The IWN Flagship Program represents an opportunity for Victorian water corporations to transition into ‘digital utilities’ of the future. This transition is necessary because technology continues to emerge and accelerate, operational complexity is increasing and systems are becoming more inter-reliant every day.
Therefore, this program focuses on trialling new and emerging technologies designed to better manage and integrate data, so as to assist water corporations in making sensible and cost effective asset investment and business decisions. IWN invited service providers to express interest in trialling their data management /operating systems technology at select water corporations, with the intended aim of improving customer service, business processes, asset management and field operations. Following the initial Expression of Interest process and subsequent Request for Proposal, three shortlisted companies with different software solutions were chosen to conduct trials within Victorian water corporations in 2017. These trials are detailed below. The leader of the Flagship Program is Brett Millington from Western Water.
Trial 1 - Veolia / IBM - Waternamics software
Waternamics is a data management platform that combines Veolia’s international experience in water services and IBM’s Integrated Operations and Analytics platform.
Waternamics’ base platform displays integrated data and automates standard operating procedures. Additional modules offer specialised functions to assist specific operations, i.e. management of drinking water, wastewater, energy, customer service and work orders.
Description of trial
Western Water committed to a full trial of the software from September 2017 to June 2018. Project ‘Pinnacle’ will link Waternamics to five existing management systems within Western Water, plus new GPS devices to connect their vehicle fleet and stationary assets.
An outcome of the Western Water trial will be a ‘sandbox’ experiential environment, which will enable other water corporations to test the visualisation and analytical power of Waternamics.
IWN is negotiating a five-year Software as a Service (SaaS) licensing agreement with IBM to extend the one-year Waternamics trial to all IWN members.
Current status of project
Work on project ‘Pinnacle’ by the Western Water team in conjunction with Veolia and IBM continues towards the ’go live’ date for full implementation. The User Acceptance Testing is entering its second round with a final load of data expected in coming weeks, which will result in a direct link to five existing systems within Western Water as part of this trial. A focus on capturing the internal costs (and benefits) to Western Water is being applied to ensure these can be considered in any business case review. An additional two use cases to the three provided in the initial business case are also now being pursued. With Western Water now also having secured GPS devices for its fleet and assets, this use case has also begun pre-implementation work. The central ‘sandbox environment’ (which allows other corporations to experience the platform) will be available upon completion of the Western Water build.
Trial 2 - AECOM - iᵌ Software
iᵌ by AECOM is a cloud-based, big data management system that can be tailored to integrate with IWN members’ existing asset management systems. This trial will assess whether iᵌ is suitable for adoption by Victorian water corporations to help them become more efficient digital utilities.
Description of trial
With Westernport Water and Gippsland Water observing, and Deakin University, Schneider Electrics and SEAMS UK advising, an iᵌ trial is being designed for Barwon Water (BW) in three stages:
1. Concept design, including identification of a pilot site (BW), business drivers, gaps, opportunities and KPIs, completed July 2017
2. Detailed design and preparation of two parallel projects: an Enterprise Decision Analytics platform to improve BW’s management of water and sewer mains and pumping stations, and predictive analytics on telemetry data to improve pump performance and efficiency, by September 2017
3. Implementation, including technical documentation, adjustments to equipment, software and algorithms, output dashboards and report generation, from October 2017 to March 2018.
Current status of trial
The concept design of potential solutions for Barwon Water, with a focus on two projects, has been finalised and presented. Feedback is now being provided to AECOM from Barwon on the proposals. The business case (to be presented to the IWN Executive) will be completed following further consultation with the observing parties of Gippsland Water and Westernport Water.
Trial 3 - Green Technology Services – OSIsoft PI Software
Green Technology Services (GTS) has a cloud-based data management solution comprising OSIsoft PI hosted on Microsoft Azure and ESRI ArcGIS for data display. The GTS system is being piloted at Lower Murray and East Gippsland Water from September 2017 until April 2018.
Description of trial
The pilot will demonstrate aggregation and analysis of data from distributed assets, such as smart meters and sensors, with web-based visualisation of this data.
OSIsoft PI organises, analyses and displays data collected from digitally networked sensors. PI can be hosted in the cloud or on site. PI’s cloud-based features may streamline industry reporting to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) against KPIs.
ArcGIS analyses and displays location-based data from diverse sources, and enables insights to be shared with others via apps, maps and reports.
GTS completed the design and build phase of the project in August 2017, with monitoring and reporting continuing until April 2018.
The success of the pilot project will determine whether water corporations should adopt OSIsoft PI as a business-as-usual tool to become more efficient digital utilities.
Current status of project
GTS have finalised the data inputs, analytics and visualisations for Lower Murray Water and East Gippsland Water and are now in a largely maintenance and refinement stage. The ESRI components of the demonstration are currently being loaded to the cloud. Continuing until April 2018, GTS will continue to provide guidance to the two corporations on their ongoing use of the PI software and analytics display. The opportunity of using the cloud based elements of ‘PI’ for automating reporting on KPI’s associated with the Minister’s letter of expectations and other performance measures continues to be explored.