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Africa data analytics icon a success story abroad

Africa data analytics icon a success story abroad

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town, South Africa
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – THE largest data science academy in Africa and the biggest private water utility in Europe have extended their highly-rated partnership aimed at conserving the precious liquid in the latter.

The ground-breaking consultancy agreement is between EXPLORE-AI, a Cape Town based technology consulting company, and British water utility, Thames Water.

Its expansion has culminated in EXPLORE-AI confirmed as a prefered Data Science partner.

It stems from 2019 when EXPLORE-AI, the consulting division within the EXPLORE Group (which also houses the Explore Data Science Academy, EDSA), was tasked with delivering the analytics involved in monitoring the water flow within Thames Water’s vast distribution piping network.

“We are delighted with being named as a preferred Data Science partner, which not only signals our success in this endeavour, but also gives us the platform to further build on our unique ‘Intelligent Water Solutions’ capability,” said Aidan Helmbold, Explore AI’s executive in charge of the project.

One initiative built an app to help Thames Water’s leakage technician identify which pipes are most likely to have leaks, enabling them to improve their productivity.

The project has been a success, as shown by the fact that the EXPLORE-AI’s app has received “highly commended” accolades in the Thames UK App of the Year and the Productivity App of the Year categories in the United Kingdom.

It has recently been shortlisted for the Data Analytics, Cloud and AI Project of the Year.

Thames Water daily supplies over 15 million customers within London and the greater Thames region with 2,6 billion litres of drinking water, while also treating 4,4 billion litres of wastewater.

The partnership with EXPLORE-AI dates back to 2018 during the critical drought conditions and resultant water crisis in Cape Town.

Then, data science students at EDSA were tasked with creating a database using historical water consumption data by suburb, available on Cape Town’s open data portal.

John Beaumont, Thames Water’s Chief Digital Officer, at the time said the decision to appoint Explore AI was based on its in-house data science capability and its proven expertise in mapping the various data sources that contributed to understanding the factors affecting Cape Town’s water supply.

“By working with Explore AI, Thames Water has entered an unprecedented new era in disruptive technology that enables us to digitise our business in ways previously not possible,” Beaumont said.

The partnership has grown exponentially.

There are now more than 70 data scientists and engineers working specifically for Thames Water across ten product squads.

“These teams deliver products that reduce leakages, respond quickly to supply interruptions, prevent blockages and flooding and thereby save money, reduce wastage and eliminate environmental pollution,” Helmbold said.

– CAJ News

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