Vodafone Inks NB-IoT Deal With UK Utility SES Water


By Juan Pedro Tomás

UK-based telecommunications group Vodafone and compatriot utility SES Water have signed a ten-year deal under which the former will provide NB-IoT technology to detect and prevent water leaks.

In a release, SES Water said it will use Vodafone’s technology to create an intelligent water distribution network that aims to cut leakage by 15 per cent over the next five years and pave the way for more than halving it by 2045.

In the UK alone, it is estimated that on average 3 billion litres of water is lost to leaks everyday – the equivalent of 1,268 Olympic swimming pools, the company said. The IoT project, now underway across east Surrey, west Kent, West Sussex and south London, follows on Vodafone’s smart water network pilot with South East Water last year.

Vodafone and SES Water have been working over the past few months with partners to install digital water meters, sensors and acoustic loggers on underground mains water pipes. These were then connected using Vodafone’s NB-IoT network.

Data will be collected and transmitted across the system, and advanced analytics will be used to monitor readings and alert SES Water immediately in the event of a leak, low pressure or other network abnormalities.

The utility noted that acoustic loggers “listen” for escaping water within the network to determine when leaks have occurred and to assist in pinpointing the precise location. Readings from smart meters will provide insight into customer demand patterns so that SES Water can help customers to better manage their water usage, help reduce their bills and be alerted to leakage occurring on customers’ pipework before it can cause any damage.

“Internet of things technology can make a real difference to the health of our planet. We are thrilled to be innovating with SES Water, helping to provide a more accurate and efficient way of identifying and preventing leaks,” said director, Vodafone Business UK, Anne Sheehan.

“This collaborative project has been worked on for a number of months and will help us revolutionize how we detect and prevent water leaks – either our mains or our customers’ pipes – as soon as it occurs. In the future it could even enable us to predict and prevent pipeline failure before it happens,” said Daniel Woodworth, SES Water’s network strategy manager. “It will put our operational teams in a position of knowledge, not only enabling us to reduce the water we take from the natural environment but also further minimizing interruptions to supply, and in doing so provide a gold standard service for our customers for many years to come.”

Vodafone has already launched NB-IoT networks in the UK, Czech Republic; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Italy; Australia; Netherlands; South Africa; Spain and Turkey, among other markets.

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