July 11, 2020

Visiting innovation born of water | Innovation

An environmental catastrophe that marked the Spanish society, especially the Galician, was the sinking of the Prestige. It flooded 2,000 kilometers of coastline with oil and the slow pace of action was key to making pollution seem unstoppable. The startup Orbital EOS, founded by Juan Peña and part of the GoHub space, would have been helpful to contain what seemed impossible at the time. Thanks to its space technology, which photographs the seas and oceans via satellite, and an artificial intelligence that collects data on its state, such as the staining of a spot and its extent, automatically determines, for example, how to counteract a spill.

“In the past, a plane would have been sent to take the pictures. Now, we alert from anywhere in the world thanks to satellites. In addition, artificial intelligence helps solve the disaster by crossing all kinds of data, from the routes of the boats around it to the direction of the tides, ”Peña analyzes. However, this was insufficient for his company. His commitment to the environment goes as far as the study of the coasts. The same technology is used to check the evolution of the coastline. “We are eating it with forced marches. By having real-time images, we anticipate what happens, whether due to pollution, erosion or a storm ”, ditch.

The leading technology such as that used by Orbital EOS is another example of the advances that, for years, have been carried out by companies specialized in the different processes that encompass the integral water cycle. That is, the collection, treatment, distribution and supply of one of our most precious and also scarce goods. The World Health Organization expects that by 2025 half of the world's population will have supply problems. Today there are already 748 million people who do not have drinking water. Thus, the objective is to continue investing in R&D so that the process of capturing and returning water resources is sustainable and respectful of nature. Do not miss a drop of water along the way.

Global Omnium, former Aguas de Valencia, a company that is more than a hundred years old, is also committed to the introduction of technology in the integral water cycle. Its most visible response is GoHub, an open innovation space, located between the 25,000 square meters of its headquarters in Valencia, where they have been promoting disruptive projects and solutions in the sector for 15 years. "We offer mentoring, investment, acceleration for at least four months, access to our client portfolio and validate the technology. The latter is fundamental. We only work with technological projects, ”says Patricia Pastor, director of GoHub. “This space is like the series The Big Bang Theorand multiplied by a million. We combine the most cutting-edge science with the most transgressive technology, ”adds Pastor.

Marine drones and environmentalists

One of the examples of this innovation developed in GoHub and applied to the integral water cycle is submerged in oceans and seas in the form of a marine drone; although the immersion is not so simple. The startup IDS had to develop an external shell that would protect it from currents and storms. Despite being still in the testing phase, the device studies the seabed – what they call bathymetries – collects samples and photographs all their surroundings. “It is especially useful for controlling wastewater discharges into the sea in real time. With seeing the color shown in an image we can already know the state of the water, ”says Pastor.

No drop

Behind the idea that the water cycle covers unimaginable areas, Nexus Integra, which has gone through all the phases of GoHub, represents a good example. It started with sensors for Global Omnium factories and now they have exported their solution to the entire 4.0 industry. “We collect data in real time and the AI ​​analyzes the state of machinery, plants and processes. It even enables predictive maintenance of the entire infrastructure, ”says Salvador Herrando, co-founder of the startup. Its technology is very relevant for Global Omnium, which needs to control a giant structure and essential for water to travel throughout its cycle.

This drone is not only satisfied with having control of what we throw into the oceans, it is also committed to preserving the Mediterranean environment. As explained by Angélica Bellver, founder of IDS, maintaining the fauna and flora of the seabed is essential so as not to break the ecosystem; and the posidonias acquire special importance. This endemic plant maintains the sandy sediments and feeds all the animals that live under its waters. “They are indispensable for the plant and animal survival of the Mediterranean. With our drone, we know your status thanks to the photographs you take. This makes it easier to take the necessary conservation measures, ”concludes Bellver.

The robots have gained presence in the integral water cycle. With hundreds of kilometers of pipelines below the streets, in which the stench, rats and residual effluents prevail, their help is especially relevant to maintain the safety and control of the sewerage network. Where before there was an operator collecting samples and looking for possible leaks inch by inch – in almost unhealthy conditions – now we find the robots of Inloc Robotics, another of the projects that coexist in GoHub. “They have a computer vision system that automatically detects any defect. In addition, while moving through the pipes, take accurate photos and collect real-time data of what you see there, ”says Josep María Mirats, CEO of the startup.

Patricia Pastor, director of GoHub.

The sewer network doesn't just live on androids. Virtual reality has also sneaked into this culmination of the water cycle. The main responsible is the emerging company Dipsela: its application visualizes in three dimensions all the pipes of a city, including the layout and even the ownership of the land where they run. “In the event that a sensor detects a leak or a break at some point in the system, our app geolocates it with 100% accuracy, so there is no margin of error in case it is necessary to act at any specific point. It is the best way to control all network locations, ”says Javier Cabezuelo, CEO of Dipsela.

Water that permeates up to 5G

So transversal is the technology of the integral water cycle that has reached the telecommunications networks. Specifically to the automation of mobile networks. Kemei Technologies, invested by GoHub itself, is involved in the change from 4G to 5G. The artificial intelligence they have programmed allows the development of these infrastructures to come hand in hand with algorithms and not with human calculations. “The network teams of mobile operators can automate their tasks thanks to the technology with which we have innovated. Their processes are faster and more efficient, ”says its CEO, Vicent Soler.

It is hard for water to remain stagnant. Its cycle never stops, while technology struggles to make it more efficient and sustainable. As Pastor remembers, his work motto makes more sense than ever: Not only water (More than water, in Spanish).

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