Spotlight Interviews – Steve Kaye

Steve KayeSteve Kaye is the Head of Innovation at Anglian Water Services and has worked in the water industry for over twenty years.  He is involved in our Water activity. 

What area of MK:Smart do you work on?

I’m involved in the water management side of MK:Smart. The overall aim of this activity is to improve understanding of water supply and demand in the city and to communicate the benefits of sustainable consumption to households and businesses. This will be done by developing a water resources information system, which will be tested through pilot programmes with different groups of water users.

Where do you work?

While I’m based in Peterborough, my role as Head of Innovation at Anglian Water is very much about being out and about. I’m often speaking at conferences and attending meetings. I talk to a lot of people to find out what is going on and to spread the word. Certainly, I’ve referred to MK:Smart in a number of conversations across the region, as of course Milton Keynes is based within the Anglian region.

We also held a successful Anglian Water Smart Technology event earlier this year, which was a good networking opportunity. Our aims were to make more people aware of the MK:Smart Project and for the project to make some new connections for the future. Water professionals attended including people from our external organisations: suppliers, contractors, consultants and universities. The discussion of MK:Smart at the event was particularly interesting to attendees who work with smart technology or who manage data.

What have been your highlights of the project so far?

The things I’ve been impressed by so far are how the different stakeholders in the community of Milton Keynes, from areas such as Energy and Transport, have come together. I’m particularly interested in the potential uses of pedestrian traffic detection in the city.

The ideas coming out the project are very exciting. I have enjoyed the meetings held with all of the partners where we share presentations from the various different areas to bring everyone up to speed with the project’s developments.

Who do you work with?

I’ve been collaborating with Valerie Houlden from HR Wallingford, and Anglian Water’s Customer Services team. We’ve tended to focus more on the customer area where there’s scope to bring in other parts of the water cycle as we move forward and get more people involved. For example, some members of the Water Resources Team and operational teams have started to get involved in the activities.

What is happening in the Water area of the project over the next couple of months?

We’ll be gaining a better understanding of how people use water and encouraging customers to save water. I see it very much as a two way communication around water consumption and changing people’s behaviours, so that consumers are more conservative about using water.

How does the project fit into Anglian Water’s aims?

Our ‘Love Every Drop’ campaign has been running for about three or four years, and the MK:Smart project supports a lot of its strategy. It’s about getting much closer to our customers and about working with other industrial sectors – two themes that the project focuses on. So really they fit very well together.

Do you have any predictions about Smart City developments in the future?

I think there are a number of levels for me. The obvious one is what I’ve already talked about is getting our customers on board. Furthermore, I think the true synergy in a Smart City is when you get different stakeholders together. So there might be some rewarding relationships between the Energy and Water areas for example. As we know, a great deal of household energy is used to heat water. So we might be able to bring together Energy and Water conservation through this project, which would be a great thing to do.

In addition, there may also be a cross-over between the Transport area of the project and Water. For example, we may be able to use traffic data displayed in the MK:Smart MotionMap when we carry out repairs in the road.  What’s more when we lay pipes we may be able to interact with the customers through Smart technology to inform them about potential road closures resulting from repairs. As you may imagine, there are numerous potential benefits from integrating the different services we provide with these innovative technologies.