Alon Tal testing water supply 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Alon Tal)
A new data analytics technology will enable water utilities to closely monitor
water consumption patterns in order to pinpoint system glitches or leakages from
In partnership with Israel’s Arad Metering Technologies – known for
its Dialog3G and City-Mind smart water metering systems used around the world –
Haifa-based IBM Research Lab scientists have developed “Big Data” algorithms
that can harness the plethora of consumption data collected by utility meter
readings and sensors.
Big Data is able to outline typical consumption
patterns in individual households at various points of the day and from there,
identify if an abnormality is affecting the system.
“When you have this
data there are a lot of interesting things you can do with it, which is the
beauty and the fun of the program,” Pnina Vortman, head of the Smarter Water
Program at IBM Research Labs in Haifa, told The Jerusalem Post on
The partnership between Arad and IBM began four years ago, when
IBM researchers began analyzing data collected by Arad smart meters from the
north of Israel. From there, they were able to develop a series of algorithms
based on machine learning that are able to analyze consumption data and reveal
consumption patterns, Vortman explained.
“The more data you have, the
better they are,” she said, noting that the machine “learns” and creates the
algorithms based on the data.
“Fortunately enough with the Arad
technology there is a lot of data.”
One problem that can be identified by
analyzing the consumption patterns is a faulty metering system. If a meter
reveals almost zero consumption, this could reveal that a family is on vacation,
an apartment is empty, a meter has broken or system tampering has occurred,
Today, water utilities send technicians in such cases to
identify the source of the minimal usage.
However, by incorporating the
new Big Data system, a more precise analysis of the family’s consumption
patterns and historical information will allow the utility to reduce the need
for an on-site technician, Vortman explained.
Field tests conducted by
IBM and Arad have shown that the analytics will reduce the requirement of a
worker visit by about 50 percent, according to the companies.
Vortman said the technology can also predict if a leak is occurring in a home or
an apartment building.
In addition to individual apartment water meters,
an entire building has a common consumption meter. If a leak occurs in the
overall system, the extra consumption will be divided equally among the
histories of all of the households and will be easily identifiable. The
analytics technologies can detect even the smallest of leaks, Vortman
“By analyzing the data that is produced during the night you
can detect very small leaks,” she said. “If you see a very steady type of
consumption, than it’s a leak.”
The new IBM consumption pattern analytics
program will be integrated into the Arad smart metering system.
added that municipalities employing the system will have the opportunity to
choose the service among their portfolio of options available from their Arad