Posts filed under ‘Industry events’
This is the fifth post in the “CTO Smart Water Insights” by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
I didn’t get to beautiful Utrecht to give this talk on SWANonomics at SWAN 2012, as I had intended, although I did get a great substitute to stand in for me.
Rather than talk about TaKaDu, network monitoring, or any of our technology, I wanted to use our few years’ experience in this dynamic part of the water industry to shine a light on some of the more surprising economic aspects of the Smart Water Networks revolution. Data revolutions are funny that way. It’s not just the tired truism that adoption of any technology is an economic process; new data has a way of changing what you know about the real world and your existing processes, and creates real new opportunities to take action differently.
Here are some of the unexpected headlines:
- Good news: smart monitoring drives spending increase on field crews
- Accepting new values discovered to entrenched KPIs goes through the exact 5 stages of grief
- Better leakage reduction means less Ml/day repaired
- The cost of water not lost is just a small part of the value of water loss reduction
This is the fourth post in the “CTO Smart Water Insights” by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
I went to Water Loss 2012 in Manila to tell water utilities one simple thing: data already collected under accepted “best practices” is all they need for a dramatic improvement to water loss control. Of course, that’s part of what you get when you deploy TaKaDu, but I wanted to focus on something else.
There are various tools and methodologies out there to use network monitoring data, and they are far from having been created equal. Whilst the data from sensors and other sources does hold the key to water loss control, and the principles as sketched on a conference slide are simple enough, real-world conditions make data analysis the trickiest link in the active leakage control chain. Three murky clouds – typically glossed over in water loss presentations – help to muddy the waters:
- Data quality (the meter values could be wrong)
- Other network events (the event you found may not be a leak)
- Complex utility process (you think there may be a small leak somewhere – what to do now?)
In this presentation (and the more detailed paper), I revisited the “traditional” Active Leakage Control process, highlighting the role of data analysis (manual and automated), revolving around leakage analyst’s work on the 3 “S”es of data analysis Supermen: Sifting, Statistical estimation, and Special knowledge. By boosting this difficult stage, utilities report they achieved significant quantifiable savings throughout the ALC process.
To do this, I listed some guidelines for coping with the 3 big uncertainties of data, network events, and the utility process, starting with detailed knowledge and understanding of these factors, to be addressed by suitable processing. As with many data analytic challenges, these real-world data “technicalities” are, in fact, the main challenge for data-driven ALC.
If you’re a pessimist, my slides are mostly a long list of impediments to active leakage control. If you’re an optimist, they are a collection of opportunities to do it better. If you work at TaKaDu, these slides are just what we have been doing for the past few years, what we’re good at doing, and what we need to keep doing. Have a look also at some of the other great talks and papers from the conference, too.
This is the third post in the “CTO Smart Insights” series by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
The OECD and the European Commission held a fascinating workshop earlier this year in Copenhagen titled “The future of Eco-Innovation: The role of business models in green transformation”, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak there. A handful of representatives from some truly amazing companies were asked to help the workshop experts “showcase good practices of radical and systemic eco-innovations”. What a great validation for our belief in TaKaDu’s potential to transform the water industry!
It’s not an easy subject for idealists, policy-makers, academics, and people from industry – all present at the workshop – to discuss, though. Whatever their beliefs and private motivations, business leaders need to build viable businesses, where “green” technology can triumph only if it promotes great tangible value. This can typically be through marketing and public perception, concrete cost savings, or regulatory compliance. Yet on a national or global level, innovation for sustainability is often recognised as a goal in its own right. Can the two paradigms be brought together, and not just at the superficial “greenwashing” of entrenched industrial methods? Are big government grants for R&D consortia the best way to encourage this – vying with business investors to steer the industry, or should policy-makers wield their power in more unique ways?
For the case study of TaKaDu, I tried to explain what makes our technology, business, and industry so special, and how they are inextricably linked. Building on that, I shared some views on where government or international economic policy (the OECD’s main interests) can encourage and shape ecologically beneficial innovation. This, we hope, can harness and reinforce the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative capacity of business and technology innovators towards globally beneficial goals.
One of the nice things about being in the water utility business rather than in the electric or gas utility business is that water utilities don’t trace back their history only fifty or a hundred years. Some water utilities we’ve met trace back to the dawn of human urban settlement. That is certainly the case for Hagihon, Jerusalem’s water utility, named after the Gihon Springs. These springs were the main source of water for the inhabitants of ancient Jerusalem while also irrigating the adjacent Kidron valley and providing the city’s inhabitants with food.
