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NWG turns to hedgehog lab to enhance innovation

Northumbrian Water Group has chosen Newcastle technology consultancy hedgehog lab as its preferred innovation partner for the coming year.

As part of the agreement, hedgehog lab will play a major role in the provision of digital initiatives at the 2018 NWG Innovation Festival. Entering its second year and taking place between 9 and 13 July at Newcastle Racecourse, the event is designed to help find solutions to 12 societal and environmental issues.

Elsewhere, the consultancy will host four innovation challenges aimed at solving problems identified by Northumbrian Water, while also working closely with NWG’s tech team on a number of projects throughout the year.

The partnership arrives following a long-standing relationship between the two North-East organisations, which has seen hedgehog lab align with the Utility of the Year award-winners across a number of projects since 2015.

A recent venture between the pair has led to the creation of NWG’s first voice-activated offering – an Alexa Skill designed for Amazon Echo devices – which will be released publicly in the near future.

Sarat Pediredla, CEO and Co-Founder at hedgehog lab, said: “We’re both delighted and excited to have firmed up a longer-term agreement with NWG. The nature of the deal will enable us to not only extend a fruitful relationship and build on the good work so far, but also play a key role in helping Northumbrian Water stay ahead of the curve.

“One of the most important aspects in our success so far is cultural fit. We both value innovation highly, and care deeply about creating outstanding customer experiences. This has really helped to establish a partnership which has been mutually beneficial.

“Over the next 12 months we’ll be working with NWG to help them consolidate their position as the utility industry’s most innovative company, exploring how they can utilise rising technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. By doing so, it’s our hope that we can extend our relationship through 2019 and beyond, assisting them in achieving their goal of becoming the world’s most digital water company.”

Nigel Watson, Northumbrian Water Group Information Services Director, said: “We are committed to being the best water company in the country and the most innovative. A huge part of that is about leading the way, trying new things and pushing boundaries in everything we do.

“Our partnership with hedgehog lab will allow us to do just that. They’re local, like us they have a real passion for the region and we are both committed to making brilliant things happen for local people. We’re really excited to have them on board with us and can’t wait to see what this new relationship brings for our customers.”

In late January, Northumbrian Water exhibited its upcoming voice product on an evening that also saw Amazon’s Andrea Muttoni present around best practices for the development Alexa Skills.

Innovate Now returns to hedgehog lab’s Newcastle office on 22 March. The event, which is invite-only, will explore meaningful uses of and business benefits of Artificial Intelligence adoption.

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Innovation
Tags: Northumbrian Water , Innovation

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