Water Journal : Current August 2017
www.awa.asn.au 32 Internet of Things “Now we’ve gone through and taken aerial imagery and surveys of all of our sewer treatment plants and our reservoirs,” Howarth said. The drones also let the council conduct detailed surveys of all the installed water and sewer infrastructure – including stormwater pipes and pits – in new developments before construction starts on houses. Howarth acknowledged that limitations in the type and number of sensors and cameras that can be installed on drones impose some limitations. However, the ‘smart’ aspect means it can remotely transmit data in real-time to water system management tools like SCADA – which is a huge benefit. “It gives us fidelity in our actual built network, and we can map that data into our geographic information system,” he said. RAISING THE BAR With multiple IoT vendors supplying various sensors and devices over a range of network platforms, standards for the IoT sector are an emerging challenge. KPMG’s Hogarth-Scott said an arms race of sorts is beginning to develop in the space, but that ultimately multiple technologies will have to be used. “No single vendor can deliver an end-to-end solution; it requires an ecosystem of technologies to come together,” he said. Taggle’s Halliwell agreed, and said that different context will naturally demand different network solutions. “For example, Taggle employs a one-way communication system. An NB-IoT device requires more power to drive two-way communications technology,” he said. “The big LPWAN technologies – Taggle, LoRaWAN, Sigfox, NB-IoT – will all have their applications.” While IoT uses multiple network platforms, all in the industry agree that a universal, open-specification standard such as Hypercat is needed so that different devices from various vendors can be interoperable. “The British Government has supported Hypercat for several years to really drive IoT interoperability,” Hogarth-Scott said. “We have been encouraging the Australian Government to adopt the standard in Australia.” PANDORA’S BOX Maintaining security is another challenge for IoT networks and devices. For example, last October IoT devices were used in a PIPELINES AND INFRASTRUCTURE Arrays of thousands of sensors monitor acoustics, pressure and flow. Single-use disposable devices record pipeline images. Autonomous, in-pipe drones receive data on faults and carry out repairs. Smart multi-meters are installed at individual residences. HOME IoT sensors on showerheads and appliances provide consumers with real-time data on water use. NATURE ANATOMY OF THE IOT By 2030, there will be a trillion connected devices. But will it all be wifi toasters and Fitbits? While IoT-enabled appliances might be attractive for consumers, in the water sector the majority of IoT growth will be found in water reticulation networks, catchments and the natural environment. The use of drones and autonomous devices will increase, and with the rising focus on the effects of climate change, underground sensors monitoring groundwater levels and water quality in catchment areas will become standard. Here’s what this might look like. Remote, underground sensors in catchment areas monitor water quality and levels. IoT-connected gauges gather rainfall and other climate data. Aerial drones transmit real-time data on reservoir levels, algae blooms and remote infrastructure.
Current May 2017