Ericsson@World Water Week – showing how the IoT solves real-world issues
World Water Week is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues, closely aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #6 (Water). Experts, practitioners, decision makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today.
2018 marks the fourth time that Ericsson has participated in World Water Week. This year we arranged two sessions: a showcase session on environmental monitoring on the first day (Sunday, August 26th) and an afternoon field trip to Ericsson Studio on Monday.
Connected Environmental Monitoring
We convened the showcase session together with the City of Stockholm. Our Portfolio Manager Ruchi Verma kicked off with a presentation of our Connected Environmental Monitoring (CEM) solution. Then the City of Stockholm and the CEO Water Mandate (which drives the UN Global Compact Water Action Platform) presented two projects that will use CEM to improve water quality monitoring – one in a city environment and the other in an agricultural environment.
Due to rising sea levels, the City of Stockholm faces an increased risk of flooding and associated threats to its fresh water supply. As a result, they need to monitor water quality throughout the water cycle more often and in more places. Digitalization with IoT is one of the most promising technologies to address this need.
In the agriculture case, we are working with the CEO Water Mandate on a Viticulture project to address the urgent issues of water scarcity and water quality in vineyards in California, together with the California Vineyard Alliance.
During the showcase session we also took the opportunity to talk about the innovation “Ericsson Weather Data”, a concept that uses existing micro-links infrastructure to report precipitation. Based on the knowledge that microwaves are sensitive to raindrops, we have worked with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) to translate the impact on the microwaves in order to measure real-time precipitation. So far we have projects up and running in Sweden and Germany, and we have a new one starting in Rwanda. Several other cities and countries have expressed interest in the concept, as weather stations are quite expensive to install.
Field trip to Ericsson Studio
On the second day of WWW Ericsson hosted a field trip to Ericsson Studio. The water experts who joined us were interested to learn more about how IoT can solve many of the issues they face, from leaking water systems to efficient decision support and citizen engagement. We also talked about our CEM offering again, this time focusing on the iWater project in Stockholm.
Our Ericsson Studio visit included an interactive session using an app to pose questions to involve the audience. We started out asking them about the barriers to increasing IoT implementation (or to start using it). According to the water experts, the most urgent barriers were uncertainty about cost and business models, and lack of general knowledge. Our XaaS model was therefore very compelling to them. We also asked questions relating to general knowledge about what digital technology can do. Many participants came forward at the end to thank us for the visit and discuss what CEM can be used for.
From WWW to WEF and beyond
Our participation at WWW has become an important aspect of our water-related work at Ericsson. Ruchi and I made a lot of new connections with this year’s attendees that we will be following up on in the coming weeks and months. As a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Ericsson is also involved with organizations such as the WEF Water Community, where we are starting a cities project on water issues with a focus on resilience. The aim is to better understand the capabilities of the cities that are leaders in addressing water issues, and map out which cities are in the process of taking the step to actively address their water issues.
At Ericsson we know that IoT technology has great potential to help address many of the world’s water issues. By sharing our knowledge and expertise with others, we hope to spur progress toward the achievement of SDG #6 (water).