Meet the Program Lead: Brock Tunnicliffe from Edge Technologies

Brock Tunnifclife is the new Program Lead for the Intelligent Water Network’s Edge Technologies program, so we sent him a few questions in order to get to know what makes the man tick.

Can you give us a bit of your personal background?

From a young age I had a passion for technology and PC gaming and I would pull apart electronics and computers from repurposing whenever I could.

I joined City West Water in February 2010 and a month later I was married to my long-time partner Jacinta. In 2014 I had my first child, a son named Seth who was named after my online gaming name Setheus. In 2017 I had my second child, a daughter named Khaleesi (yes, after Game of Thrones!) I also have 2 dogs and 2 cats so my house is very full!

Sometime after Seth was born I started a YouTube channel and was streaming on Twitch.TV, so I taught myself how to use broadcasting tools and work with green screens. After that, I taught myself how to use Photoshop by photo-shopping my son into funny movie scenes, which was a fun way of upskilling.  

In January 2016 I repurposed my lounge room into a room scale VR lab and started to play around with a game engine called Unity 3D to explore the real world applications of VR. Since then, the lab has grown and I now have a 3D printer, drone, 3D scanners and a bunch of other gadgets in the mix.

And what is your professional background?

I joined City West Water in February 2010 as part of a traineeship program called the TODP (Technical Officer Development Program).

During the three years spent in the program, I worked across land development, standards and design, project delivery, alternative water operations, asset performance and network operations.

After completing the TODP in 2014, I took up a role in property development where I assessed complex plumbing jobs and assessed build over easement development applications.

In November 2015 I moved to City West Water’s Water Innovations department in the major projects team as a customer compliance officer working with alternative water projects (stormwater, recycled water), managing supply agreements and environmental improvement plans and delivering OHS training to recycled water customers.

In 2016 I was awarded a small amount of funding for a VR project as a result from an innovation fund competition run internally at CWW. At the time I had developed some prototypes around engineering design review, training and concept planning.

In 2017 I was coordinator of Community and Environment for City West Water’s Young Water Professionals committee.

In July 2018 I commenced a role in CWW’s Strategic Projects team to look at trials and partnership projects around robotics, automation and emerging technologies.

In September 2018 I submitted several submissions into CWW’s “Shark Tank” competition where I pitched projects around machine learning, robotics, 3D scanning, VR & AR. Five of the project submissions won funding to pursue further.

Earlier this year I completed a VR training piece (Virtual Asset Tour) which was used for our operation control center inductions.

Some projects I am currently working on or have looked at recently;

·       Technology scan for in-situ condition monitoring sensor technology for water retic (in progress)

·       VR Chemical Delivery procedure (in progress)

·       VR Induction for our maintenance contractors (in progress)

·       VR Stormwater education - community engagement. (in progress)

·       AR - underground asset visualisation (in progress)

·       Nautilus System - Inline leak detection device (on hold)

·       Rezatec/Utilis Trial (on hold)

·       3D scanning (complete)

·       VUT Polytechnic partnership projects - robotics design, VR & AR water cycle education. (commencing soon)

·       Robotic Balance Tank cleaning (proposed)

·       Submersible ROV for tank condition assessment (proposed)

·       Machine Learning - CCTV analysis for Cracks, Tree Roots and Voids. (Completed proof of concept, no current activity).


What inspired you to want to become the program lead?

Two of my colleagues Adrian Flather (IWN Champion) and Rhiannon Hildebrand-Wise had mentioned the Edge Technologies Program lead position to me saying it sounded very similar to what I have been doing in my current role. Looking into it, I felt that the Edge Technologies program would be a perfect fit for me as there appeared to be a lot of synchronicity between what I do and what the Edge Technologies program offers.

What IWN project interests you the most?

I am particularly interested in anything that improves learning and visualisation (VR & AR) but also equally keen on a number of other IWN projects utilising robotics, machine learning and any other new and exciting technologies.

What are you hoping to get out of your new role?

Personally I hope to build my own skills and capability through knowledge sharing with other members of the IWN, whilst building a network of equally enthusiastic individuals who are hoping to change the world with technology.

And if anything, what do you want to give back to IWN?

I hope that I can provide value to other members of the IWN through my own experiences. I look forward to trialling new technologies and filter the findings back to the IWN and the wider water industry.