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Back to News 4 November 2020

SpiralData and SAGE Automation collaborate on IoT platform for utility networks

SpiralData and SAGE Automation collaborate on IoT platform for utility networks

Technology facilitated by Industry 4.0 is playing an important role to confront the water sector’s global challenges from climate change, urbanisation, economics, and better management of utility networks.

Taking advantage of the vast amount of data generated by Industry 4.0, Tonsley based SpiralData and SAGE Automation have developed a real-time anomaly detection system for the sustainable delivery of utility services. Using statistical tests and deep learning prediction algorithms, the two companies collaborated on an automated solution that can detect abnormalities (such as blockages, also called chokes) within a sophisticated water network across varied geographical locations.

“We wanted to serve our customers better. Water utilities typically have SCADA, a system that still effectively serves the purpose of monitoring and control. Data analytics has the ability to compliment SCADA, with keener insights into patterns of asset behaviour to identify choke triggers which can save operation costs,” said Kale Needham, CEO of SpiralData.

“We were open to collaborating with SpiralData because we see the maturing of data analytics in water utilities has the potential to drive increased service quality and efficiencies while reducing corporate, environmental and public risk,” says Justin Kahl, State Manager for SAGE Automation.

The team at SpiralData experimented with a variety of algorithms before finding which deep learning model performed best. The next challenge was to automatically detect abnormalities. The solution was developed using a pump training unit with a PLC (programmable logic controller) that could simulate chokes.

“After engaging with industry, our goals were very clear. First, to create a prediction engine for time series data that was accurate, the algorithm could be trained quickly and didn’t require a mountain of data. Second, we wanted to build a robust anomaly detection engine that could be applied to any data set without requiring human input. The solution needed to be low-cost, scalable and robust to a variety of data inputs,” explains Chris Jansz, CTO of SpiralData.

The collaboration resulted in a low-cost, scalable anomaly detection platform using Amazon Web Services (AWS) that integrates with SCADA, PLCs or any device that can be visualised in real-time and send automated alerts for improved field operations and asset maintenance.

The use of advanced data analytics and machine learning is transforming the way the water sector plans and maintains its assets, to ensure liveable communities and resilient water supply. These new approaches to analyse, plan and manage water systems will help build resilience to climate change, overcome some of the water security challenges, and address current and future challenges in utility management in Australia.

A full-service data analytics agency providing data strategy, enterprise technology, data science and custom AI solutions for organisations to make data-based decisions, SpiralData Group creates smarter organisations using data analytics. Since 2016, it partners with organisations to generate growth or realise inefficiency gains using data analytics.

As Australia’s leading independent industrial automation and control systems integrator with a global footprint, SAGE Automation offers end-to-end project delivery, specialist advanced manufacturing services and asset operations and maintenance services to support clients across the defence, energy, manufacturing, resources, utilities, transport, and water sectors.

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