LONDON, May 16, 2013 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has been appointed as the Technology and Innovation Partner in the Thames Water AMP6 Alliance. IBM together with Thames Water will create innovative strategies by analyzing big data and social media with the aim of improving operations and customer interaction while preparing the water company for future transformation. As part of the alliance IBM will help shape the water company's business plan which supports essential improvements to aging water and sewer networks across London and the Thames Valley.
Thames Water provides clean and wastewater services to 14 million households and businesses in London and the South East of England - more than any other UK Water Company. The alliance, the biggest in the UK Water Sector, is set to carry out between £2bn and £3bn of work and signals a complete transformation in the way Thames Water operates.
"We have a significant amount of work to do upgrading our deteriorating infrastructure over the next 25 years and beyond, while keeping customers' bills affordable. If we are to achieve this a different approach is required," said Lawrence Gosden, Asset Director, Thames Water.
"Our focus will be on delivering value, as opposed to just cost-efficiency. We will take a long-term view, as well as making sure we meet our shorter-term goals. By forming this early, two years before the start of the next five-year regulatory period, we stand the best possible chance of delivering the safest, most sustainable and most innovative solutions - those which don't necessarily involve simply pouring concrete."
Based on collaboration, innovation and sustainability, Thames Water aims to integrate its supply chain with business planning to improve outcomes pre set for the next regulatory period (AMP6) between 2015-2020. Additionally, the alliance will focus on boosting safety, reducing total expenditure and environmental impact alongside lowering energy and chemical costs.
As the Technology and Innovation Partner, IBM will introduce Big Data analytical capabilities to provide deep insight into existing business and service data. The analysis will provide valuable information to help identify innovation opportunities to transform the management of assets, interaction with customers and suppliers and how key risks to the business are proactively managed. Other key areas being targeted include smart metering, treatment processes, the application of nanotechnology for energy production and environmental pollution prevention.
"As the water industry continues to transform finding smarter ways to make operations more efficient while preparing for future growth is a major priority for companies today," said IBM Europe Vice President of Energy and Utilities Graham Butler. "IBM is at the heart of developing Thames Water's transformation strategy with Smart and Intelligent Water Solutions which underpin its continued ambition to have the very best health and safety performance while providing customers with the best value for money."
IBM will also create innovative opportunities for Thames Water to deliver long-term value and maximize experience for customers. These activities include analyzing a range of social media channels including blogs, online forums and Twitter to create real-time public opinion snapshots, identifying trends and usage behavior while understanding how consumers feel toward the brand. This valuable analysis can be used to identify new ways of transforming the Thames Water front office to continue improving customer communication and service levels.
"As the world enters a new era where decisions are based on facts and data, Thames Water is taking the lead in innovating by applying big data analytics to extract very precise business insights," said IBM UK and Ireland GBS Smarter Energy Lead Jon Bentley. "As a result of the innovation, data analytics and smart technology IBM will bring to the alliance, Thames Water can create new value by making smarter decisions regarding its capital works program and its approach to asset management and operation, delivering better customer service as a result."
For the first 18 months IBM, Thames Water and the Alliance Partners will collaborate to co-create the AMP6 business plan and define the scope of technology and innovation services they will deliver. IBM will also assess future technology deployments throughout AMP6 and into the following regulatory period to identify options to further improve system performance.
Thames Water's AMP6 alliance is made up of two 'design and build' consortia, a program manager and a technology and innovation provider. The organizations selected are as follows:
- Design and Build: Costain, Veolia Atkins (CVA) and Skanska MWH Balfour Beatty (SMB)
- Program Manager: MWH UK
- Technology and Innovation Provider: IBM
The contract awarded will be for an initial seven-year period up to a maximum overall term of 12 years.