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Vodafone, South East Water pilot IoT solution to prevent leaks

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Vodafone is working with UK water supplier South East Water on a pilot project that could change the way the industry detects and prevents leaks.

The trial, which will use narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) as part of a smart water network, is currently underway in Kent.

The two companies have worked with partners to develop and connect specialist digital water meters, sensors and acoustic loggers on underground water pipes via the telecomm company’s NB-IoT network.

Data will be collected and analysed to monitor readings and alert South East Water in the event of a leak.

The advantage of using NB-IoT, which operates within a narrow radio band frequency, is that it offers wider coverage and deeper penetration than traditional networks.

It also requires reduced power to operate, so batteries within IoT devices such as sensors can last for up to 10 years before needing to be replaced.

“This is a really exciting project,” said Anne Sheehan, director of Vodafone Business. “NB-IoT technology has the power to transform the utilities sector. It provides a more accurate way of identifying and preventing leaks, helping companies like South East Water meet important regulatory and environmental standards. It is a perfect example of how technology can be used to create a more sustainable future and manage what is an increasingly precious commodity.”

“This trial is likely to revolutionise how we detect and prevent water leaks,” added South East Water’s operations director, Dr Simon Earl. “The solution has the potential to alert us to the smallest leak – in either our or our customers’ pipes – as soon as it occurs; and could even enable us to predict and prevent pipeline failure before it happens. This has the potential to reduce the water we take from the environment, further minimise interruptions to supply and increase the resilience of the service we provide to our customers.”

The trial currently underway in Kent is due to run for a year.