Home5GBT switches on NB-IoT in UK to underpin country’s “largest” smart water pilot

BT switches on NB-IoT in UK to underpin country’s “largest” smart water pilot

UK water utility Yorkshire Water is in the final stages of an NB-IoT and AI pilot with BT to connect almost 4,000 acoustic, flow, pressure, and water quality monitors to manage leaks and interruptions in the water network in the north of England. 

BT, which owns UK mobile operator EE, has switched on NB-IoT for the first time on the back of the project, which is billed as the “UK’s largest smart water network pilot”. Yorkshire Water said final NB-IoT installations are underway. It said NB-IoT will deliver “significant improvements in data quality and battery life”, enabling it to identify and prevent leaks and network incidents more accurately.

The pilot will integrate data from new and existing sources, and present it in a single management dashboard, which will include a digital twin of the water network in the region. The platform will use artificial intelligence (AI) to cluster data sets, and remove false positives, to accurately inform asset and operational decision making, it said.

Other companies involved in the project include Itron, Sensus, Arqiva, HWM, ATi, Inflowmatix, Syrinix, Invenio, Ovarro, Temetra, Technolog, Gutermann, Elster (Honeywell), Stantec and Xylem. Yorkshire Water specified acoustic loggers from Gutermann, pressure loggers from Technolog, and flow meters from Honeywell will utilise the NB-IoT network to transmit their data.

Nevil Muncaster, chief strategy and regulation officer at Yorkshire Water, said: “We recognise that on top of our commitments to our customers and the environment, we need to play our part in regional development where we can – perhaps even more so than ever in these challenging times. 

“It’s great that through this innovative pilot we’ve been able to accelerate the introduction of NB-IoT to the area in Sheffield. NB-IoT has the potential to provide greater access for local businesses to take advantage of the advancement in IoT technology, which can only be a good thing for economic growth within the region.”

Sarah Walker, director for BT’s enterprise business in the North of England, said: “The pilot deployment of NB-IoT signals a move to a more data driven world enabling millions of connected devices to send and receive data, transforming the way we live and work in the future. We are continually looking at how we deliver innovative and next generation connectivity for our customers. 

She added: “We already offer our customers the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network, and we were first to the market with 5G in the UK. Partnering with Yorkshire Water and enabling our NB-IoT network for the first time reinforces our commitment to lean into and embrace all network technologies to support these exciting trials with data driven outcomes.”

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