A new year is approaching, and while we prepare to help current and future water and wastewater utility clients improve their operational and asset management systems, we look at the past year’s achievements and notable partnerships.
We also look at the challenges utilities and municipalities face and what to look for in the year ahead.
Working with Local California Utilities to Improve Workflows and System Operations
More and more water utility and municipality staff and system operators are working remotely and rely on mobile solutions (SaaS) to improve efficiency, collaboration, and responsiveness.
Nobel Systems is harnessing the power of the latest technology to advance locational mapping and field management solutions within the water/wastewater industry to meet organizational objectives and reduce costs.
The City of Gardena took advantage of Nobel’s technology to streamline workflows and improve existing processes.
Nobel Systems integrated and deployed GeoViewer Mobile to help City of Gardena staff improve existing workflows, customer service, and internal collaboration.
This is the first comprehensive turnkey Geographic Information System (GIS) solution deployed within the city to help the team make better decisions and improve the community’s well-being and service.
Nobel continues to advance GeoViewer Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Internet of Things (IoT), and Digital Twin solutions to help utilities and municipalities improve workflow processes, manage vital assets, reduce costs, improve customer service, and minimize operational risks.
Providing GIS / IoT Solutions for the Public
Nobel worked with Helium, which provides peer-to-peer wireless connectivity for enterprises, to create an easy-to-use Smart Parking App for citizens to find parking and quickly pay.
Nobel installed parking sensors to help users find parking and for cities to view real-time parking statistics. The Smart Parking App also enables parking enforcement to collect and monitor payments / non-payments.
Helping Utilities Across the World with Remote Utility Management
In 2021, Nobel proudly contracted with the Czech Republic to provide its enterprise GeoViewer utility and sewer management system to four of its municipalities.
The Czech towns of Polkovice, Oplocany, Lobodice, and Uhřičic are using GeoViewer to monitor municipal sewer systems, including sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), CCTVs (closed-circuit television), and routine maintenance.
It was Nobel Systems’ first project in the Czech Republic and the second in the European Union.
Uzbekistan integrated and deployed Nobel Systems’ flagship products GeoViewer, GeoViewer Mobile, and IoT Network Sensors (wireless) in the City of Chirchiq.
The three systems helped the republic reduce operational costs and manage vital infrastructure to improve sustainable water supply and operation costs.
UzSuvTaminot JSC, a recently formed Joint Stock Company to manage the country’s water systems, received the project. The project kick-off meeting took place in Tashkent and Chirchiq in October.
In the Philippines, which COVID-19 has dramatically affected, revenue for water districts plummeted because of a government mandate for utilities not to collect payments from their customers during the lockdown.
It was difficult, but despite it, Nobel contracted to develop a GIS for the Murcia Water District.
Murcia is a municipality in Negros Occidental, with 5,500 service connections. Murcia water district officials have expressed that Nobel’s GeoViewer Online and Mobile solves their remote operations and monitoring management requirement, especially in the new normal.
Because of the Murcia contract, other water districts near Negros Occidental can now do their GIS benchmarking with Murcia Water District’s efforts.
Notable Awards and Achievements
Nobel was one of two companies to win the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Digital Against COVID-19 Hackathon on Improving Remote Monitoring of Water Utilities challenge.
The goal of the challenge is to find remote smart water management solutions for water utilities in the following areas:
- Water monitoring operations
- Service delivery maintenance
- Asset management
- Staff performance
- Identifying service area vulnerabilities
This award was a breakthrough for Nobel on its first project engagement with the ADB. It paved the way for more GIS projects, especially for ADB’s Water Sector Group, which took notice of the high-level technology and expertise that Nobel provides to water utility companies.
The ADB Hackathon Challenge win led to the opportunity for Nobel to pilot the GIS project in Uzbekistan.
Critical Challenges Utilities Have Faced in 2021
Practical preventative strategies are crucial when managing hundreds or thousands of connected assets.
Challenges such as climate change, drought, and the pandemic, which have interrupted the supply chain, have added another layer of complications for utilities.
Water utility districts across the Western U.S. are looking for alternative solutions, approaches, and more efficient management strategies to deal with unanticipated climate events.
Smart-Water technology like remote network monitoring (IoT), enterprise asset management (EAM), and Digital Twin technology will take on a greater priority to minimize water loss and improve overall operational efficiency.
Agencies will need to manage their assets at a higher level to meet new regulations and water-efficiency standards through advanced technologies.
The pandemic has interrupted the supply chain, creating challenges for utilities and municipalities. This interruption will most likely continue through 2022.
