The AIoT – A Digital Journey to Transforming the Water Sector: WATER MANAGEMENT Smart Class 2022 Retrospective


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The UK water sector is driving towards a net-zero future where end to end processes are fully optimised for changing conditions and assets never fail unexpectedly. Historically, the water sector has only had access to proprietary or point solutions providing limited optimisation capability. However, by combining operational technology with digital models it should be possible to predict the future, connect the real and digital worlds, and utilise Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to automatically optimise for changing conditions.

Severn Trent is looking to drive digital innovation and at WATER MANAGEMENT Smart Class 2022 we were delighted to welcome Innovation Architect, James Ballard, to talk about some of their key activities, successes and lessons learned. A named inventor in UK patents, James specialises in control and automation systems, the artificial intelligence of things and digital twins.

Highlights of his opening keynote presentation included:

  • Sector wide challenges around environment and sustainability, climate change and forecasted “30% wetter by 2050”;
  • People, process, technology and data;
  • Considering the journey of data in a similar way to that of water – from source, abstraction and storage to treatment, distribution and consumption;
  • 2014-2020-2022 – progressing from intelligent point solutions to predictive model development and on to AIoT waste catchments;
  • The design and deployment of the UK’s first storm preparation ready intelligent sewage pumping station;
  • The development by Severn Trent’s in-house data science team of the “SPS dynamic risk matrix” – a dynamic flooding prediction tool for sewage pumping stations enabling proactive interventions;
  • A £3m project awarded by OFWAT through the water breakthrough challenge to design and build “the artificial intelligence of things” – a fully autonomous waste catchment powered by artificial intelligence and smart sensors.

“Data is key to generating insights”, concluded James, but “needs to have availability, quality and usability” and, whilst intelligent point solutions “improve capability”, cloud analytics, AI/ML and interconnectivity “will allow AIoT to build for the future”.

If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at The BCEC, Birmingham, for the live in-person event on November 10th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from James’ keynote).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, innovation, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, environmental managers, policy makers and planners from UK water companies and utilities, wastewater and sewer operators, lead local flood authorities (unitary authorities and county councils), city/borough/metropolitan councils, district councils, combined authorities, highways authorities, prime contractors, general insurers, large water consumers, central governmental and regulatory bodies (e.g. Defra, DCLG, Ofwat, Environment Agency, DWI, SEPA), independent industry and consumer organisations (e.g. Water UK, CCW) etc.

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WATER MANAGEMENT Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how deploying the latest digital technology-enabled solutions and best practices can help manage the distribution and management of water resources, and also offers utilities an opportunity to improve efficiency and customer service whilst reducing water scarcity. WATER MANAGEMENT Smart Class 2022 will be hosted in Birmingham on November 10th.


   Birmingham, UK

Sponsored by
Project Centre
Green Valley Group
British Water

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