The Winners of the First Digital Water Hackathon

July 28, 2021

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As we discussed in our blog post Trends in Water Management 2021, digitalization is central to optimizing water management as well as keeping water costs down. Big data analytics and advanced artificial intelligence methodologies are the backbone of today’s modern water data infrastructures. Highly precise and continuous monitoring of water usage and systems not only streamlines operations but also predicts failures so that they can be pre-empted.

A proven way to encourage innovation in any field is to let established industry players challenge aspiring entrepreneurs to come up with solutions for the real-world problems that they encounter on a daily basis. It is in this spirit that the first Digital Water Hackathon took place in Singapore from March to June of this year, under the theme of “Taming the Water Crisis”. In this blog post we describe who was behind the Hackathon, the problem statements that the participants were challenged with, and the winning innovative solutions.

About the Digital Water Hackathon (DWH) 2021

DWH 2021 was organized by the Ripple2Wave Incubator (R2WI), a Singapore-based, venture-backed ecosystem to nurture water technology startups, and the School of Science and Technology at SUSS, the Singapore University of Social Sciences. The stated goals of DWH 2021 were to create high potential startups and SMEs that can solve digital water issues, and to identify and encourage a talent pool for digital water technologies.

DWH 2021 had two categories:

  • Entry: For novice entrepreneurs whose proposed digital water solutions are at the conceptual stage, i.e., at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 or lower
  • Advanced: For local and global teams with solutions that are post-proof-of-concept (POC) and ready to be deployed, i.e., at a TRL of 4 and above.

DWH 2021 was supported by other notable Singapore organizations including A*StartCentral, an open innovation platform, Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the Public Utilities Board (PUB). In addition to monetary prizes, the participants were also vying for potential POC deals, global exposure to the digital water ecosystem, business development partnerships, and industry networking and mentorship.

Registration was kicked off on December 21 2020 and a business and technology Bootcamp was held March 6-13 2021. The participants continued building their prototypes during the Deep Mentoring phase (March 22-June 15), with biweekly mentoring from industry and business experts. June 23rd was Demo Day, at the end of which the winners were announced.

The Problem Statements

Perhaps the greatest value that emerging entrepreneurs can get from a hackathon is the chance to learn directly from industry players about significant problems that do not yet have viable solutions. The DWH 2021 participants were invited to address one or more of the following six problem statements from various proposers:

  • Monitoring and predicting the performance of pumps and other water-related equipment (PUB)
  • Leak detection and prediction in water pipes (PUB)
  • Reliable, low-cost method to detect toxicity events in industrial wastewater treatment plants (Sembcorp Industries)
  • Reliable, low-cost monitoring and control for small-scale, remote industrial wastewater treatment plants (Sembcorp)
  • Realtime optimization of a wastewater treatment plant based on ultra filtration (Sembcorp)
  • Contaminant estimation in different event scenarios, using several sensor data sources (Optiqua, ZWEEC)

The Winners

There were 47 entries from eight countries (France, Taiwan, India, Denmark, USA, Bulgaria, Israel, and Singapore), of which eight teams were selected to present their solutions at the virtual Demo Day. The judging criteria were: how well the solution fit the problem; innovation; commercial viability; and the quality of the team and its presentation of the solution.

Here is a summary of the winners:

Team Name

Solution

Prizes and Other Awards

ENTRY CATEGORY

Neptune

Next-generation robotic “AI Leak Cam” and other ML-based expert systems for 6 mission types: patrol, detect, confirm, ether, repair, supervise)

$1k cash + $5k Alibaba Cloud Credits

ADVANCED CATEGORY

Datakrew

AIoT platform that predicts faults by analyzing machinery vibration signatures, with realtime insights shown on 3D digital twin models. It is applicable to both water utilities and wastewater treatment facilities.

·  $2k cash + $5k Alibaba Cloud Credits

·  Pilot trial with Sembcorp

·  Fast-tracked as a finalist in the C-Shark Tank TV program

Teredo Analytics

Proprietary hardware and ML algorithms for timely and comprehensive insights into pipeline integrity

Selected by PUB to test their solutions on-site, with guidance from in-house experts

Memsing

Uses intrusive and non-intrusive MEMS-hydrophone sensors and AI algorithms in a miniaturized, low-power hydrophone leak detection solution for distribution pipe networks.

 

The Final Note

From Day 1 over seventy years ago, innovation has been part of the DNA of the Arad Group. Each year we invest a large proportion of our annual revenues in R&D in order to better address our customers’ water monitoring and management pain points. We wish the best of luck to all the participants in the Digital Water Hackathon and look forward to more events that will showcase novel solutions for the world of digital water.

References

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