Utility Week

UTILITY Week 11th July 2014

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utIlIty WEEK | 11th - 17th July 2014 | 23 Operations & Assets which was a significant benefit given the area surrounding the reservoir is classified a site of special scientific interest. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house.com or call 01342 332085 Pipe up Leo Carswell T he value of data is something the water industry, along with many other big industries, is grappling with as data and information has gone from scarce to super-abundant. It is estimated that every day the UK water industry collects something like 300 million pieces of data, the vast majority of which is not used, putting doubts on its real value. Understanding the value of data, particularly real-time data, and the information it provides is fundamental to success. It is the translation to the underlying data that is the biggest challenge – a challenge that requires an understanding of how data converts to information, and how a resulting action converts into outcomes. For some applications, such as process optimisation, this chain may be relatively straightforward but for more complex decisions based on multiple data sets the relationship between outcome and data is much more complex. This poses the question, if you don't know the real value of your data, how do you know how important it is? And how much effort should be put into ensuring it is of suf- ficient quality? At a recent Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG) event on 21st Century Sewer Systems the question was posed as to why we don't mon- itor our wastewater network to the same degree as we monitor our water networks? I suggest this is not because the systems are not available – the technology suppliers at the workshop proved they are – it is more a case that the industry, and I include the sup- ply chain within this definition, has not yet successfully and robustly demonstrated the value of the data. The smart water network is an approach that funda- mentally relies on data. Data from sophisticated sensing, with embedded processing, digital communication and soware designed to generate, manage and respond to network-derived data. This data-driven approach aims to deliver a network that is more visible, controllable, automated and integrated, resulting in improved service delivery, asset management and customer experience. Valuing the data within a smart network concept is difficult and in many cases requires practical trials to establish the data required and the relationship between data and intervention. Valuing outcomes and establish- ing the relationship between data, information and outcomes is the real challenge. So as the 300 million increases to 500 million or a billion pieces of data a day, the industry must value and manage all its data because you can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data. Leo Carswell, principal consultant, WRc "We need to understand how data converts to information, and how a resulting action converts into outcomes." "If you don't know the real value of your data, how do you know how important it is?"

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