In February this year, IT news website iTNews, reported that Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) CIO Nina Du Thaler’s geospatial integration project, Q-Hub, has beaten larger initiatives to the finish line to see her named Utilities/Media CIO of the year in its annual awards.
It went on to explain that Du Thaler and her team had pieced together the Q-Hub portal layer-by-layer “to deliver QUU a single holistic visualisation of all the water authority’s expansive operations in real-time,” and said: “The innovation means head office can track work vehicles as they move between maintenance jobs, dispatch the closest units to emergencies, plus trace the water and sewerage network throughout south east Queensland to better identify and locate faults on the system.”
iTNews said judges had applauded Du Thaler’s clever re-use of existing geospatial data and IT assets to generate big value to the business. “The project received resoundingly positive feedback from her peers in the CIO community.”
Q-Hub, iTNews said,integrated all this disparate data in real time to extract the greatest possible value, rather than delivering staff a series of static ‘snapshots’ of its operations. “The organisation has reported drops in the cost of planned maintenance and emergency response times thanks to better informed decision-making and more efficient staff deployment,” it said.
A much fuller explanation of Du Thaler’s achievement has since appeared in Utility Magazine. It said that QUU had developed Q-Hub, to provide a single spatial representation of its network of 20,000km of water and sewerage mains that many areas of the organisation could view at the same time.
It quoted Du Thalersaying “Whether it’s a field worker using their tablet to view a map of the network, a control room operator coordinating the activities of a maintenance crew in the field, or our customer contact personnel delivering emergency update information; they are all able to speak the same language.”
She told Utility Magazine thatQ-Hub had delivered significant improvements in operational efficiency and customer service. “By viewing information spatially, we can draw out inferences in data and enquire in ways we never were able to using spreadsheets and tables.
“For example, Q-Hub allows staff to visualise hotspots in the network: areas where there are multiple jobs affecting multiple customers, indicating a potentially wider issue that requires further action.”
She said Q-Hub had created an awakening within the organisation. “Our staff, many of them nontraditional spatial users, can now see its value. We are getting a strong buyin and being challenged about where to go next with spatial. While QHub is driving better decisionmaking in our everyday operations today, it could also play a key role in planning new infrastructure and organising and delivering services to our customers in the future.”
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