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Ensuring interoperability, system integration

Content by:Karim Mouidine, Export Area Manager at Hidroconta
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The digitalisation of water systems involves obtaining large amounts of data, and sometimes this information comes from different systems; for the data collected to be operational and effective, they must be integrated into a single platform that facilitates further analysis and study. At Hidroconta we have developed a data integration API in order to perform a comprehensive study of the data.

The main objective of implementing a remote management system in an irrigated area is to improve the management of collective irrigation, taking into account the requirements of localised irrigation, thus allowing the use of irrigation water to mitigate the scarcity of water resources more efficiently and sustainably.

Remote management systems apply to any water service management process. These systems allow knowing in real time the evolution and status of the different system parameters and allow operating and obtaining information from different elements such as meters, valves, etc., installed in the network.

Hidroconta has developed its own remote management DEMETER system, which is able to control remotely the opening and closing of any electrovalve as well as meter reading at any time, regardless of the brand; as a requirement the meters must be equipped with a pulse emitter.

The ensuing data analysis allows adopting correct measures to assess water consumption based on a calculation of the efficiency and effectiveness of the irrigation network.

  • Some of the most outstanding features of the DEMETER remote management system are:
  • GPRS or radio communication with the data server.
  • Simple architecture, reducing the number of elements involved in communications.
  • Suitable for extreme climatic conditions of temperature and humidity.
  • Remote firmware configuration.
  • Easy maintenance.

The data analysis allows adopting measures to assess water use based on the efficiency and effectiveness of the irrigation network

  • Alarm configuration: The Demeter system can record and report abnormal situations or situations requiring immediate attention employing alarms reported in the menu. The allowed alarms are classified as follows:
    • Terminal: Low battery, battery replacement, communications failure.
    • Hydrant: Flow detected with valve closed, no flow detected with valve open, maximum flow rate, minimum flow rate, quota exceeded.
    •  Analog input: When a maximum or minimum value threshold is exceeded, such as the pressure in the network.
    • Digital Input: Due to a change of state.
  • Irrigation programming from the web platform. The remote "PCB" terminals are fully autonomous, meaning that the user can record different programs to be stored in the internal memory of the PCB and executed even if communications are lost.

The system allows detecting the opening and closing of boxes containing meters and other system elements by means of transducers to detect intrusions installed in each of them; such alarms are reported via the SCADA-WEB platform or SMS text messages to operators, thus contributing to the fight against vandalism.

The data analysis allows adopting measures to assess water use based on the efficiency and effectiveness of the irrigation network

The SCADA-WEB user interface offers the advantage of being able to operate the equipment from any device with an internet connection and browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.), either a traditional PC or any mobile device (tablet, Smartphone, etc.), offering the possibility of customising the application to fully adapt it to the users’ needs.

The water management company may have several remote management systems in the same area. If these systems are not interconnected, the data generated might not be processed properly, leading to information losses and the misuse of technology.

The first step for a system to be interoperable is to be able to transfer and receive data to and from other systems; in general, this data transfer is done through an adapted and customised interface. The system should be able to process different data sources independently of the manufacturer or the technologies used; it must integrate data from other systems and any communications protocol.

Hidroconta has developed its API (application programming interface) that allows exchanging and processing of data between the Demeter system itself and other systems.

There are two main communication protocols on which APIs are based:

  • Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
  • Representational State Transfer (REST).

The latter has now largely outpaced the former because it is more flexible, since REST uses a standardised protocol and methods.

The Demeter system allows integration with other management and control systems through a REST API. That is, through an interface that provides a series of HTTP requests to query information and manage the devices integrated in the system; any third-party system can access the system. In addition, access to the system is restricted according to the type of user.


Block diagram

The application is based on HTTP REST web services using JSON as the data exchange format. In addition, this API has a mechanism that immediately notifies third-party systems of instantaneous changes in device status.

In the case of water management companies that have their own management application and do not want to implement the system developed by Hidroconta, an intermediate software has been designed to facilitate its connection to the control and communications network.

Hidroconta contributes effective and efficient technological and digital solutions to ensure a proper use of water resources and stewardship of the land.