Olea Edge enables utility revenue recovery with new platform
Texas-based tech company Olea Edge Analytics (OEA) has announced the creation of a real-time platform for monitoring water utilities in cities.
Citing the economic damage already inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, OEA proposes that a simple method for recovering lost city revenue can be via the increased efficiency and accuracy of water usage measuring devices.
With both New York and Los Angeles predicting the loss of large sums of tax revenue, mitigating water utility losses with improved meters and monitoring systems in a city like New York (population 8.4mn) could yield profitable results.
Infrastructure for a smart city
OEA is managing to utilise cutting-edge cloud, edge computing, IoT and AI technology to quickly identify an issue, diagnose the cause and recommend a solution. The efficiency of the system is such that a repair costing only a few hundred dollars could save thousands.
“Commercial water meters can lose accuracy by more than 10% per year. If you can find this loss quickly you can capture a huge amount of revenue,” said Dave Mackie, OEA’s’ founder and CEO.
“Now more than ever, it is important for cities to recover as much revenue as they can. Every nickel saved is necessary for the health of cities and their communities.”
Excitement for the company’s platform intensified in late-February when OEA managed to raise $9mn in a Series B funding round. This has led to a nationwide expansion programme, with OEA hoping to play a critical role in the US’ rejuvenation.
"We believe Olea’s technology is going to play an outsized role in ensuring the health of the water sector over the coming decade,” commented Mike Cormack, Partner at Renewal Funds, which led the investment.
“For the past decade, Renewal has actively supported water technology entrepreneurs and we are thrilled to be partnered with the team at Olea.”
Partnering with Google
At the heart of OEA’s platform is Google’s cloud, which stores the gathered smart data from IoT equipment used to measure water meters and renders it available for analysis.
The equipment itself is a mixture of cameras, vibration-detection sensors to detect the flow of water and rotational sensors to track a meter’s movement. Edge computing capabilities facilitate analysis at the source, even in difficult conditions.
“It’s really the future of water. They turn analogue meters into digital meters with built-in analytics,” said Gary Wong, Chairman for North America at SWAN (Smart Water Networks Forum).
“Olea Edge Analytics lets cities instantly measure under-billing from meters that may have been under-charging companies in the past.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.