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Thames Water £1bn digital revolution to transform customer experience

  • Thames Water £1bn digital revolution to transform customer experience
    Photo: Thames Water

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Thames Water
Every day, we serve 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.

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Thames Water is to invest £1 billion in industry-leading technology over the next six years to revolutionise its water and waste operations, transform customer experience and boost efficiency by 20 per cent.

The UK’s biggest water and waste company is using pioneering solutions to deliver its latest five-year business plan, built on the feedback of more than one million customers across London and the Thames Valley and produced to meet the twin challenges of population growth and climate change.

Thames Water’s new command centre capability will increase trunk mains monitoring by 25 per cent, take live readings from up to 200,000 sewer depth monitoring points to prevent pollutions, and link-up all its engineers to a smartphone app giving total network visibility at street level, with a host of real-time information.

Between now and 2025, the company’s in-house specialists will also work with market-leading partners to roll out a new customer care platform to personalise service for customers, with information displayed relevant to where they live, and install 700,000 domestic smart meters to put people in control of their water use.

John Beaumont, Thames Water chief digital officer, said: “This is a landmark and transformative moment in our company’s rich history, taking the old and making it fit for the future. We’re doing this by building a digital-first water company that will deliver an ever-improving service for our customers and dramatically boost efficiency across the board.

“Real-time data management and visibility will allow us to anticipate issues before they happen, speed up and personalise service, protect and enhance the environment, and keep taps flowing. We’re extremely ambitious in our targets and relentless in our drive to use the most effective, modern tools to ramp-up performance and deliver a brilliant experience to our customers.”

Improved data management is already providing control teams with greater visibility of the company’s vast underground network of pipes, and giving live insight into how much water is being produced across its treatment works, the amount customers are using and reservoir levels. Timely supply and demand statistics will lead to better preparation and response to extreme weather incidents, like the 2018 ‘Beast from the East’ freeze and rapid thaw, and summer heatwave.

A digital solution to help resolve water supply problems caused by incidents like burst pipes has also recently been switched on. The app gives a real-time geographic view of what’s happened, highlights the area where customer contacts are coming from and provides intelligent network information to allow engineers to respond more efficiently. The interactive map shows the location of customers in vulnerable circumstances at risk of a supply interruption, so they can be prioritised.

As part of the technology revolution, Thames Water will further improve frontline operational capabilities through a digital app, and greatly enhance its monitoring of water pipes and sewers using sensors and acoustic loggers to create a real-time nervous system to help anticipate and prevent incidents or speed up response times.

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