History Museum, London, on 9 April 2019, as part of the 2019 Global Water Summit.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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