askFIDO: AI assistant launched for water professionals

A new artificial intelligence (AI) virtual leakage assistant powered by computer programme Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 (GPT-4) has been launched to support water professionals to make informed decisions on water infrastructure.

Called ‘askFIDO’ and launched by FIDO Tech, the virtual assistant analyses curated data across FIDO’s systems and platforms, including the portal and app, to provide clear guidance to water professionals. The AI assistant leverages GPT-4 to act as a specialised assistant, including integrating documentation, datasets and glossaries, allowing users to access expert-level guidance and support.

GPT-4 is the fourth in the series of large language models created by OpenAI and made publicly available via the organisation’s paid chatbot, ChatGPT, which continues to be a growing service with over one hundred million users per week.

While ChatGPT answers questions by accessing publicly available information on the internet, askFIDO instead focuses GPT-4 to focus only on FIDO’s collected, curated and verified data. The development follows a broader partnership between FIDO Tech and OpenAI partner Microsoft, in which actionable AI is being deployed to help reduce utility non-revenue water (NRW) as part of the organisation’s sustainability and water-positive ambitions set for 2030.

The partnership is now active in three locations, starting in London, UK, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona, US, and then to Querétaro in Mexico. askFIDO will act as a tool to bridge FIDO’s ecosystem of hardware and software, making it easier than ever for users to locate and solve water utility challenges. The new offering aims to create a conversation with users. With natural language and a simple interface, it democratises access to AI, regardless of experience or skill level. To date, FIDO Tech has been working with water utilities around the world to deploy actionable AI to rank leaks by size.

At DC Water, for example, the FIDO team identified major leaks which had previously gone undetected. This included one leak losing an estimated 130 gallons per minute. The World Bank estimates that as a global average, 30% of the world’s piped water is lost before it reaches the customer, most of it due to leaks and theft. In developing nations, roughly 45 million m3 of water are lost daily, worth over US$3bn/year.

Co-founder and CEO of FIDO Tech Victoria Edwards said, “We continue to push boundaries in the water sector. Many people said we could not guarantee a 25% leakage reduction to UK utilities, and we did. Now we are going one step further with the launch of askFIDO, powered by GPT. In our mission to democratise access to AI, this virtual assistant will help water professionals globally.”