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Water management through the use of data

10h11. once again discussed the notion of Smart-City with the French water management operator SUEZ. The company came to meet us to propose a sensitive issue: how to successfully visualize in real time the state of the water network valves by data according to the operations carried out in the field.

To carry out this mission, we have proposed a methodology of service design, the double diamond, which we will limit ourselves in this article to describing under its 4 fundamental steps: discovery, definition, creation and delivery.

« Taking into account the users of the future service by listening »

This method has the advantage of focusing on dialogue through different workshops, taking into account the users of the future service by listening as well as the progress by iteration allowing all stakeholders to understand the evolution of the project.

Let’s discover the 4 major iterations that make up this project :

1. Immersion through interview and field approach

This first step allowed us to dialogue and ask many questions to Suez during the different workshops. The objective: to take ownership of the subject and challenge the teams on possible solutions to meet their needs. In addition to these interviews, we took the time to go into the field to monitor and discuss with operators during their valve opening and closing missions in order to understand their businesses and the issues they face. The objective: to create a service that is adapted to their environment.

2. The definition

Following this overview, we were able to design the project mapping, i.e. to decompose the entire work process in order to collect information on the position of a valve, verify it, edit it, plan it, implement it and validate it.

« Consider industrializing the work process through the use of data »

This decomposition allows us to consider an industrialization of the work process through the use of data and to create a user path for the future application. This approach helps to limit misunderstandings and ensure a digitized process without forgetting.

In parallel, personas have been created to understand the different levels of interaction with the application: field – management – direction. A persona is a representation of a user of the application. These personas allow you to project yourself into the skin of each future user in order to create a tool that leaves no one out and that is as efficient as possible for each of them.

The end of these first two steps allows us to define the project in detail around one or more problems to be solved:

Problem 1: How to improve real-time knowledge of the network to facilitate the identification of works by field agents?

Problem 2: How to develop the transmission of work information between teams to optimize valve handling and maintenance?

3. Design : from scenarios to mock-up

The design consists in creating scenarios to answer the problem(s). We have therefore developed scenarios for managing the condition of valves by application. For example: either by using geolocation or by using a status input field. We will not discuss all the scenarios in this article. After various exchanges with the field teams, Suez validated a specific scenario allowing us to build a typical user path on the application in the form of wireframe (simplified model that highlights the function more than the aesthetics):

« Several versions of clickable prototypes have been made available to project teams »

Once the prototype was validated, we worked on the question of ergonomics and navigation around the tool’s major functionalities. Several versions of clickable prototypes were made available to project teams before being more easily projected in the navigation. Here is an example of one of these prototypes :

Vimeo link :


Once the operation of the tool and its prototype had been validated, the final models were developed in relation to the identity of Suez and the subject we were to address:

4. Delivery : development and field testing.

The development phase is always based on a detailed functional specification book. This workbook allows the sponsor to know exactly what will be delivered by our teams and, at the same time, it supports the developers to produce the expected functionalities.

The project is currently in the field test phase. We wish him good luck and we will not fail to give you news after this phase.

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