Royal HaskoningDHV invests in partnership with H2i to grow data-driven flood resilience services

Engineering and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV has entered into a strategic partnership with Singapore-based Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i). Together, they will apply big data to boost urban flood resilience.

The partnership also allows Royal HaskoningDHV to expand its digital footprint in water management and climate change-related solutions in Asia, while extending H2i the funding, expertise and network that will allow it to grow.

Royal HaskoningDHV CEO Erik Oostwegel said, “Our partnership with the highly-skilled and digital-savvy H2i team brings together a complementary and deep understanding of climate-related challenges and urban flood resilience. We will accelerate the development of a data-driven approach to address these challenges using big data analytics, machine learning and advanced modelling.

“By joining forces, we can provide faster and better insights in expected rain and flood risk for cities, businesses and residents. The partnership will also enable us to leapfrog our digital service development to address these challenges.”

The partnership ties closely into Royal HaskoningDHV’s focus on data and digital since 2017, when it embarked on a digital transformation both internally and through acquisitions and strategic alliances.

Martin Lechner, chairman of the Board of Directors of H2i, explained that this allows both companies to further drive innovation – while Royal HaskoningDHV has the scale and reach, H2i is nimble, and being in a natural test-bed environment like Singapore, can quickly develop water-related digital solutions that can be scaled.

The benefits to H2i are also clear, he added, “This allows us to accelerate the development of our digital services, bid for larger and more integrated projects in more markets, and ensure that our products and solutions have greater reach.”

Since it started in 2014, H2i has garnered much attention in Asia for its innovative, data-driven approach to water challenges.

The company’s high-resolution rainfall detection and forecasting system based on state-of-the-art X-band weather radar technology, currently deployed in Singapore, could be developed commercially as a service to address flood management in other Asian cities.

Another iconic project of H2i is its ongoing Virtual Water project. This involved the development of a digital twin of Singapore’s water systems and draws on H2i’s modelling capabilities to simulate and predict water behaviour in the event of, for example, heavy rainfall. It runs atop Virtual Singapore, the city’s 3D twin, and ensures that mitigation measures can be conceived and tested.

In May 2018, H2i won the Small Business Rising Star award at the Winsemius Awards 2018, organised by ADB-DutchCham and the Embassy of the Netherlands. The award recognises H2i’s application of data science, AI and machine learning to the sustainable management of water and the environment.

H2i has been embedded in Singapore’s innovation ecosystem since its beginnings and maintains strong relationships with both academia and industry. This allows it to actively participate in a rapidly-evolving sector and provides access to a strong talent base.

No financial details about the investment will be disclosed.