Business Business

16/05/2019 - 08:27

Bringing Artificial Intelligence and the Internet into clean water management and production

"Industrial Revolution 4.0 is the driving force for the development of smart water supply systems, bringing artificial intelligence and the Internet into effective water production and business management." That is a statement by Mr. Truong Cong Nam, Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Water Supply Joint Stock Company (HueWACO), Standing commissioner of Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association, Chairman of Central Highlands Water Supply Association.

Mr. Truong Cong Nam, Chairman of HueWACO Board

According to Mr. Nam, since the early 90s, HueWACO had initially applied information technology in business and production management such as applying Picolo software on hydraulic calculation; on managing invoices instead of handwritten invoices; on estimating, settling, and managing materials ...

By 2000, HueWACO continued to promote the application of information technology in the fields of accounting and production management... HueWACO installed equipment to measure and record water quality continuously 24/7, including 3 important indicators: turbidity, pH level and residual chlorine level for the first 4 factories: Quang Te, Tu Ha, Hoa Binh Chuong and Nam Dong. The equipment has now been installed for Phong Thu, Loc An and Chan May factories. 

In 5/2019, the company will complete the installation of 30 online water quality measurement points, a total of 34 online water quality measurement points on the provincial water supply network. The water quality is monitored 24/7 from the factory to the water supply network. Information of water quality is digitized into chemical testing software, showing water quality indicators in graphs or tables, export data integrated into HueWACO website, and published to all customers that the water quality is safe and fresh.

One of the largest scientific and technological achievements of the water sector is the successful application of the SCADA system. At HueWACO, how is this system applied, sir?

The SCADA system was first applied in Quang Te 2 factory in 2009. Up to now, this system has been set up in factories, contributing to improving water treatment efficiency, saving labor, electricity and chemicals. HueWACO is almost fully automated in water treatment production.

Recently, HueWACO has taken a new step by integrating SCADA data at Quang Te 2 factory to the central server to ensure data security when the factory has trouble. It also allows us to access information on the operational indicators at anytime, anywhere with a computer or smartphone.

Construction of the pipeline at Ngu Ha River

In addition, all pressurized transit stations and more than 30 booster stations on the network are set to automatic operation and remote monitoring. In the coming time, we will put into operation the control center at Van Nien factory, supervise all factories and pressurized transit stations to ensure continuous water supply, reasonable pressure and water security throughout the province.

What is the field of supplying and distribution of water like?

HueWACO has successfully built the overall water supply network management system, built a digital mapping system, managed information on network assets and factory assets on a common platform.

Asset data collection with smartphones doubles productivity and saves labor costs. In addition, this system connects with 382 dataloggers on the network, and monitors and alerts threshold indicators on the web and smartphone with 24/7 control.

Currently, HueWACO is researching to pilot the application of smart meters to transfer data automatically in place of the customers' existing mechanical water meters.

In 2019, HueWACO signed cooperation with Fluidit Software Company (Finland) to apply hydraulic calculation in planning and designing water supply network and analyzing pump operation to save electricity and perform leak analysis...

Industrial Revolution 4.0 has a great impact on customer services. Can you share what changes HueWACO has made to improve service quality?

HueWACO built a Customer Care Center (Call center) in 2013, to receive and promptly respond to customers' problems. Simultaneously, we put into use 100 wireless barcode scanning machines and applications to print the water bill with mobile printers.

Immediately after recording the meter index, the customer knows in advance the water bill they will have to pay. HueWACO is the leading company in the water industry to deploy the application of electronic invoices (July 2015) instead of paper bills in water payment. We also linked with banks and electronic wallets to facilitate the payment through electronic transaction channels in place of cash.

Human resource training is considered an important solution to adapt to Industrial Revolution 4.0

In 2014, HueWACO completed collecting customer information; all information on monthly water fees, suspension of water supply ... were sent via text messages, helping customers quickly grasp information, reduce the cost of printing documents as well as human resources implementation. In 2017, HueWACO built an application (customer care app) to connect and take care of customers via mobile devices.

Is it true that business management must also apply information technology, sir?

In operating the company, HueWACO has completed the information system and is promoting digitalization. We are cooperating with Finnish partners, installing water resources quality monitoring stations to promptly detect incidents of water resources, as well as installing water quality monitoring points on the water supply network and the pressurized transit stations in the ADB project. We have also initiated the application of water quality management to replace the old software. We have completed the GIS - AMS consolidated asset management application; consolidating digital documents and office applications, managing work through smartphones ...

Industrial Revolution 4.0 has been creating challenges. What do you think is the biggest challenge that HueWACO is facing?

Industrial Revolution 4.0 is not just pure technology development, but it affects many other areas as well. So, to master the technology and human resources is an extremely important task.

For the water supply industry, the big problem is to provide water in sufficient quantity, with high quality, reasonable pressure, ensuring water security when there are incidents of natural disasters, enemy sabotage; and construction of sustainable water supply facilities to better serve local socio-economic development needs.

Is high-quality human resource a key factor?

Yes. All advanced technology will become meaningless if people do not master it. Therefore, over the past years, besides investment in technology development, we have built HueWACO development strategy, focusing on human resource strategy.

Every year, we organize domestic training for thousands of workers and specialized engineers. There are more than 15 specialized water supply and drainage engineers doing short-term training abroad in countries such as Japan, Australia, Korea, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands; and many domestic training activities are organized and internal training is promoted...

Thank you for the talk!

Interview by Hoang Loan