As a leading data analytics player in the global water market, Innovyze has built a reputation for creating best-in-class modelling software. Here, the company’s Director of AI Products, James Legue, tells Verdict about its use of AI technology to help customers minimise wastewater and further reduce costs.

What are the sustainability benefits of Inovyze’s solutions?

We take a global view of this situation. Innovyze was offered the chance to speak at the United Nations a year ago. While there, we talked about global water demand, which is expected to increase 55% by 2050 as estimated by the UN. At that point the world’s population will be about ten billion.
Water is a finite resource on our planet, and having the ability to create more using less resource is a priority. Companies need to streamline their operations and make efficiency savings.
They should be able to continue the same levels of service while consuming less energy and fewer chemicals, and by using less water. That’s where our solution sits in the conversation around sustainability. It’s about making sure water continues to serve the global population as it grows and remains available to our people and industries. As the world continues to grow, we’re excited to help it maintain the levels of water it needs to thrive.

Why is your solution important in the context of recession and the global pandemic?

Our AI solution is a software as a service (SaaS) product, which means we can install and monitor the system remotely, and the customer can access it remotely. That’s been a huge advantage for our customers, because a lot of water utilities have been under lockdown during the pandemic. Generally, companies aren’t physically letting staff in and out of plants and systems, so being able to access things remotely has been a huge win for them.

Secondly, many companies have been operating with a skeleton staff during the pandemic, and they’re trying to save on costs because now they’ll be making less in revenue themselves. So, while operating on reduced budgets and a skeleton staff, having a system like ours, that can help companies optimise their operations and save them money on that budget, is very attractive.

We’ve also been able to offer six-month payback guarantees to customers, ensuring that they get those savings.

What is the history of Innovyze?

For over 35 years, Innovyze has been building innovative, industry-leading software for the water industry. We have thousands of clients around the world, including some of the largest utilities’ businesses and we’re active in around 60 countries.

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With the recent acquisition of Emagin and the integration of its AI software into our portfolio of products, we’re expanding our reach. We’re no longer just going after water utilities, but the industrial water sector as a whole. That means industries like pulp and paper, food and beverage and metals and mining. As experts with a long history in the sector, we can help any industry that uses water heavily.

What makes Innovyze special?

Looking at the Innovyze operation globally, I’d say it’s our AI solutions combined with our strong background in modelling that sets us apart. Over our 35-year history, we’ve created strong modelling software that allows water utilities to monitor their entire networks, as well as anticipate the impact of any changes to their systems. By adding AI technology to our portfolio, now we’re also able to optimise the operations of those systems.
For example, our AI optimizes running your aeration blowers and chemical dosage setpoints, while maintaining operational constraints and effluent compliance limits. Those two aspects paired together – the AI engine and our modelling software – really gives us our uniqueness in the market. Our customers trust us because of our strong 35-year history, and we’ve been able to successfully leverage that trust to incorporate our AI, which is clearly a much newer innovation in the industry. It’s given us a way to leapfrog ahead with the new technology.

What are the key pain points for customers which your AI solution addresses?

Mainly, it helps to address and reduce those high operational expenditure costs for our customers. And generally, that’s done by reducing levels of energy and chemical consumption. Energy is a huge cost for everyone in the world, including our customers, so reducing the amount of energy you use gives you a huge advantage. Our solution also helps with reducing staff costs and turnover, and maintaining compliance. There are many compliance and regulatory procedures that water utilities have to abide by to operate, and our AI can ensure they continue to abide by them.