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‘Smart water’ analytics helps reduce water loss, cut costs


As water increasingly becomes one of the world’s most precious resources, IBM scientists are working with Arad Group, a world leader in reliable water meter systems, to help water companies and utilities around the globe provide more effective and efficient management of drinking water through the use of big data and advanced analytics technology.

Water use has increased at more than twice the rate of population growth in the last century. This means cities, water companies and utilities are facing new challenges in providing a high quality supply of drinking water while keeping costs and energy use to a minimum. Many areas have already implemented automated meter infrastructures (AMI) to measure water consumption, providing highly accurate readings. However, employing advanced analytics on the collected data can provide an additional layer of insight, helping both customers and water utilities gain control of the water network and manage valuable water resources more effectively.

Big data and analytics technology help clients harness the explosion of data coming from a growing number of resources – including data collected from utility meter readings and sensors. Arad Group is working with IBM to integrate the latest analytics algorithms into Arad’s Dailog3G and City-Mind software.

This means utilities and water companies can benefit from early indications of abnormal consumption, reliable fault detection to determine when there is a leak or water waste, and optimized customer interactions. The IBM algorithms are based on machine learning, data mining and statistical analysis techniques. For example, these advanced features allow Arad’s City-Mind software to learn whether the usage is a pattern that occurred before, if it is appropriate for the current seasonal demand, and whether it coincides with what neighboring families are consuming.

Established more than 70 years ago, Arad Group processes water consumption data for hundreds of millions of records each day, based on tens of millions of meters in over 50 countries across the globe. That is an estimated 5 billion gallons of water measured each day – enough to fill more than 50,000 swimming pools.

Developed by IBM scientists in Israel, the smart water analytics identify problems and patterns and differentiate between issues such as leaks and excessive use of water that could result in the waste of millions of gallons of water. It also provides water utilities with insight and helps identify when low or no water use signals a problem.

Reducing the number of false alerts helps technicians know when meters need replacement or repair. For example, when a utility company observes water consumption that is zero or almost zero over a long period of time, a technician is often sent to examine the situation. While this could indicate a broken or faulty meter, it could also be the result of something as common as a family vacation – in which case sending a technician is a waste of time and money.

The IBM analytics tool increases the confidence of differentiating between meters that are truly faulty and false alarms. Field tests have already shown a potential reduction of 50 percent in the number of technician visits, saving valuable time and human resources to address conservation and water management.

In the future, IBM expects predictive algorithms to help utilities better plan for demand and as a result better manage resources, such as tank levels, pressure, and pump scheduling.


Using machine learning and optimization to improve refugee integration

Andrew C. Trapp, a professor at the Foisie Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), received a $320,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a computational tool to help humanitarian aid organizations significantly improve refugees’ chances of successfully resettling and integrating into a new country. Built upon ongoing work with an international team of computer scientists and economists, the tool integrates machine learning and optimization algorithms, along with complex computation of data, to match refugees to communities where they will find appropriate resources, including employment opportunities. Read more →

Gartner releases Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 rankings

Gartner, Inc. has released its 10th annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. The rankings recognize organizations across the healthcare value chain that demonstrate leadership in improving human life at sustainable costs. “Healthcare supply chains today face a multitude of challenges: increasing cost pressures and patient expectations, as well as the need to keep up with rapid technology advancement, to name just a few,” says Stephen Meyer, senior director at Gartner. Read more →

Meet CIMON, the first AI-powered astronaut assistant

CIMON, the world’s first artificial intelligence-enabled astronaut assistant, made its debut aboard the International Space Station. The ISS’s newest crew member, developed and built in Germany, was called into action on Nov. 15 with the command, “Wake up, CIMON!,” by German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who has been living and working on the ISS since June 8. Read more →



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