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  • by Karma Loveday

Northumbrian innovation fest to go global

Northumbrian Water will be linking with participants from the US and Australia in its next Innovation Festival in 2020.

Northumbrian said its five-day event will again be held in Newcastle in July next year, with creators and innovators working on sprints, hacks and challenges alongside festival teams from across the world.

Northumbrian's information services director and festival founder, Nigel Watson, said: ”We've been really lucky to have attendees from international companies join us at the event in Newcastle over previous years, and we expect lots of them back for 2020. However the interest and attention the festival has gained from organisations worldwide meant that we had to look at how we could make it bigger and better.

“By offering organisations and innovators in America and Australia the chance to continue our hard work overnight, once our Festival days are finished here in the UK, then we're able to open up our ideas and innovations to the whole world.”

Meanwhile seven ideas developed at the industry collaborative event Innovate East, held by Anglian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water in September have won funding from the festival allocation to proceed with their ideas.

But the festival team decided that three additional projects also deserved to proceed and they have been given funding from outside of the original allocation.

The initial seven chosen were:

  • Water Trading and WAT-CH: Developing a platform and the processes to enable all parties involved in the water cycle to rapidly trade water and best protect the environment whilst meeting the needs of all stakeholders.

  • DMA DNA: Utilising data in novel ways to drive more granular understanding of the difference between leakage and usage in different District Metering Areas.

  • Mobileye: using image recognition and algorithms to detect above ground assets and features which then result in better understanding of those underground.

  • The ARK and Benedict projects: ARK creating a hub of resources for communities to pull on during extreme weather events / Benedict project enabling homeless people into employment work via the joint support of utilities, charities and support agencies

  • Twinder: Enabling agencies with digital twins to share data and avoid duplication of work.

  • Blockage Free Sewers and Green Communities: Incentivising food establishments to keep it clear through an accreditation scheme demonstrating their actions aiding the environment - and potentially turning their waste oil into biodiese.

  • Blue Dolphin: Mobile app and website to inform the public what skills are involved in the work taking place locally to them, sparking ideas for routes into the industry.

The additional trio were:

Resilience asset performance - extreme weather: Using latest science to compare correlations with climate change projections to enable teams to provide an indication of how these links might change in the future and the impact they will have on water- industry assets.

Eddy - digital water assistant: Utilising Internet of Things water quality sensors to drive a digital twin of the water network, mapping and protecting water quality in near real time.

Temporary satellite stores: Creation of temporary ‘store units' to house items such as barriers, salts and bottled water, assisting crews in preparation for extreme weather events to ensure customer service levels are maintained throughout.​

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