To continue ensuring that Jerusalem can continue its thousands of years sustainable water use, Jerusalem’s Hagihon utility is one of the first utilities to have deployed a smart water network using TaKaDu’s water network monitoring solution.
This is the second post in a new series we’ll call “CTO Smart Insights” by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
To view the first post, go here.
When I was asked to speak at the Intelligent Cities Expo in Hamburg about Smart Water Networks, I assumed I would be on a double defensive: apologizing for an industry late to catch up on the data revolutions of the past hundred years, and struggling to demonstrate the value of data in water against a backdrop of data-poor, “conventional” engineering water innovation. I’m glad to say I was completely wrong!
At the water-themed session I was flanked by brilliant colleagues Steffen Schaefer from IBM and Francis Campan from Suez Environnement, talking data-driven solutions from start to finish. With these two industry giants helping to drive home the point (one from the data processing side, and one from the water business), the clear message was that smart water management is data-driven water management. We were practically “singing from the same hymn book”, perhaps not surprising, considering our three companies’ commitment to SWAN – Smart Water Networks Forum. Moreover, contrasting the session as impartially as I could with other sessions on power, heating, transportation, and other city infrastructures, water seemed to stand out as the industry with the clearest “program” (however unofficial) to get the right data and put it to good use.
In this presentation, I defined the “Smart Water Network Revolution” and the benefits it is bringing, talked about how policy-makers and water professionals can and should help it along, and did my best to dispel the four great myths about water utilities and adoption of data technology:
- Water utilities are too conservative or low-tech to adopt such technology
- Water is a low-value commodity, therefore not a magnet for industrial R&D innovation
- Water utilities are not yet ready for “smart data systems”
- It’s too big an investment
Flip through the slides for the reality behind these myths.
This is the first post in a new series we’ll call “CTO Insights” by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
At the recent Water Loss UK workshop and seminar – an interesting, edifying event, as always – I told some of the world’s leading water loss experts what I know about leaks. My talk was clearly “selling ice to Eskimos”, or (closer to the very pleasant Birmingham venue) “bringing coals to Newcastle”.
Really, I just wanted to tell everyone 6 facts about leakage which are not widely known, or just don’t get mentioned enough. At TaKaDu, we’ve been finding leaks and other network faults in customers’ data for several years now, so we have thousands and thousands of individual events to study, each conveniently recorded with the relevant sensor and operations data. This “gallery of leaks” is probably unique. Equally unique, is TaKaDu’s fully-automated statistical analysis of flow and pressure data. To develop and constantly refine this, we have had to study the finest details of a leak’s lifecycle and of the networks we monitor. Only through such study can we help analysts find leaks early, accurately, and reliably, despite the many factors which make this many times harder than theoretical or classroom examples. Look for my list of “How leaks hide in data”, as well as a cheap shot at typical water loss conference slides.
The upshot of all this is that we’ve been able to look at how leaks start, develop, and get repaired, and we noticed (amongst other observations) these 6 interesting and useful facts about “typical leaks”, all detailed and demonstrated in the slides.
- Many leaks start abruptly at 0.5-5 l/s – so individual leaks can have significant impact on water loss, they do not “start at 0”, and there is an abrupt start visible in flow data.
- Leaks start small and grow – at least in many of the leaks we observed, so a 0.5 l/s leak is not “too small to bother”, it is just a 5 l/s leak waiting to happen; repairing a reasonably small leak shows (statistically) better active leakage control than repairing a large one!
- … Or they cause major visible bursts – Many visible bursts develop from a slow leak lasting weeks or months, so with good detection there is time to intervene and prevent the more expensive damage and repairs.
- Leaks rarely last for years – at least the noticeable ones from around 1 l/s and up, so perhaps “background leakage” is just a convenient myth? I asked my audience whether anyone had seen solid evidence for DMAs where “tiny leaks” accounted for any sizeable fraction of the estimated Non-Revenue Water figures, but it seems that background leakage is always assumed, never detected…
- Many leaks last weeks to months – after which they are repaired following a visible burst or through active leakage detection. This accounts for a huge part of the total water loss, and is almost always severely underestimated by water utilities, because of not realising how long the leaks run before an analyst or engineer becomes aware of them. Although a good leakage control program may keep the average flows supplied from increasing over the year, these long “bumps” in the graph can account for most of the utility’s water loss!
