Northumbrian Water’s Head of Innovation has been outlining what she expects to be the most innovative trends making a splash in the water industry during 2020.


Angela MacOscar has, in between planning for the company’s fourth Innovation Festival this summer and working with Anglian Water on the sequel to the Innovate East event later this year, been busy overseeing the water company’s progress on a number of new leading ideas and projects that are expected to make big waves in the water industry in the coming months.


Customers can expect to hear lots more about the ‘barnacle’, 5g powered super sensitive sewer sensors and ‘Dragonfly’ as the company begins to prototype and roll out these brand new inventions across the North East in the new year.


She said: "2020 is going to be a huge year for us here at Northumbrian Water. It’s set to be a really exciting 12 months for the company, for the industry as a whole and for all of our customers.


"We’ve got a lot of innovation ideas being worked on that have come from previous research projects, and innovation festivals, and we’re expecting a number of these to come to a head during 2020 and be in a position to get them rolled out into households and our networks.


"We innovate to make a difference. For our customers, for our employees, for our communities and for our environment. Expect big things from us in 2020."


Angela and her team have spent time looking at what innovations that they think will have a big impact on the water industry during 2020.


These are the 10 innovation trends to watch out for:


1. Collaboration – The new £200 million innovation fund announced by OFWAT will kickstart more collective innovation working across the sector and lead to exciting outcomes for customers. Innovate East in September will be a particular hot ticket!


2. Thinking bigger – Working together and sharing the risks will focus the sector on tackling some of the biggest and most difficult challenges. Autonomous sewer inspection robots, anyone? Or how about those non-invasive leak repair technologies for in-service water mains?


3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 2020 will be the year when AI will finally start to live up to the hype and deliver real limitless business benefits.


4. Digital Twins - Digital Twins will cement itself as THE decision support tool for operational applications going forward.


5. Improved human interface – CMEX will trigger new and creative ways to deliver great customer experiences.


6. Less and safer digging – Underground mapping will help reduce utility strikes, make excavation less frequent and much safer for our people in all industries.


7. Better employee wellbeing – Through the introduction of physical monitoring equipment (wearables) and interaction with smart devices we’ll be able to track mental and physical wellness and help our people more than ever before.


8. Super IoT (Internet of Things)– Our use of sensors and IoT will significantly increase as reducing costs make the mass use of this technology more possible. Innovation projects such as Barnacle, Dragonfly and the Torpedo (smart sewer device) are capitalising on this to create sector leading possibilities.


9. Computer vision – The improved ability to identify places, objects and people via camera or sensor will allow us to extend the use of this medium. We already have Utileyes and Mobileye. Health & safety and asset tagging applications are next in scope.


10. – 5G internet is already here at Northumbrian Water, as we’ve just kicked off our first trial with o2. It’ll be a huge enabler for IoT and smart machinery due to the increased band width allowing us to collect and transfer more data. 


For more information on the above visit the following links: