Digital technology company InfoTiles has won the opportunity to demonstrate its water management platform with a municipality in western Switzerland.
The BlueArk Challange is a call for projects that aim to solve water management challenges using open innovation ideas and technologies. The InfoTiles software will be developed and implemented in collaboration with Fully, a municipality in the canton of Valais, and BlueArk Challenge, with the aim of rapidly developing scalable applications.
InfoTiles will provide water managers in Fully with continual monitoring of the wastewater network via sensors located in key locations to help identify and remediate stormwater inflow and groundwater infiltration (I&I) into sewerage infrastructure.
As well as being awarded €10,000 for technology development, BlueArk Challenge will provide InfoTiles with solution monitoring, infrastructure test sites, validation reporting and on-going support. If successful, the InfoTiles platform will also be marketed in Switzerland through the collaboration.
InfoTiles’ digital technology helps municipalities detect and understand when and where I&I occurs in wastewater networks. Inflow is stormwater that flows into wastewater pipes through faults such as holes, cracks, joint failures, and broken connections. Infiltration occurs when groundwater enters the wastewater network through faults in pipes, compounding the flow.
It is widely acknowledged that most I&I is caused by ageing infrastructure that requires maintenance or replacement. When this extra water penetrates the wastewater network, it can cause hydraulic overload which is a particular risk during periods of heavy rain or storm events and can add considerable cost to municipalities in pumping, treating, and discharging processes.
InfoTiles’ digital software platform uses artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning, to consolidate and analyse data. It also uses data from existing SCADA control systems and geographic information systems (GIS) to integrate real-time hydrological, meteorological, and asset data. This enables proactive and intelligent management of water inflow and infiltration into the sewers.
Oliver Studer, head of industrial services for Fully said, “The municipality are looking forward to developing the project with InfoTiles and working on concrete solutions to its water management problems.”
Nine water resource management challenges were proposed by the five Swiss municipalities taking part in the BlueArk Challenge. Four solutions were identified with InfoTiles, which is based in Stravangar, Norway, the only one from outside Switzerland.
Anyssia Bovier, coordinator of the BlueArk Challenge said, "The proposals received make it possible to help resolve four of the challenges submitted. It is remarkable, and we are very happy with the quality of the proposals.”
Marco Westergren, chief analytics officer at InfoTiles said, “As the only non-Swiss company to win this prestigious challenge, it gives InfoTiles an opportunity to develop the innovative software and apply it practically to help the municipality of Fully further understand and tackle its I&I challenges.”
BlueArk Challenge is an initiative of BlueArk Entremont, a technological innovation centre with a data laboratory, based in Le Châble, Switzerland. Founded in 2018, the hub specialises in the management of natural resources, with a particular focus on smart management and the digitalisation of water.
The winners of the BlueArk Challenge were announced at Smart Water 2022, a conference held in Le Châble on 1 December 2022. The initiative is also backed by green energy supplier ALTIS, and The Ark Foundation, which provides support to innovative businesses.