Accelerate digital transformation to achieve more efficient and circular management of cities, ensuring sustainable growth.

Guillermo PascualDirector of Operations and Digital Transformation at Agbar

Telereading is an essential technology for the digital transformation of citizen services, as it improves efficiency, quality and user experience.

IoT devices (Internet of Things) today represent a major lever of digital transformation, as they are one of the main data generators.

At Agbar, the most widespread device we manage is the meter; the moment we convert this meter into a digital, i.e., into an IoT device that can send data remotely, a world of possibilities opens up based on this data, which can be transformed into useful information. If we only think that, thanks to remote reading, we will receive in a single day the same information that we would traditionally receive in four to six years, it is easy to understand the potential that these solutions offer us, based on the data.

The tele-reading of AgbarDinapsis for Water Metering, allows for the promotion of a facilitating and sustainable environment, committed to quality services for the well-being of citizens. It also promotes the digital transformation of the integral water cycle, which is essential for pursuing efficient, green, clean and collaborative management; all thanks to the use of the large amount of information it provides, useful information for management if it is used appropriately. It is, therefore, essential that it not only serves to read and invoice in substitution of manual activities, but that it is a lever towards the digital transformation of management based on the transformation of data into relevant information.

The main benefits that can be pursued and promoted are summarised below.

For citizens, these include, among others, the availability of a higher quality service in terms of the simplification and flexibility of the reading process and improved control of consumption and anomalies in almost real time through warnings and alarms. In addition, new technologies allow us to think of new services that enrich the customer experience. An example of this is the recently launched enhanced customer care service: thanks to the exploitation of historical reading data, in the event of high consumption that raises suspicions of a potential leak in the customer's internal network, a series of preventive telephone calls are made (generally robotised, and personal in the case of customers in a vulnerable situation). In addition, the charge in the case of direct debit customers is blocked for a certain period, to make it easier for the customer to contact us and manage it before receiving any charge. This shows that Agbar makes tangible, with specific initiatives, its interest in putting the customer at the centre.

At the administrative level, the most important aspects include greater transparency towards citizens through the management of and access to data and the possibility of promoting new services for citizens generated from the consumption of the data now available.

Lastly, for the water operator, they highlight the increased efficiency in the water resources management and its associated costs in terms of reduced physical losses (e.g. through real-time monitoring of hydraulic performance) and commercial losses (e.g. through detection of abnormal consumption) of water. Also, there is a clear benefit in terms of increased efficiency in commercial processes and associated costs.

Evidently, in order to reach the situation described above, there are challenges and difficulties that have to be faced. The main challenge lies in managing the volume of information generated by the array of smart meters, sensors and other data sources, and thus the need to treat them with the right algorithms and artificial intelligence to get the most out of them. With the right method and the help of algorithms, AI and even other technologies, remote metering works as a great lever for digital transformation.

Digital transformation in water treatment plants

Agbar's strategy in the management of water treatment plants (purification, drinking water or desalination plants) is very clear: the operational transformation of these plants to move from a linear industrial model to a circular sustainable model that contributes to the improvement of society (guarantee of discharge quality, regenerated water on demand, energy balance and self-production, elimination of waste, democratisation and objectification of investments, etc.), in which data and the consequent digital transformation are the channellers of this cultural and organisational transformation of the company. Therefore, Agbar's strategy consolidates the objectives of digitising assets and processes, providing a hypervision of multilevel information aggregation plants, optimising operating and asset management processes, and improving decision-making based on measurable and objective criteria. All of this enables the transformation of the operation from the current model to an advanced management model.

The main pillars upon which the value proposition of Dinapsis for Water Plants are as follows:

  • Integral digitisation of the installation (operation and asset management).
  • Centralised visualisation on a single user-friendly web platform based on the digital twin (from the simplest to the most complex side of the concept).
  • Guarantee of the veracity of the data and immediacy of its knowledge.
  • Aggregation of information and availability of a dashboard multi-level and multi-profile.
  • Monitoring online y near real time and alert generation.
  • Optimisation of operation and asset management processes through the application of simple and complex algorithms.
  • Secure remote access from any device with an internet connection.

The benefits for treatment plants resulting from this approach are as follows:

  • Integrity and validation of information.
  • Standardisation of facility data.
  • Automation of the reporting.
  • Improved decision-making with objective criteria based on data and performance indicators.
  • Improved productivity and efficiency leading to greater sustainability of the installation.
  • Reduction of operational risk.

Reform proposals to accelerate transformation

One of the levers to accelerate the transformation is access to European Next Generation funds. In this context, the Spanish government's firm commitment to the digitalisation of water represents a great opportunity to improve water management for both the urban cycle and irrigation, promoting efficiency in management, greater sustainability in the use of water resources and the improvement of the services provided, contributing to the security of supply and hydraulic infrastructures.

The data economy is a driver for improving the services provided by urban water cycle management companies, and the boost being given to digitalisation in the water sector is an opportunity.

On the other hand, the ?Aporta? initiative, stimulated by the Spanish Government, aims to foster the opening of information and the reuse of public sector information, with special attention to the State Public Sector, and in coordination with the rest of the autonomous and local Administrations in Spain, promoting the creation of new products and services, in collaboration with the private sector and civil society, and for the benefit of society. In the development of this ecosystem favourable to the creation of new data-based products and services, it is necessary to consider actions such as establishing a favourable regulatory framework, developing public-private cooperation actions, or carrying out actions to support technological innovation and business models, among others.

In the case of the water sector, involving the relevant water administrations in this action plan is essential to establish a governance and co-creation model to extract the maximum value from open data for the benefit of the community and the environment.

In short, together (society, public sector, water users and operators) we have the possibility to build better intelligence in water management that allows us to make decisions supported by data and evidence, and to create opportunities for sustainable development and the preservation and restoration of the good status of our ecosystems and water bodies.

Boosting the data economy

The promotion of the data economy is one of the priorities of the European Union and Spain, and the water sector is the subject of specific development programmes in this area. This mobilisation of public funds acts as a driving force in the water sector, promoting the technological modernisation of infrastructures and supply networks.

Therefore, the data economy is a driver for improving the services provided by urban water cycle management companies, and the boost being given to digitalisation in the water sector is an opportunity.

In this context, Agbar is a key player given its positioning both technologically and at the level of know-how. Agbar's commitment to the application of operational intelligence to information management is clear: it generates knowledge based on data and improves decision-making.

With a vocation to serve citizens and administrations, the generators of the information are, at the same time, the main beneficiaries of its use, both through the optimisation of resources dedicated to the water cycle and the extension of environmental services that contribute to the improvement of the resilience of urban ecosystems.

Agbar's desire is to create healthier, more liveable, resilient and environmentally friendly environments. For this reason, Agbar's work is aimed at achieving more efficient and circular management of cities, thus guaranteeing sustainable growth.

At all times, with the utmost rigour and care in the handling and protection of data, guaranteeing its appropriate use and the highest standards of privacy and security.

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