Chema Nebot: “In less than a year, Idrica has established itself as a leader in applying 5G to the water industry”

Idrica has recently been awarded a project, the aim of which is to use 5G technology to manage the entire water cycle. In this interview, Chema Nebot, the Head of Business Development at the company that is digitally transforming the sector, explains what this innovative project consists of and its implications for Idrica.

1- What are the most relevant aspects of the project?

The project, which we have already started working on, is part of, and has been promoted by the Spanish Economy and Business Ministry. The aim is to develop 5G technology pilot projects, within the framework of the National 5G and Smart Territories Plans, and the Spain Digital 2025 strategy.

There are three main objectives in the project: to support the deployment of the first 5G networks, to experiment with the network management techniques that this technology enables, and to develop use cases in which all stakeholders, including users, take part. The aim is to showcase the three major improvements that 5G brings: very high-speed, high-capacity mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable, low-latency communications (URLLC) and massive machine-to-machine communications (MIoT).

The use case being developed by Idrica centers on MIoT and consists of implementing remote reading in drinking water meters which will use the 5G network to send information. This data will be sent to GoAigua’s Smart Metering solution, our integrated water management platform, where we will apply our advanced analytics and algorithm package.

Chema Nebot Idrica pilot
Chema Nebot, Head of Business Development at Idrica

2- Who is taking part in the pilot?

Idrica is part of the winning consortium in the Valencian Region, led by Orange. The other companies supplying equipment and services for 5G networks include Huawei, Arborea Intellbird, CFZ Cobots, Etra Investigación y Desarrollo, Visyon (Estudio Bay), Elewit and Robotnik.

In total, 68 public and private-sector organizations will be taking part in the initiative and will be experimenting with the improvements that 5G brings to their applications. These include Global Omnium, Red Eléctrica de España and the Valencia City Council.

3- What are the advantages for customers?

Through these pilot schemes, the Government aims to encourage early take-up which will facilitate experimentation with this technology’s potential, as well as to boost the development of ecosystems between operators, technology and solution providers, and the rest of the stakeholders involved.

The experience acquired will place Spain among the most advanced countries in the world in this new technology. Thus, when 5G becomes technologically and commercially mature, the country will be ready to take full advantage of the opportunities of this technological paradigm, which is absolutely essential for digital transformation.

The project will also provide government with greater understanding of aspects related to the efficient use of frequencies, network deployment and the provision of 5G services, thus acting as a baseline for future regulation.

4- What are the implications of this project for Idrica?

5G technology is set to be one of the driving forces behind digital transformation in the next few years. We are therefore proud to be the first company in Spain to deploy solutions to manage water resources using 5G. Idrica entered the market in 2020 and, in less than a year, has established itself as a leader in applying 5G to water, both nationally and internationally.

For Global Omnium, our sister company, this is a further step in its consolidation as a world leader in remote metering. Thanks to this project, we will be able to see the performance and benefits that 5G MIoT can bring to the management of smart meter networks firsthand.

Idrica is participating in the Spanish National 5G Plan, implemented by the public-sector company, promoted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). In the framework of this plan, fifteen pilot projects are being deployed in Valencia to apply the new 5G mobile technology in different sectors of the economy.

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