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Acciona Unveils Key Data Platform for Water Cycle Management

Acciona, a leading supplier of sustainable infrastructure solutions with a major presence in the region, has launched the operations of its cloud-based data intelligence platform, Business Intelligence Of Network Solutions (BIONS) for helping companies achieve efficient integrated water cycle management.


Companies that work on integrated water cycle management, also have the responsibility and the duty to work towards achieving efficient integrated water cycle management.


With this strong commitment in mind, Acciona, a leading supplier of sustainable infrastructure solutions with a major presence in the region, has put BIONS (Business Intelligence Of Network Solutions) into operation.


A cloud-based data intelligence platform, BIONS integrates several sources to provide value-intelligence to the business and improve the management of the water supply system through water efficiency.


It offers a comprehensive in depth vision of the service and the water supply network as well as the “health” of the network itself, with the aim of recording all events taking place in the water supply network, remarked Julio Ratia, the Middle East Director (Operation and Management) for Water Solutions at Acciona.


Also BIONS integrates several data sources: smart water meters for domestic use, district metered area sensors, management systems for users and incidents, tank levels, GIS, meteorological data or calendar variables, stated Ratia.


"The result is a platform with a graphic and mobile interface, where you can view what is happening in the water distribution network in real time. Its architecture comprises the following modules: data intake, cloud gateways, data lake, algorithm and machine learning management, and visualisation," he added.


Ratia said this centralised information is afterwards used in decision-making, as well as to define strategic actions and practices that optimise the performance of facilities, said the Spanish infrastructure group.


"This new tool helps us to understand the network operations better, optimise supply planning and service levels and thereby ensure the best water access for citizens. One of the main objectives of BIONS is to improve response times to leaks, breaks and pressure failures in the water supply network," he explained.


To do that, the platform manages and shows all the information that helps to prevent and avoid important water cuts as well as identify the causes of dirty water complaints or issues with the supply, among others. Ultimately, it allows identifying failures in the facilities before they occur, he added.


On the other hand, BIONS performs analysis and management of water levels in tanks and deposits. This way, it can track the status of events (pressures, tank levels, etc.) and anomalies from beginning to end, thus ensuring enhanced water services for users.


Furthermore, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, BIONS enables going one-step further, anticipating leaks and other anomalies, predicting the demand by tracking patterns and trends and solving supply problems in a preventive manner, said Ratia.


For example, the demand can be predicted based on an estimate of the minimum night flow rate; non-revenue water can be analysed based on algorithms to calculate the water balance by district; even potential fraud-theft in the water network can be detected, he explained.


Incorporating artificial intelligence enables going even further in terms of the analysis and management of services and water facilities, he added.


With BIONS, Ratia said the data gets turned into knowledge and future actions achieving savings thanks to the early detection of hidden or underground leaks, improving response times to leaks, breaks and incidents in the water supply network, and ultimately ensuring greater water service efficiency.


It is a step beyond the classical approach focused on mathematical solutions and daily operations planning, towards a new model based on the recognition of patterns and machine learning.


A platform such as BIONS offers undeniable advantages in terms of efficiency of the operations and maintenance of the network, shortening the cycles of repair and incident resolution. It is a multi-channel platform, which can be accessed and operated from mobile devices, tablets and personal computers.


Because it is cloud-based it is fully scalable and can grow in parallel with the technological evolution of the network and the systems installed.


Another important aspect is its flexibility, since it can be implemented in systems with different levels of technological development and different control and sensor systems.


The tool can be adapted to the information existing in each service. On the other hand, the integration of the BIONS platform with the GIS positioning system has the advantage of providing a user interface based on a hydraulic model of the network, something that guarantees that the user experience will be swift and adoption easy.


According to Ratia, smart water projects use technologies and tools for more flexible, competitive and efficient management. "That requires better alignment between OT and IT networks and the cloud, to manage an increasing number of data and signs, something that entails greater security risks," he noted.


The BIONS cybersecurity architecture ensures not only protection from potential attacks to service remote control systems (industrial security), but also the security of data (industrial and transactional), of the IT network, and of the cloud platform, he added.


Ratia said BIONS was not just technology or digitalisation, but an initiative that provides real and tangible benefits to the business and, as ultimate beneficiaries, citizens receive a better service.


Cybersecurity risks are successfully reduced taking into account security criteria from the platform design phase, through the implementation of a comprehensive security architecture concept, integrating appropriate technologies and subsequent improvements in processes and measures dealing with the organisation, access and users’ roles in systems, said the senior official.


"The end goal for BIONS is to be a smart management platform for all of Acciona’s water supply services, nationally and internationally. Industry 4.0 is already a reality for water companies," remarked Ratia.


A revolution that results from digitalization and the adoption of new technologies, which enable improved connectivity and access to information, turning it into knowledge. And it is in this context where BIONS seeks to transform and improve water supply services, he added.


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