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2021 Smart Water Summit: platforms are a key tool in the digital era

  • 2021 Smart Water Summit: platforms are key tool in the digital era

Smart Water Summit 2021 has undoubtedly become the meeting point to learn about the latest innovations and success stories that are guiding the digital transformation in the water sector throughout the world. The fourth and final day of the summit began with a session on Platforms. The digitalisation of water management has become a reality through the massive implementation of technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data or cloud computing. As a consequence of this process, centralising the information obtained in a platform that allows improved decision making and customer service has become a priority and a key element in the business strategies of the water cycle operators.

José Miguel Indave, Solutions Architect at Software AG, spoke about the company's Cumulocity IoT platform and device-agnostic management in the water sector. In his view, IoT is a critical point in the technological evolution of companies. That is why Software AG has specialised in an IoT agnostic platform, Cumulocity. "Cumulocity allows integrating, connecting and managing all kinds of components related to physical devices and predicting events with data based on artificial intelligence". In this regard, Software AG offers a phased model to overcome the technological challenges of IoT and take advantage of all its benefits, because "IoT is a critical technology in the water industry, as it serves to optimise and secure operations, as well as to develop new services and new business models".

Then, Raúl Alarcón, Hidroconta's hardware design engineer, talked about the Deméter app, complementary to the system by the same name, developed to streamline the management of irrigation programs and queries on water consumption or the different sensors that you may have installed. "Deméter App is an application that allows you to access the basic SCADA options, in real time, to control your facilities." Thus, Raúl Alarcón has shown with a practical example how to do analyses, make comparisons, generate reports or directly manage irrigation from a cell phone. "For us, remote reading is no longer an option to improve an installation, it is a reality and a necessity".

Finally, Alberto Hernández, Commercial Director of ITC Dosing Pumps, spoke about global management platforms as the new ally of dosing pump maintenance teams. Specifically, he presented the company's technology for water treatment plants, highlighting that everything that can be done with a piece of equipment can be done with an application: "ITC's platform makes it possible to see the entire list of equipment owned by the same user that is working in the plant". Among its advantages, Alberto highlighted the real-time information, the downloading of historical data and the remote management of alarms.

A second session focused on Cybersecurity, already one of the priorities of the water sector. Entities and professionals are devoting more and more attention and resources to prepare themselves to respond to one of the main threats to critical infrastructure. Qualified experts have answered questions such as how to protect ourselves against this growing risk, or how to implement strategic policies that help organisations adopt a culture of cybersecurity.

Santiago Fernández Lanza, Cybersecurity Key Account Manager at Minsait, spoke about SIA, Indra’s leading company specialised in cybersecurity. "The digitalisation process in water companies aims to improve productivity and optimise management to make it more effective, more efficient and more reliable." In this regard, Santiago highlighted the drivers of secure digitalisation in water management: regulatory compliance, transformation of IT architectures, IoT/OT development and people’s digital interactions. Finally, in terms of digital onboarding, SIA is ready to take a big step in electronic identity verification thanks to its SIACERT solution: "SIACERT Digital Onboarding allows verifying the identity reliably and enables digitalisation to generate certificates remotely".

Next, Juan Caubet, Director of the IT&OT Security Unit at Eurecat, first introduced the work of the technology centre: "At Eurecat we work on three areas of cybersecurity: identification, protection and detection". He went on to talk about cybersecurity in a digital world. "We cannot let our guard down in the face of anything," he said. Caubet defined cybersecurity as a constant and cyclical process in which each of the phases must be covered: "We cannot go from one day to the next to manage the cybersecurity of a company that has not invested in digitalisation processes". Eurecat is working on the research and development of tools and procedures to evaluate and propose measures to minimise the level of vulnerability concerning cybersecurity in electronic devices.

To close the session, David Purón, Chief Executive Officer of Barbara IoT, spoke about the importance of cybersecurity in the water sector and how the company can help make the water sector more secure. Purón pointed out that cybersecurity is an issue, especially since the integration of IT and OT and that 33% of cybersecurity problems come from vulnerabilities: "In the case of water, the products used in water infrastructure are the third most vulnerable in terms of cybersecurity". Barbara IoT has a cybersecure edge computing platform that raises the security level of IoT deployments through different mechanisms such as verified boot, communication through unique certificates, encryption of all data and non-exposure of network services, among other features.

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