Black & Veatch and iVAPPS MoU: New partnership makes material contribution to enhanced network health

Ensuring networks are healthy is a significant step towards cutting customer complaints and the risk of regulatory sanction. Recognising this, Black & Veatch and iVAPPS have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the potential to make a material contribution to better network health.

Black & Veatch’s leading-edge data analytics and decision-making tools will be coupled, following the MoU, with iVAPPS’ Smart Cartridge Valves – which gather and transmit critical network performance data such as pressure, flow, turbidity and conductivity.

“We are helping clients open a window onto their networks. Valves will remain a ubiquitous feature across networks for the foreseeable future. Our MoU means that from now on they can offer much more than flow control. By analysing and interpreting data gathered by iVAPPS’ Smart Cartridge Valves we can help clients make the data-driven decisions necessary to ensure network health,” said Chris Steele, Head of Data Science and Analytics for Black & Veatch Europe.

This approach negates the need for installing sensors across networks, critical data can now be harvested and analysed from any point where a valve is necessary. Healthy networks have steady flows, constant pressure and consistent turbidity. Unhealthy networks, with problems that may escalate into customer complaints, are likely to exhibit unsteady flows, transient pressure incidents, and fluctuating turbidity. Knowing when and where unhealthy characteristics are presenting in near real time, and understanding what the data means, allows utilities to respond swiftly, reducing significantly the likelihood of customer complaints or regulatory sanction. 

“There is a recognition that networks need to be better managed in order to meet Ofwat’s stringent leakage targets, and latest quality and service goals. But the path to making the right enhancements is not always clear, coupling Smart Cartridge Valves to powerful analytics tools helps make the journey more straightforward,” Steele added.

Under the MoU iVAPPS will act as valve supplier, and Black & Veatch will provide the data analytics tools and IT interoperability that converts data from the valves into actionable information. The easy-to-install sensor cartridges within the valves can measure single or multiple data streams, making it easy to start gathering information about what is happening at pain points within the network. Intelligent pressure sensors, for instance, can enable utilities to locate leaks and identify network issues that can cause bursts or service issues for customers.

Black & Veatch will utilise its industry leading ECO-X cloud-based digital and data ecosystem to gather sensor data and provide interoperability with clients’ IT systems and other Black & Veatch digital network management services such as Serene – which combines smart sensors, analytics and leakage expertise to provide dynamic DMA health insights that help reduce leakage and improve resilience.