A winning idea to fix leaks before they happen

Elliott King
on 19 July 2017

Clancy Docwra & Dootrix win prize at the NWG Innovation Festival water-leakage hackathon

It’s the water industry’s Holy Grail; how do you predict water leaks before they happen? The answer is to use a combination of innovative data modelling, artificial intelligence and sharp industry insight to build a system that predicts likely weak-points, so that they can be checked and strengthened before they become uncontrolled leaks.

This was the simple, but effective solution that a team of engineers, analysts and developers from Clancy Docwra and their software partners Dootrix, came up with to claim the Innovation prize at Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival, held last week near Newcastle.

Working on the principle that it’s far more cost-effective, and far less disruptive, to fix a problem before it happens, the Clancy-Dootrix team, engineered a solution that maximised current prevention analysis systems and added better predictive modelling to currently available data.

Using a classic lean methodology, the team opted for simplicity, and focused on the most effective way to deliver real value for the water companies. By harnessing existing data and intelligence, with an AI system that could accurately predict where maintenance teams should work first; they created the prototype for a tool that could save the industry millions of pounds.

Paul Glenister Mobile System’s Manager of Clancy Docwra said, “This is exactly the kind of innovative thinking we bring to our clients in the real world. Yes, we have the capabilities to fix problems when they happen, but we’re much more interested in how we can help our customers to prevent them happening in the first place. We’re embracing every technology we can to be effective, in predictive analysis, scheduled maintenance and emergency response.”

Charlie Allen, Delivery Director of Dootrix said, “Having delivered two hackathons for Manchester City Football Club (hackmancity.com) it was great to be involved in a hackathon as a participant. I’ve found hackathons are a great vehicle to validate and prototype ideas rapidly, which can then be turned into real products and services. Collaborating with the guys at Clancy & NWG gave us a level of industry insight and domain expertise that was essential for getting straight to the heart of the problem, and from there, finding a simple solution that with further evolution could be deployed quickly in the ‘real’ world.”

Charlie wrote in more detail about the Man City hackathon [here], and we’d be delighted to discuss how we might run one for your organisation.


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