- Some (less common) leaks grow very slowly – increasing gradually over many months. Our customers have indicated that this may be a particularly hard to notice and hard to locate type of leak, perhaps physically different to others, and especially valuable when detected by TaKaDu.
I was half-expecting to be told off during the tea break for trying to teach the leakage experts about leaks rather than talking about software, which is what I am supposed to know about, not to mention contradicting or questioning some of the industry’s most cherished assumptions. Instead, I found a line of thoroughly intrigued practitioners and experts, excited by the potential of learning from a “gallery” of real leaks’ hard data. Some of them went so far as to say they had always doubted this or that “standard assumption” about leaks, but never found any decisive evidence until now. A few have since asked for some of this material, to help spread the word.
Here is what I had to say at the workshop, but I heartily recommend browsing the other presentations, available on the event website.
It’s been busy last week in Singapore… TaKaDu participated in the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) – a huge event combining several conferences and trade shows that have attracted about 750 organizations and more than 18,500 individuals, including mayors, ministers and government officials.
TaKaDu had a booth in the Water Expo, gave a presentation at the water convention and participated in the Smart Grid Technology forum and in SWAN Asia workshop. Between one meeting to another, VP Marketing, Guy Horowitz had the opportunity to be interviewed for the media (watch the interview on CNBC).
During this week we met many potential clients and partners from all around the world. Being our first extensive exposure to Asia, we realized that the Asian market is developing fast, and the need for smart solutions is growing dramatically. Countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, China and India confront huge challenges in water supply, which is accelerated by urbanization, and are looking for solutions to cope with them. Not surprisingly, the theme of the 2012 SIWW was “Water Solutions for Sustainable and Liveable Cities”.
SIWW was also the first international industry event following ABB’s recent investment in TaKaDu. ABB demonstrated the integration of Symphony+ and TaKaDu, generating lots of interest from exhibition visitors.
Now, when we are back home, we are starting our preparations to the next big event in Asia – IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition that will take place in Busan, Korea in mid-September.
Yesterday was the third and last day of WATEC, the bi-annual water exhibition and conference. Since its debut in 2007 WATEC has gained recognition as one of the biggest water technology exhibitions, with emphasis on innovation. That’s an angle we clearly embrace in TaKaDu, and we therefore took an active part in organizing the event. We also took advantage of the location and had most company employees come in for booth duty.
This busy international event takes place every two years in Tel Aviv. In the previous WATEC event, TaKaDu was an early stage company presented at the innovation hall. Now, just a couple of years later, we are in a very different position – exhibiting in the main hall and attracting many visitors and delegations (as you can see in the pictures).
It was a long week in Amsterdam, but it was worth the effort. TaKaDu is now a proud veteran of the International Water Week in Amsterdam this week – and more specifically, the Aquatech exhibition.
During the four days of this huge show (over 20,000 visitors, according to the organizers) we found out that the European market is thirsty for smarter solutions in the field of water network management and monitoring. Despite the downturn – and maybe because of the downturn, water utilities from all over Europe are eager to invest in making water distribution networks more efficient through the use of data.
In this blog post, Amir Peleg, TaKaDu’s founder and CEO, argues that water isn’t the only thing that is scarce in the world of water. Innovation, necessary to protect us against a future of diminishing water availability, is missing even more.
In the 20th century the world’s population has grown threefold, while the world’s water consumption is six times higher. The World Economic Forum predicts that water scarcity is about to become a global crisis. Insufficient water could mean food shortages, demographic changes, political strife and even armed conflict. Lifestyle changes that come with economic development have enormous “virtual water” price tags. For instance, producing one kilogram of beef requires 15,500 liters of water. Nestle, Coca Cola and others are openly discussing their efforts to reduce their water consumption, in preparation for a world with less water.
As a newcomer to the Water industry, I often hear mention of “Water Crisis” or “Global Water Scarcity”, as if the only missing element is water. Initially, I accepted this as an axiom, having grown up in Israel, an arid country. However, as a technology entrepreneur, and having had the opportunity to define a new sector in the water industry, I can say that the water sector is facing an altogether different scarcity. It is not about lack of water; it is about lack of Innovation.