Getting the full picture

A trial of software to manage and store photographs taken on mobile phones is helping Yorkshire Water gain visibility and control of its assets and operations, reports Natasha Wiseman

Visual intelligence technology company TriOpsis, is helping Yorkshire Water (YW) use mobile phone photography to maintain full visibility, control and quality of its physical assets. Using a tailor-made version of TriOpsis’ Visual Intelligence technology, YW will be able to enhance the quality of its operations, reduce the cost of failures and improve service to its customers.

YW is one the largest water companies in the UK, managing the collection, treatment and distribution of over 1.2Bl/d of water. It employs over 2,300 staff and is responsible for over 64,000km of pipes.

Like many other organisations within the water industry, YW was experiencing challenges when trying to effectively monitor and control the quality of operations taking place in the field. Aborted works, remedial works and even fines were bringing unwanted delays and costs.

Nick Smith, from the Contracts Department at YW says: “It’s well recognised within the industry that failures do occur and remedial work is needed, but the rate at which this happens remains too high. We are committed to reducing this rate so we can deliver better quality and service to our customers.

Having a clear, real-time view of repair and maintenance work and the quality of asset installations is a key step to achieving this. We had actually implemented a project to identify failures, using digital cameras and Excel. This trial project, although useful, was highly labour and cost intensive, so we needed a better solution.”

Yorkshire embarked on a review of the market in order to source a technology partner to help them solve these key issues and selected TriOpsis’ Visual Intelligence for the project.

TriOpsis had previously been active in the retail market, but the economic downturn had meant a shift in focus towards other potential users of its technology.

Smith says: “TriOpsis was able to provide the best solution for our needs. The company was able to deliver a simple yet effective Visual Intelligence solution that would enable our onsite workers to capture both the status of our assets and the quality of their work in real-time.

“The practicality of the technology combined with the reporting ability, the minimal hardware expense and the training and support for staff and site workers made it a clear favourite.”

Visual Intelligence works by combining mobile photographic monitoring with additional essential contextual information added to each job. An image can be taken by a mobile worker from any phone with a camera and uploaded, complete with critical data, providing management with the intelligence required to make the right decisions. YW successfully completed a pilot project and is now rolling out the TriOpsis solution in a phased fashion across all repair and maintenance activities.

“Our staff found the system easy to use with only basic training required, and the reporting has been excellent. The success of the project depended on the adoption of the technology by field staff. The feedback we received proved they were happy to have a system in place that could provide visibility of the challenges they face and the quality of their completed work to their managers immediately. The managers, on the other hand, were very impressed with the consistent and accurate data.”

Smith adds: “Once the full roll-out takes place we are looking to see a significant drop in remedial works, aborted works and fines, bringing considerable cost savings. These can be reinvested into delivering an even higher quality of service to our customers.”

Andy Hutt, chief executive of TriOpsis, says: “The industry is facing huge challenges to execute installations and maintenance of infrastructure efficiently and with minimum disruption. Visual Intelligence will assist Yorkshire Water to step up to this challenge, deliver quality assets through real-time visibility and control and become a standard bearer for efficiency within the water industry.”

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