With price increases and limited inventory, agencies will need to manage supplies carefully, further hamstringing or delaying critical projects.
Having the right technology will help agencies meet operational challenges, manage inventory, cost, and maintain a high level of service delivery.
Enterprise Asset Management, IoT, and Digital Twin Technologies Step In
Nobel’s smart-water utility software and IoT combine specific algorithms that continuously evaluate data to improve data accuracy, optimize service delivery, reduce overall risk, and minimize operational cost over the asset’s life cycle.
In addition, Nobel’s utility software platform, GeoViewer, applies state-of-the-art Machine Learning techniques (clustering, classification, and regression) and populates several key missing data fields on pipe material, size, installation dates, and other unit operations datasets.
To combat the effects of climate change, water and wastewater utilities can harness Nobel Systems’ technologies to monitor systems for potential water loss and breaches.
Nobel Systems’ IoT remote monitoring capabilities enable utility workers and staff to safely continue operations and provide high-level customer service.
Educating Utility Managers and Operators
Early in the year, Nobel Systems held a roundtable to discuss Utility Operations Management using GeoViewer. Several hundred attendees joined three local Southern California water utility leaders for the virtual event.
Three panelists, Tom Coleman, GM of Rowland Water District, Mark Ban, GM of Joshua Basin Water District, and Michael Miazga, IT Manager of El Toro Water District, talked about how each district uses GeoViewer to manage assets and operations. Watch the roundtable here.
Challenges Utilities Faced in the Philippines
In the Philippine setting, it’s been difficult for the government to assess the situation of the water sector because of the absence of reliable data from the field.
Nobel’s GIS solutions provide track performance and data and allow easy consolidation. In addition, since lockdowns prohibit GeoNobel (the Philippine arm of Nobel) staff from visiting water districts, GeoNobel scheduled Zoom meetings with each water district for presentations and discussions.
GeoNobel created an Executive Roundtable Discussion on Smart Water Management in August. Three general managers from the Bayawan, Valencia City, and Teresa Water districts shared their experiences using GeoViewer and best industry practices with other water districts.
The event, which was well attended, resulted in GeoNobel invitations to discuss the company’s solutions to regional conferences like the Mindanao Association of Water District (MAWD) and provincial associations like the Southern and Central Mindanao Water Information Council.
GeoNobel officials began familiarizing the local water sector with Digital Twin technology and garnered interest from several districts that would like to adopt Nobel’s technology.
Further discussions with water districts for the coming new year are on the table.
Essential Technological developments Utilities Should Look for in the New Year
Municipalities and public utilities are adopting digital technologies faster than ever before, and 2022 will see an influx.
Agencies will need to take a proactive approach to meet the current challenges and keep up with changing regulations and standards. Nobel Systems’ smart-water utility software will continue to play a vital role in all water and wastewater industry facets.
Nobel’s GeoViewer utility software combines artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models to assess complex data and identify the chances of asset failures occurring and the severity of the impact if an asset were to fail.
Nobel’s GeoViewer EAM model runs multiple algorithms through parameter optimization on top of existing datasets that virtually simulate and assess the Likelihood of Failure (LoF) for each asset, which represents a numerical ranking ranging from unlikely (1) to highly likely (5). We then validate the results using historical asset datasets. The model includes algorithms to calculate the Consequence of Failure (CoF).
As we enter 2022, technology and data accuracy will be critical to maintaining and operating a successful water and wastewater network. As the needs of regulations and agencies change, so will technology and the delivery of smart-water solutions to improve service. Technology and accurate data will be the future to operating and managing vital assets and lowering costs.
Nobel Systems’ Looks to the Future
In the United States, Philippines, Uzbekistan, and the Czech Republic, Nobel’s goals are to continue providing awareness of Nobel’s solutions and services for GIS and GIS-based applications, not only for water districts but also for electric cooperatives and other government agencies.
Nobel is bringing its expertise to the table and providing high-level technology to bring the developing world’s industry standards on par with advanced countries.Michael Samuel, Nobel Systems President
Overall, Nobel Systems will:
- Continue to advance smart-water technologies to help clients improve data accuracy, optimize service delivery, reduce overall risk, and minimize operational cost.
- Bring the most affordable and practical solutions to market to meet industry objectives and goals.
- Continue to educate and provide critical insight to help clients, utilities, and municipalities make informed decisions to improve operations, lower cost, and increase overall service.
- Continue to seek the highest talent level to increase Nobel’s footprint within the GIS and Water industry.
- Stay true to our mission, company objectives, and commitment to each other to provide the highest level of service to our clients.