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We get people want like-minded partners

David O’Brien, Head of Utilities at O2, talks about how we are helping Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) in their mission to become the world’s most digital water company

Sometimes finding a partner with a similar mindset and culture that shares your values or ethos is as important as their ability to deliver a product or provide a service.

That’s what NWG was looking for when they approached O2 with ambitious plans to lead the world in digital technology for water companies. The starting point was NWG’s digital strategy, which combined a range of initiatives including unified communications, cloud, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and integrated services These all working together to improve efficiencies and develop new ways of working and communicating.

We’ve been working with NWG to turn their digital strategy into reality in a number of key ways:

1. Communication

One of NWG’s key aims was to engage more fully with both their employees and customers. That’s why one of the first challenges we addressed was to help NWG’s employees work together more effectively and improve communication with their customers. We spent time learning about NWG’s ambitions and issues, and worked closely with them to develop a series of bespoke solutions.

2. Intelligence

Burst mains and leaking pipes affect every water supplier, but NWG is turning to technology to help. O2 is providing a reliable, secure network that will enable smart technologies like Internet of Things sensors coupled with AI and machine learning to detect and even predict leaks. Other innovations include the Utileyes app which allows customers to send video of a problem direct to NWG’s Customer Centre.

3. Mobile

We get that it’s unproductive for field workers to have to return to the office to complete paperwork and process their work. With our award winning mobile network underpinning their workforce management, time is saved, efficiency is approved and duplication is reduced. Field workers can record and process their work whilst traveling with the need for a trip to the office.

4. Community

When two organisations have a shared mindset and values, working together feels effortless. O2 and NWG have also partnered to deliver a number of events, to help engage both their employees and the local community.

“Right now we’re working with O2 and a company called Jobskilla to take people out of long-term unemployment and find them their first job by equipping them with the right digital skills and then finding them a role within our business. I love that we’re doing that with O2, it’s a great programme very much needed in our region.”

Nigel Watson, NWG’s Group Director of Information Services

It was a privilege to take part in NWG’s five-day Innovation Festival in July, where we hosted a design sprint focused on 5G and how it will transform the utilities industry. The result was a number of ideas including smart personal protective equipment, and a gamified smart watch app that encourages people to save water.

“O2 really threw themselves into the event. They really invested the time to understand our business and the problems that we’re trying to solve, and deliver the kind of experience that we want to deliver.”

Nigel Watson, NWG’s Group Director of Information Services

Does your organisation need help with digital infrastructure? We can help. Click here to read about other customers we have supported and to get in touch.


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