It is the latest in a series of new technology trials which focus on one core purpose: to improve the overall experience of Unitywater customers through enhanced operational intelligence.

The data integration trial is designed to improve the way remote devices connect to a central control system using a 3G Access Point Name* (APN) gateway.

Unitywater receives a range of data already, from 3G-enabled devices like water quality analysers, pressure and flow loggers and sewer manhole level detectors. This data comes in through a variety of different channels.

The trial will funnel and integrate multiple sources of data into Unitywater’s existing SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system.

This will give a more complete, real-time overview of network status and remove the need to host data in cloud locations and view it via emails, SMS or third-party dashboards. 

It will allow sensors to be placed in areas of the Unitywater network where power or radio coverage are not available. It also reduces data double-handling and enables more reliable, instant communications during times of severe wet weather.

“There is a lot of talk these days about ‘smart solutions’, but it can be hard to know what that really means,” Executive Manager Customer Delivery Rob Dowling said.

“This solves a problem using technology in a way that seems very simple, but in fact is quite complex. It also creates a model that is flexible, scalable and relocatable, which means it has the potential to work just about anywhere there is demand for real-time information-gathering from many different sources.”

“The 12-week pilot period will test the 3G integration of sewer manhole level detection probes into SCADA. In other words, it will enable us to remotely sense and control sewer levels, especially important during wet weather events, with our customers and the environment the obvious winners.”

Another related trial will integrate data from Unitywater’s sewage treatment plants into a single source to enhance Control Room visibility of all 17 plants at once. That trial will test the capabilities of Microsoft’s RemoteApp and Netsupport Manager.

“The aim here is to eventually bring all of our sewage treatment plants into our state-of-the-art Control Room and lessen the reliance on plant operators being called out after hours”, Mr Dowling said.

*APNs connect a mobile network and another computer network for the purposes of secure data exchange.

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