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10 innovation trends to watch out for according to Northumbrian Water

  • 10 innovation trends to watch out for according to Northumbrian Water
    Image: Northumbrian Water

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Northumbrian Water
Northumbrian Water Limited is a water company in the UK, providing mains water and sewerage services in the English counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and parts of North Yorkshire, and also supplying water as Essex and Suffolk Water.


Northumbrian Water’s Head of Innovation has been outlining what she expects to be the most innovative trends making a splash in the water industry during 2020.

Angela and her team have spent time looking at what innovations that they think will have a big impact on the water industry during 2020.

These are the 10 innovation trends to watch out for:

1. Collaboration – The new £200 million innovation fund announced by OFWAT will kickstart more collective innovation working across the sector and lead to exciting outcomes for customers. Innovate East in September will be a particular hot ticket!

2. Thinking bigger – Working together and sharing the risks will focus the sector on tackling some of the biggest and most difficult challenges. Autonomous sewer inspection robots, anyone? Or how about those non-invasive leak repair technologies for in-service water mains?

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 2020 will be the year when AI will finally start to live up to the hype and deliver real limitless business benefits.

4. Digital Twins - Digital Twins will cement itself as THE decision support tool for operational applications going forward.

5. Improved human interface – CMEX will trigger new and creative ways to deliver great customer experiences.

6. Less and safer digging – Underground mapping will help reduce utility strikes, make excavation less frequent and much safer for our people in all industries.

7. Better employee wellbeing – Through the introduction of physical monitoring equipment (wearables) and interaction with smart devices we’ll be able to track mental and physical wellness and help our people more than ever before.

8. Super IoT (Internet of Things)– Our use of sensors and IoT will significantly increase as reducing costs make the mass use of this technology more possible. Innovation projects such as Barnacle, Dragonfly and the Torpedo (smart sewer device) are capitalising on this to create sector leading possibilities.

9. Computer vision – The improved ability to identify places, objects and people via camera or sensor will allow us to extend the use of this medium. We already have Utileyes and Mobileye. Health & safety and asset tagging applications are next in scope.

10. – 5G internet is already here at Northumbrian Water, as we’ve just kicked off our first trial with o2. It’ll be a huge enabler for IoT and smart machinery due to the increased band width allowing us to collect and transfer more data. 

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