24 hours a day, seven days a week, Unitywater’s priority is providing its customers with a high-quality, safe and reliable water and sewerage service that is economically and environmentally sustainable.
This requires significant proactive and preemptive operational planning, asset readiness and customer service initiatives, which are all dependent on making sense of huge amounts of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) data for informed decision-making.
Having the right data, which can identify areas of underspending and overspending, is crucial to make sure that the service is kept affordable for customers. Not only that, but also having the right data and analytics in place can ensure the efficient use of resources, whether that means a reduction in cost or an increase to asset life.
When decision-makers at Unitywater can spend less time collecting and analysing data, and more time constructing solutions and strategies based on its findings, the result is speedier, more optimised outcomes for both the company and the customers it serves.
HCL Technologies, a leading global technology company, helps enterprises like Unitywater reimagine their businesses for the digital age. Through its worldwide network of research and development facilities and co-innovation labs, global delivery capabilities and over 197,000 ‘ideapreneurs’ across 52 countries, HCL Tech delivers holistic services across the industry, including to 250 of the Fortune 500 companies and 650 of the Forbes Global 2,000 companies.
To help Unitywater build a reliable customer experience by not affecting the cost to the business as well as end customers, HCL Tech and its new age digital platform, Simplified Water Analytics (SIWA) are helping the company combine the power of data with smart analytics, to recognise and solve the problem before customers are even aware it exists.
This new age IT/OT convergence digital platform, SIWA, will help water utilities gather insights to increase network reliability, improve the quality of customer services and make maintenance and expenditure more efficient.
The phased roll-out program, which uses HCL Technologies’ SIWA, is proving the value of integrated systems, which allows a utility to see all of its data in one place in a dynamic fashion.
SIWA collates multiple data streams into a ‘data lake’ which can convert information into dynamic dashboards, creating an intelligent ecosystem and informed decision-making to better serve communities. The platform uses data from asset management systems, GIS, smart meters, SCADA, social media, IoT networks, ERP and the utility’s customer information system.
Unitywater’s Executive Manager of Customer and Community, Katherine Gee, said that the synthesis of information from these systems has allowed for a more holistic and comprehensive view of the water network.
“Control rooms might have three monitors, and each of them have two different applications showing what they’re up to,” Ms Gee said.
“And what this has done is put it all on one page, so it’s actually got a people experience benefit to it.
“The sooner you can get that information through to your people and unlock the action that’s needed, the quicker your response time to customers.
“You’ll ultimately get a better customer experience by putting everything in one place.”
In addition to refining the level of customer service, the system can deliver resource and cost-saving benefits.
Data can be used to pre-empt leaks or maintenance issues, which can not only help to inform customers more quickly, but also to deliver maintenance to the area before further issues arise.
It also has the ability to deliver automated water balances and recognise where cost savings can be made without compromising water services.
The system capabilities can result in:
- Reduced likelihood of bill shock for customers
- Reduced number of emergencies call-outs and downtime of critical assets
- Optimised operations to reduce energy and maintenance costs
- Targeted interventions for faulty digital meters
- Value-added digital services available for bulk customers
With technical expertise from HCL Technologies, Unitywater has deployed the platform to help manage data from digital smart meters as part of its Digital Neighbourhood pilot program.
The first phase of the project acted as proof of value for using multiple data pipelines and OT technology to manage potential outages, as well as consolidating data from the meters, which came from multiple different suppliers to determine network water loss.
Anurag Vijaywat, Sales Director for Energy and Utilities at HCL Technologies, said the platform is being built through collaboration with Unitywater to improve efficiency with the power of data.
He said the key is, “If you measure well, you treasure well, and it’s all about data”.
“That’s the objective of the platform SIWA — to help serve communities better, to reduce downtime and improve the lifespan of assets, a true digital utility.”