Building an Internet of Water for Flanders
Internet of Water Flanders is a four-year research project with a full-stack approach:
- the first tier is a network of 2500 wireless fluid sensors that permanently measure certain aspects of the quality of surface water, groundwater and treated domestic wastewater;
- the measurements are combined with other existing data sources and processed on a cloud data platform;
- algorithms and hydrological models analyse and visualize the data stream, and make predictions of future trends;
- actionable information is presented to users in the form of intelligent, easily accessible applications;
- water management authorities can rely on these insights to take short- and long-term actions to address challenges such as salinization and sewer overflows.
The project is designed around two key phases:
In the first phase, research project partners imec and VITO focus on the development and testing of the fluid sensors. The development of a robust and affordable device for accurate, long-term monitoring of a range of water quality indicators in an integrated manner, is one of the project’s greatest challenges. Such a monitoring network usually requires a combination of many different sensors, often at a price of hundreds to thousands of euros each, thus posing particular financial and logistical challenges to an endeavour such as Internet of Water Flanders. Therefore, the project develops a sensor based on system-on-chip integration.
In the second phase, in 2022 and 2023, the development and testing of the sensors will be followed by the full roll-out of the network and the development of the analytical software. Thus, within 4 years, the IoW Flanders partners will jointly realize an operational fine-grained monitoring and forecasting system that can be scaled for deployment in other world regions. Because of its ability to continuously monitor several quality aspects of surface and ground water resources, it has the exceptional potential to support our future water-policy decisions.
Industry partners needed
To enroll a performant Internet of Water Flanders, the project partners depend on the expertise and know-how of specialized suppliers. In the coming period we are looking for partners for the following aspects:
Production and assembly of the sensor: The sensors consist of different parts. These must be produced and then assembled into a working sensor.
Installation of the sensors: The sensors are installed throughout Flanders. When rolling out the sensor network, we are looking for a supplier that supports the consortium in this project phase.
Maintenance of the sensors: The sensor network must also be maintained. As soon as the sensors are installed, maintenance work must be carried out at regular intervals. We are also looking for a specialized partner for this.
The Cloud platform: The data will be sent to a cloud platform. Both the infrastructure and the maintenance of this platform must be provided.
Network communication: The sensors will use network communication protocols. The requirements for the protocols will be determined in the coming period and then placed on the market.
In the course of the coming years we will launch a number of tender dossiers* and bring them to the market.
* Internet of Water Flanders and its partners are bound by the procurement procedures concerning government contracts.
Developing new use cases with stakeholders
Internet of Water Flanders involves its stakeholders and relevant market parties to develop use cases of real-time measuring water quality indicators. Salinization and discharges into surface water are two important use cases that are already in development. In time additional use cases will follow.
To optimize the interaction with the industry and different stakeholders, the Internet of Water Flanders project organises events and surveys for its stakeholders. This will help us to develop our use cases in an appropriate way.
Active involvement in various external events at home and abroad and on a regular basis will establish a permanent dialogue with various (international) stakeholders.