Water companies develop joint data platform
Published 20 April 2020
Danish water companies collect and use huge volumes of data as part of their daily operations involving water supply, wastewater treatment and climate adaptation, and the volume of this data will see explosive growth in future. One of the biggest challenges for the water companies, however, is that the data is spread across various data islands, which makes it difficult to use the data effectively.
Two water companies – Aarhus Vand and VandCenter Syd – have set themselves the task of solving this problem in collaboration with the software company Systematic, and the work is already well under way. The three parties have just concluded a pilot project in which they have looked at how the water companies can join forces on establishing a data platform while at the same time keeping costs and raw data separate where necessary. The next step is to build a strong foundation with joint, documented standards and methods, so that future projects on the platform are run uniformly and efficiently.
Digitalisation paving the way for the development of new solutions
At VandCenter Syd in Odense on Funen, Anders Hansen, head of IT and digitalisation, is looking forward to water companies being able to work actively with data to a much greater extent in order to streamline further:
“The challenges faced by water companies across Denmark include increasing amounts of rain, groundwater pollution and working with the green transition. These are all areas where a joint data platform can play a decisive role and contribute to joint solutions. It will also enable us to create new services and solutions for our customers,” says Anders Hansen.
Jesper Kjelds, CDIO at Aarhus Vand in Jutland, also sees huge potential in making data available and sharable via the platform, which has been named OneWater – Water Informatics Platform.
“We’re continuously working to streamline our processes, and one of the keys to this is increased digitalisation. A joint data platform gives us the opportunity to easily access, share and process data, which can provide us with a data-based decision-making platform for e.g. servicing, maintaining and replacing our facilities. This will help us to cut costs and increase productivity,” he says.
Shared and open data creates value for more players
Cooperating with new parties is important for both Aarhus Vand and VandCenter Syd. Finding solutions to complex challenges calls for more knowledge than the two companies currently have at their disposal. Therefore, the idea in the long term is to invite other water companies, private companies, universities and start-ups to come on board the OneWater platform. OneWater is based on open and standardised data, which allows the parties to share the solutions that are being developed with each other. The more data they have to work with, the better the solutions which can be developed for the benefit of both customers and the water sector in Denmark and abroad.
To understand and exploit the potential of digitalisation and using technologies such as emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is necessary to access the requisite experience, knowledge and inspiration. This is where Systematic comes in.
“When you start using data across the water companies, building joint solutions and taking advantage of big data for machine learning, artificial intelligence and everything else, then you are really getting closer towards running an efficient and reliable water and wastewater utility in Denmark. Systematic’s expertise lies, among other things, in collecting and collating data across systems and technologies and using this data to find solutions to complex problems, for example through machine learning and forecasts. We can help the water companies derive value from their data,” says Flemming Thomsen, Group Senior Vice President at Systematic.