September 01, 2019 / Artificial Intelligence

United Utilities Becomes the First Water Utility to Adopt AI

Image:  EMAGIN’s AI technology (HARVI) live in the Integrated Control Centre at UU.

Kitchener, Ontario – October 17th, 2018 – EMAGIN is excited to announce it has secured a Framework Agreement with United Utilities to deploy its AI technology across the North West of the United Kingdom (UK). Serving over 7 million residents, this is known to be the largest deployment of AI technology in the region and first of its kind in the industry. The technology will provide United Utilities with a suite of real-time digital capabilities ranging from optimized pumping, burst event detection and minimization of discolouration events. “We are pleased to be working with the world’s leading artificial intelligence company in the water sector. EMAGIN’s holistic approach to operations aligns exactly with our vision towards systems thinking in our next AMP cycle,” said Steve Fraser, COO of United Utilities.

“Digital technology solutions will not only help us to understand how the system operates, but the emerging digital technology around artificial intelligence will enable superior operation of this complex system by machines. This will help drive efficiency and reliability across our core systems. We believe this radical new operating model has the potential to establish new efficiency and performance benchmarks for the sector”, United Utilities, proposed Business Plan for 2020-2025, Chapter 6

EMAGIN was one of 7 companies selected amongst hundreds across 5 continents to participate in the United Utilities Innovation Lab earlier this year. The lab environment allowed for a full trial deployment in a preselected area of UU’s network. After a 12-week demonstration, work began on how to deploy the technology across the network and into other applications. “There’s a real movement in digital and start-up companies and we set up our Innovation Lab to crack the problem and lower barriers to get companies like EMAGIN to meet the right people within our business,” explained Head of Innovation at United Utilities, Kieran Brocklebank.

Image: Head of Innovation, Kieran Brocklebank collaborating with UU Operations Team in the Innovation Lab.

The goal of the lab was to provide product validation from United Utilities stakeholders and customers, co-location and testing in a live operational control centre environment. After implementing EMAGIN’s technology, HARVI successfully led to energy savings of over 22% across the Oldham DMZ. “The engagement at every level across UU showed their continuous drive to deploy technology that supports their customers,” said Mohamad Vedut, COO.

Image: Co-founders of EMAGIN presenting to teams across UU.

The HARVI implementation process will be completed in stages and fully deployed by the end of 2019, after which pumping and resource control will be fully automated across the entire network. “At United Utilities we’ve been working hard to better understand how to become more proactive about our operations. HARVI has played a crucial role in giving our ops team the upper hand,” said Simon Chadwick, Central Operations Director. Through Machine Learning, HARVI is able to learn the complex dynamics of any kind of system which reduces the burden on utilities to have to continuously calibrate and maintain numerical models. Currently deployed across North America and the United Kingdom, EMAGIN is leading into markets like Asia and MENA with current venture backers Tencent Holdings. “This is an exciting time for us, United Utilities is one of the largest and most innovative water companies in the world and gives us a huge presence to grow in the UK and Europe,” said Thouheed Abdul Gaffoor, CEO.

Along with rolling out the technology both parties are investigating new application areas to deploy the technology.

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About AI

EMAGIN provides water and wastewater facilities with an artificial intelligence-driven platform, HARVI, that supports proactive real-time decision making. In doing so, HARVI helps facilities reduce operational costs, enhance reliability and prepare for emergencies. HARVI is a self-learning and cost-effective platform with one of the fastest integration times in the sector.

About United Utilities

United Utilities is the UK’s largest listed water company and manages the regulated water and wastewater network in North West England – which includes Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside with a combined population of nearly seven million. United Utilities’ headquarters are in Warrington. Its shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and the FTSE 100 Index. In 2017 the company was awarded World Class Status in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the tenth year in succession. In 2018 the company was accredited with the Service Mark by the Institute of Customer Service.