How Much More Efficient Can You Be With All Your Data in One Place?

An integrated data management system can help utilities maximize investments, solve problems, and treat and deliver water more effectively and affordably

How Much More Efficient Can You Be With All Your Data in One Place?

Xylem Vue powered by GoAigua enables users to integrate and standardize asset data from across the entire network into a single unified platform.

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Data silos can be a drag on efficiency and performance for clean-water and drinking water authorities.

Traditionally, integrating essential information from multiple sources has been a headache, requiring manual data entry and the juggling of multiple systems. That carries the risk of errors and lost productivity, not to mention potential permit and regulatory violations.

Now comes Xylem Vue powered by GoAigua, a platform designed to help utilities integrate and manage data from previously unconnected sources and gain a complete, unified view of a water and wastewater network.

Xylem leaders say this single software and analytics platform, built by utilities for utilities, can propel users to new levels of digital transformation, getting more return on investment, quickly spotting and solving problems, boosting efficiency and delivering cost-effective services. The company says it can help users reduce nonrevenue water, save money, extend asset life, improve operations and planning and more.

The platform integrates and standardizes data across the organization, from sensors, SCADA, process equipment, business systems and others, into a single information source. Users gain 360-degree operational intelligence to enable optimal performance and efficiency.

The platform is vendor-agnostic, which means users can capture data from any source, including those not supplied by Xylem. Richard Loeffler, senior practice solution architect with Xylem, talked about the technology in an interview with Treatment Plant Operator.

TPO: What was the reason for bringing this technology to the marketplace?

Loeffler: The technology is designed to help utilities solve a common problem: disconnected systems that impede access to the information and systems people need to do their jobs. Many utilities have disparate systems, and not every department always has universal access to data. So it’s easier for operators, managers and others to get the information they need, when they need it, when siloed databases are brought together.

TPO: What differentiates this platform from other offerings with a similar purpose?

Loeffler: For one thing, it was designed by a water utility to be used by water operators. It was originally created by a contract operations company. They needed an information system flexible enough to work across all the water utilities they managed. The platform is used by more than 400 municipalities, and it has added functionality while being leveraged by those organizations. It is battle-tested. A combination of water industry focus, operational knowledge and software development excellence make our platform different.

TPO: How does the platform unify information from various sources?

Loeffler: The platform and the applications within it serve as the glue between all the assets a utility has invested in. Operators receive information in a holistic way, instead of having various standalone applications. Traditionally, a utility might have one system for information about the treatment works, another for the lift stations, another for viewing asset information. Now instead, all that data can be pulled together into one unified view.

TPO: How does the platform figure in the daily life of operators?

Loeffler: Instead of having to worry about a series of browser tabs and windows, operators can go to a single source of truth that provides the information from all the utility’s subsystems. The platform also gives operators a version of futureproofing because, as it evolves, it provides new functionality, features and capabilities. Operators can log into one system and have access to all the screens, visualizations and data they need to step through their day.

TPO: What is involved in deploying this technology for a given utility?

Loeffler: The first step is to understand the utility’s current state. Every utility does things slightly differently. It’s important that we see what the current state looks like from operational, procedural and IT/technology perspectives. We inventory the subsystems, applications and assets the operators interact with to determine how we can connect that data into our platform. Xylem Vue supports more than 120 industrial protocols and systems.

TPO: What happens after that initial step?

Loeffler: We develop a plan to integrate the data using various cyber-secure and approved methods for data transfer. We help guide the utility as to the art of the possible. We help determine what layout, screens and visualizations make the most sense for them. The platform is flexible enough to be designed with a look and feel to closely match any utility’s requirements.

TPO: Can the platform help utilities that don’t want or need complete data integration?

Loeffler: Many utilities come to us to solve a specific complex problem. Xylem Vue powered by GoAigua can start there and build on later. It doesn’t have to integrate every piece of data. They can start small and expand over time, or choose not to expand and keep just one system or application running. There is a great deal of flexibility in how the system can provide value. It can grow and flex along with the utility and its IT environment.

TPO: How easy is this platform for operators to learn and use?

Loeffler: It’s designed to be as intuitive as any other system a utility person already interacts with. Even after it’s deployed, operators who deal regularly with a specific system or workflow can design a dashboard or an analytical screen to serve up data for their purposes. As part of any implementation we do in-person training, and over time we provide brush-up training and 24/7 technical support.

TPO: How would you characterize the way utility personnel benefit from the platform?

Loeffler: It’s exciting to watch what happens when people gain access to information they didn’t have before, served up in a way that’s interactive and visually compelling. When that happens they will self-discover new capabilities.

TPO: Can you provide an example of how this happens?

Loeffler: We worked with a treatment facility where the operators had little access to what was going on inside the collection system. Suddenly they had one place where they could see all that information combined into one simple overview. It was a lot of fun watching the operators work together and discover how they might use the data to benefit treatment operations.

TPO: How did they put that collection system data to work to benefit the plant?

Loeffler: Now instead of just dealing with whatever flow shows up in the headworks, they can see an hour or two ahead of time when an area in the collection system is having elevated flows. So they can anticipate those flows and adjust the operational scheme to keep the plant operating at a consistent flow rate. That’s good for the process, for effluent quality and for the mechanical equipment in the plant.

TPO: Are there kinds or sizes of facilities this offering is best suited for?

Loeffler: The platform is highly flexible in its capacity to ingest data and present useful information and insight. So any size utility can use it to obtain high-quality data and provide valuable information to the operating teams.


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