The main objective of the digital transformation of an industrial sector is to provide tools that allow the total connection between its elements so that it can act in an agile way and, even more importantly, focused on the client. This process requires a great internal effort to manage change since it completely transforms the way of working and, consequently, the mindset of all its staff.
The water sector, probably due to the high implications of responsibility regarding citizen service, is relatively conservative in this process of change, as complex as it is necessary, in the way it works and manages assets. As a consequence, it presents a low degree of digitization compared to other productive sectors.
There is a clear tendency for users to demand more information in real time, they are less tolerant of service failures and the resources available to management companies are finite and limited. Thus, it is necessary to implement monitoring systems that allow the user to obtain data -especially from a good such as water-, on the one hand, and on the other, the managers have information to carry out maintenance tasks preventive and, above all, plan it properly taking into account the needs of the network and the resources available.
Examples of digital transformation in the water sector
Although it is true that in recent years the use of technology in the management of infrastructures in the world of water has become popular, coinciding with the explosion of Smart Cities, we observe that most of the digitized processes belong to the management of the drinking water network. We have as examples the use of digital twins, the mapping of infrastructures through GIS systems, the use of big data to offer value-added services to the user, automatic sampling points for the determination of quality … This is due, as I mentioned. previously, to the demands of the user, who is increasingly demanding of information and is increasingly aware of what he consumes.
The digital transformation has also reached the Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP), which have highly sensorized and digitized control panels and processes to comply with the discharge regulations, as well as meet environmental objectives through energy optimization.
However, in this process of transformation and modernization of the sector, started in the visible parts of the integral water cycle, it seems that we have forgotten about the buried infrastructure, the sewage system. This has led to the continuing occurrence of overflows or spills into the sea in times of heavy rain.
It is here where our product SEWDEF, an automatic sewer inspection analysis system, offers objective information for efficient sewage management. Inspections of the sewerage network are carried out using images recorded from TV cameras that are manually analyzed, giving rise to a report subject to the subjective perception and experience of the operator, making it difficult to temporarily trace the state of the infrastructure and study its rate of degradation.
Sewdef is a tool for digital transformation in the water sector
The SEWDEF system is a web application processed in a cloud environment, accessible from anywhere and through any device with an Internet connection. It bases its operation on the combination of computer vision algorithms, Artificial Intelligence (Deep Learning) and mobile robotics.
In this way, infrastructure managers will be able to obtain objective information on the state of the sewerage network and its temporal evolution in order to know its rate of degradation in order to plan and prioritize preventive maintenance actions.