BT/Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water teams with BT to turn on tap for NB-IoT

Narrowband internet of things pilot scheme examines potential to optimise the management of utility firm’s estate and provide greater access for local businesses in South Yorkshire to take advantage of IoT advancement to boost economic growth

In a pilot that the utility firm says if successful could revolutionise the way leaks and interruptions to supply are managed in the future, Yorkshire Water and partners are nearing completion of the deployment of almost 4,000 acoustic flow, pressure and water quality monitors using narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) pilot technology, in what is said to be the UK’s largest smart water network pilot.

Final installations of the latest NB-IoT pilot are underway, thanks to a collaboration between Yorkshire Water with Stantec and BT, after the UK’s incumbent telco switched on its first upgraded masts in the UK as part of the project.

The Smart Water Network Pilot is said to be using “state-of-the-art” technology as well as the BT NB-IoT network, which is seen as having the potential to deliver significant improvements in data quality and battery life, enabling Yorkshire Water to identify and prevent leaks and network incidents more accurately.

The project will see Yorkshire Water integrate the data from multiple new and existing project sources and present it in a single visualisation platform which will include a digital twin of the water network. The platform will use artificial intelligence (AI) to cluster datasets and remove false positives, to accurately inform asset and operational decision-making.

“We recognise that on top of our commitments to our customers and the environment, we need to play our part in regional development where we can – perhaps even more so than ever in these challenging times,” said Yorkshire Water’s chief strategy and regulation officer, Nevil Muncaster, explaining the aims of the work.

“It’s great that through this innovative pilot we’ve been able to accelerate the introduction of NB-IoT technology to the area in Sheffield. NB-IoT has the potential to provide greater access for local businesses to take advantage of the advancement in IoT technology, which can only be a good thing for economic growth within the region,” he said.

“The pilot deployment of NB-IoT signals a move to a more data-driven world, enabling millions of connected devices to send and receive data, transforming the way we live and work in the future”
Harvey Deaton, BT

Other companies involved in the project include Itron, Sensus, Arqiva, HWM, ATi, Inflowmatix, Syrinix, Invenio, Ovarro (formerly Primayer & Servelec Technologies), Temetra, Technolog, Gutermann, Elster (Honeywell), BT, Stantec and Xylem. Gutermann acoustic loggers, Technolog pressure loggers and Honeywell flow meters will utilise the NB-IoT network to transmit their data.

Harvey Deaton, IoT director for BT’s enterprise business, added that the partnership marked an exciting milestone for the company. “The pilot deployment of NB-IoT signals a move to a more data-driven world, enabling millions of connected devices to send and receive data, transforming the way we live and work in the future,” he remarked.

“We are continually looking at how we deliver innovative and next-generation connectivity for our customers. We already offer our customers the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network, and we were first to the market with 5G in the UK. Partnering with Yorkshire Water on the Smart Water Network Pilot and enabling our NB-IoT network for the first time reinforces our commitment to lean into and embrace all network technologies to support these exciting trials with data-driven outcomes.”

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