Sewage systems are unseen, forgotten and unappreciated… until they stop working.
Innoflow Technologies design and install Orenco sewage disposal systems for all sizes, from a single residence to entire suburbs or commercial sites. When things start to go wrong they want to know fast, so they can fix it quickly… before it becomes an issue.
In areas where landline telecommunications are not normally available or consistently reliable, making remote monitoring work well was proving a challenge for the engineers at Innoflow, and was taking valuable time away from sales and installation.
Maintenance and Support are critical components of Innoflow's customer promise. Being able to remotely monitor and manage the sewage control system allows the Innoflow team to intercept issues, plan site visits and keep the sewage systems unnoticed. A significant cost challenge facing Innoflow is that almost all of their customers live off the beaten track. Site visits are costly in both travel and time. Unplanned visits come straight off the bottom line, especially those required just to fix the communications equipment.
The new sewage disposal system at the Treble Cone ski field near Wanaka was about as remote from Innoflow's Auckland office as one could get. Treble Cone has a 5,000 visitor capacity and knowing fast when things aren't working properly is critical to avoid technical issues affecting the customer and their skiers.
Innoflow needed a flexible and proven communication system that provided them with remote management, real time alerts and 24x7 monitoring; a system that was simple to install but didn't cost a bomb to run in charges or manpower. Reliable and capable remote management systems also would enable Innoflow to offer increased value to their customers without a significant investment in systems and people.
"Comms" was a challenge, so Innoflow partnered with Digital Telemetry
on a shared cost trial with the results determining whether the solution was right for Innoflow's future business.
One of the biggest challenges with remotely managed equipment is knowing when it fails, because things usually just go quiet. Innoflow installed an Xtensor® GPRS modem controller which keeps the sewage disposal system connected to Digital Telemetry monitoring systems 24x7. No equipment changes were required to the Orenco sewage controllers to support this always-on technology.
Alarms reported by the sewage system are sent to Innoflow from the Digital Telemetry
message centre. Pager messages and emails alert multiple engineers along with enhanced information (in English) about the problems being reported. Auckland is alerted to warning conditions within minutes so assessed responses can be scheduled precisely according to their severity, averting potential problems both promptly and cost effectively.
When systems fail altogether, or the power goes off, alerts are issued and Innoflow can dispatch a support engineer to site as required.
Remote "dial-up" access to the Sewage Controller has been replaced with an Internet connection, securely routed through Digital Telemetry. Innoflow and their American suppliers now connect to their equipment over the internet using their legacy "on-site" software without the hassles of long distance and slow phone calls… from any internet connected PC in the world.
solutions are based on their existing proven infrastructure. To Innoflow, this meant that the solution was installed rapidly: the benefits kicked in almost immediately.
Nothing illustrated this more than an equipment issue that became apparent during the first week of service. The sewage system supplier in the United States was called for assistance, and they were able to use the internet to quickly access equipment on the other side of the world without unreliable and costly telephone calls. The source of the problem was identified and resolved quickly. Within the first week, the benefits were already showing.
Changes required to existing business processes and technology were minimal: Innoflow staff were able to use their standard iTerm software, over the internet instead of using a serial cable. They spend less time experimenting with modems, less time working through connection and billing issues with Telecom/Vodafone… and more time supporting customers and new prospects.
Monthly costs are predictable and cost effective allowing Innoflow to access their equipment whenever required.
More importantly, there are now more options for future change. Innoflow include the Xtensor® modem and Digital Telemetry monitoring services as a standard option for their customers, backing up their maintenance contracts. New web based services can now be made available to Innoflow or their customers, extending from remote access support and alarm notification to live status updates and historical statistics review through to providing the ability to remotely manage overseas based sewage systems with no additional cost per site.
The partnership with Digital Telemetry was key to the solution. Innoflow are an engineering firm with strong technical skills: they are quite capable of learning and implementing the new range of technologies required to build and maintain the communications infrastructure. Instead, they chose to partner with Digital Telemetry and take advantage of existing services, infrastructure and expertise.
By allowing a specialist company deal with the complexities of maintaining reliable wireless network connections, the talents and resources of Innoflow immediately returned to the
business of building and supporting sewage management installations.