In the UK more than 3.3 billion litres of water are lost through leaking pipes every day. That’s equivalent to 20 per cent of the nation’s water supply and enough to service the needs of 11 million consumers. Meanwhile the Environment Agency predicts water levels could drop by a further 10 – 15 per cent over the coming decades due to climate change and population growth.
Water authorities are therefore facing increasing demand to find new and innovative ways to monitor water flow within pipes and ensure any possible loss is found and stopped as efficiently as possible.
This pressure in part has a financial implication; water companies work to strict leakage targets by Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water sector in England and Wales. Failure to meet these targets will result in a fine.
There is also pressure from increasing environmentally conscious customers and will be impacted by the effects of a drought in the case of a severe water shortage. As recently as 2012 (check date) the UK was hit by the worst drought in 25 years, which led to a hosepipe ban for over 20 million households. At the time the blame was put firmly at the door of water companies for failing to prevent leaks.
Opportunities for improvement
The water industry has long been measuring flow rates to help pinpoint the location of leaks and enable repairs to be completed. Historically water companies predominantly used manual loggers to store that data, with a technician visiting each device to collect the information.
This process suited a purpose, but it was costly, required a vast amount of time and meant data only arrived from each device a few times a month. Around 15 years ago the first GSM and SMS data loggers started to appear, and it was soon realised by adding GSM modems and SIM cards to the device, the data could be transmitted more frequently. This saved technicians valuable time and ensured information arrived from each device on a daily basis, which added a truly mobile capability.
This transformed the industry. More data available meant a better understanding of the water network and any leakage within it. However, the GSM loggers used a SIM card placed into a slot, which opened up potential problems with waterproofing. Also each SIM was GSM network specific meaning different SIMs were required for installation in different locations due to network coverage. As a result, the devices had a costly upkeep.
Primayer, which provides technology for water network management and leakage control, turned to Eseye for a connectivity solution. With Eseye’s AnyNet embedded Multi-IMSI chip SIM cards fitted into the XiLog+ and Phocus3m loggers, all connectivity issues and waterproofing concerns were resolved.
Barbara Hathaway, technical services director at Primayer, says, “The solution enables us to prevent a multitude of issues with our products. We can test each device fully in the factory, recall data and ensure the device is properly sealed.”
However, the key benefit of Eseye’s AnyNet embedded SIM card has been its ability to provide truly global coverage without Primayer’s customers needing to set up or even think about local connection deals with operators.
“We feel by adding an embedded SIM card to the devices, we have moved the industry and my business opportunities on. Our devices can be deployed anywhere in the world without any concerns around connectivity”, explains Primayer’s Barbara Hathaway.
She continues, “Previously when we shipped overseas, customers had to find and choose their own SIMs, which meant they were venturing into the unknown. Now we can provide one single solution to over 90 per cent of the market due to the capability of the AnyNet SIM to connect to the strongest available network at any time, and they know their costs in advance.
“The Eseye solution also offers one single global bill which combines the costs of network providers across all contracts. This aggregation means I can approach a customer in any location and easily understand the cost to me and therefore understand the cost to them.
“That capability, coupled with the ability to provide a SIM that works for their geographical region is a tremendous advantage.”
Global coverage and global growth
The connectivity capabilities of Eseye’s AnyNetMulti-IMSI Sim have not only benefited Primayer’s clients; Primayer itself has also been able to take advantage of global growth opportunities.
When the company first began its collaboration with Eseye it had only just started to venture into the American market. However, the partnership has proven to be pivotal as Primayer has transitioned into this new territory.
Barbara Hathaway says, “The scale of success we’re already starting to see in America would not have been possible without being able to offer a reliable solution to customers regardless of their location. This ability to remove the complexities of working globally is proving essential to our own growth ambitions.”