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Yarra Valley Water has announced a new strategic partnership to harness the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) and help digitise its asset networks.

The strategic partnership with Sagemcom Australasia is designed to take full advantage of the IoT to help enhance customer experiences, provide early notification of network faults and develop improved asset management predictive models and investment strategies.

Sagemcom Australasia, part of French-owned Sagemcom Energy and Telecom, is a global leader in digital metering and energy solutions. The partnership will provide digital water meters and network sensors, as well as the Head End System and Meter Data Management software required to manage them.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, acknowledged the role that digital innovation can have in delivering enhanced and more affordable services for customers.

“While large-scale digital metering within the water sector is relatively new to Australia, it’s well-established throughout Europe, North America and Asia. We’re exploring how digital water meters and smarter networks can help conserve water and reduce customer bills, by improving the way we monitor water use and detecting water leaks earlier,” Mr McCafferty said.

Yarra Valley Water General Manager – Service Futures, Glenn Wilson, said the partnership is part of Yarra Valley Water’s longer term digital enablement agenda. 

“We chose Sagemcom as a strategic partner following a global tender process. We were particularly impressed with their experience and proven track record, as well as their focus on innovation throughout the entire value chain. This agreement includes supplying and implementing the advanced SICONIA TM software suite to support various IoT sensors, including digital meters, that will help us become a leading digital utility.

“Modern open standards communications protocols mean long IoT device lives are now possible without compromising on data security. Sagemcom’s approach to end-to-end encryption is a key attribute of their SICONIA TM solution,” Mr Wilson said.

Sagemcom Energy and Telecom CEO, Eric Rieul, said, “We are proud to partner with Yarra Valley Water and help them achieve their goals of reducing water use and improved management of their extensive asset networks. As a mission-driven company, we are committed to helping our partners move towards more environmentally friendly practices.

“Our global solutions will enable Yarra Valley Water to identify water wastage and improve customer satisfaction by enabling a far more personalised service offering. Sagemcom’s integrated water pressure sensor, which is built into their digital water meter, enables utilities to better understand network performance and identify areas of concern, pinpoint the location of faults, optimise pumping and the associated energy costs and emissions, and understand the impact of any outages,” Mr Rieul said.

Alongside this partnership with Yarra Valley Water, Sagemcom Australia is opening a Melbourne hub, which will provide regional support for its software and IoT solutions.

Yarra Valley Water plans to implement the SICONIA TM solution over the next 12 months, with a scheduled rollout of a digital water meters trial planned for 2024. If successful, Yarra Valley Water is planning a larger scale rollout of digital water meters across its entire service area this decade.

This work is in service of Yarra Valley Water’s ten-year strategy and its strategic goal to help communities thrive, by reducing water consumption and conserving precious water drinking water supply.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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