Made Smarter Technology Accelerator – Riscon Solutions Ltd X Northumbrian Water Group

Remotely monitoring drinking water quality

If drinking water quality can be remotely monitored, the data provided in near real time could prevent contamination from reaching customers and prevent costly failures in the network. This would result in cost savings for the water utilities, as well as maintaining a safe, high quality water supply. Northumbrian Water Limited, one of the industry challenge owners for the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator, wanted to partner with innovators who could help them by developing a viable solution.

Northumbrian Water Limited selected the Riscon-Inventia (now Telkoa) partnership to work with. Riscon had experience in water, and Inventia had digital expertise, making their combined skillsets ideal for developing an end to-end solution from scratch.

Innovation/industry collaboration drives real results

Working closely with Northumbrian Water, Riscon-Inventia developed, deployed and tested a solution with good results. The solution used networked sensors with two-way control that were deployed in the water network. Data was fed to a cloud analytics dashboard for tracking, and a risk management framework was used to determine when alerts are triggered. The technology involved had three distinct layers that needed planning and solving, then integrating into one coherent offering.

While some outstanding issues remained (relating to sensor battery life and ongoing maintenance costs), the system was successful – despite the technical challenges involved in deploying IoT devices in a remote and hostile environment.

Digital Catapult’s support in facilitating customer interactions, guiding business case understanding, building relationships and enabling customer engagement significantly contributed to Riscon-Inventia’s success in developing a viable solution during the programme.

The future looks promising

The potential business impact for the Riscon-Telkoa partnership is significant. The UK water utilities market is potentially worth £10 million to them, and – providing additional change management work is undertaken – the water companies themselves could each save £5-10 million a year.

Andrew Blenkharn, Technical Policy Manager, Northumbrian Water Limited, said:

“New digital technologies are giving us the ability to get real data at a granular level within our network. It’s enabling us to make better decisions, target investments, and – overall – deliver a better service.”

Roger Singleton, Managing Director, Riscon, said:

“The key benefit of the MSTA was the ability to interact with the customer in a defined way over a good length of time. This allowed real solutions to be developed – if this had been a purely commercial sales funnel, I don’t think this would have happened.”

5 minutes with Roger Singleton, MD, Riscon Solutions Ltd

Talk us through an average day in the life of a Riscon employee?

While each day is different, there is a common thread that runs through our days at Riscon Solutions Ltd. Startup life is all about thinking creatively to solve problems and add value.

So, a typical day could be described simply in five steps:

Identify a problem
Think about how to solve the problem and add more value
Solve the problem
Add value
Repeat, repeat, repeat!
What’s the best thing about startup life for you?

Agility, opportunity and visualising a brighter future.

What’s it been like working with Northumbrian Water Group?

It’s been absolutely fantastic working with Northumbrian Water Group. The team’s commitment to the project has been amazing. There is a real internal drive there to solve this problem and it’s been a pleasure to be on this journey with them.

How do you think digital technologies are going to impact the water industry?

Digital technologies have the potential to send huge waves through all industries, but crucially, these technologies allow for full scale system visualisation for the first time.

What are your hopes for the future of your solution?

My hopes for our solutions align with the vision that is the DNA of Riscon:

“People using information with confidence and purpose, to achieve great results.”

What are your biggest learnings from the programme to date?

People are everything to a project’s success, so my advice would be get good people in place early. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a great team on this project.

What are you most excited about heading into the minimum viable product phase of the programme?

Learning about how to take a product to market. Taking a solution from seed to shelf is not something everyone will get to do in their lifetime, and it’s a really exciting time for us.

About Riscon and Telkoa

Riscon is a UK-based global consulting company specialising in information and knowledge management, including Net Zero planning, implementation guidance and reporting. Their engineers, IT professionals and scientists collaborate through strategic partnerships to enact change and provide the best outcomes for clients.

Telkoa (formerly Inventia) is mobile and IoT company thriving to improve networks and create innovative IoT services. They provide actionable insights, help reduce costs, increase ARPU, and enable new services for telcos and IoT providers.

Website: and

About the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator

The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator (MSTA) was designed to create opportunities for collaborative change that would deliver impact for industry. The programme enabled four innovative startups to produce a minimal viable product to address a specific industry challenge. As well as support from Digital Catapult, tech sponsors and the industry challenge owners, the programme provided funding of £100,000 per project.

Part of the national Made Smarter movement, the MSTA was delivered by Digital Catapult and funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund.

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