Ainhoa Lete, CoFounder & CEO – BuntPlanet
BuntPlanet was founded in 2000 with the idea of offering software engineering services to leading technology companies. Our first client was Siemens in Germany. Our goal is to use software to improve the planet. In 2007, we entered the water sector and now our challenge is to reduce water losses in the world. We love challenges and projects that push us to the limits of software possibilities.
What inspired BuntPlanet to pivot from a technological services company to focus on the water sector?
Innovation is at the core of BuntPlanet’s DNA and our aim has always been to make a positive impact in the world by applying technology solutions. In 2007 we took our first custom software project into the water sector, for a highly innovative water utility located in our region.
We witnessed the early adoption of the first smart metering systems and implemented the first cloud solutions that were required to manage huge amounts of data generated by AMI technology. The concept of ‘Big Data’ was emerging and the potential of these large volumes of data gradually became apparent. We were inspired by the needs and the vision of this advanced water utility, and some years later, we decided to apply our software knowledge to address water losses.
We offer a SaaS solution based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and hydraulic simulation, which led to the birth of BuntBrain. We were also the first company in the world to successfully implement a virtual DMA – a new concept for detecting and pre-locating any anomaly in the water network.
Can you give insight into the relationship between Industry 4.0 and climate change?
Digitalisation in general and AI, in particular, will be keys to solving major challenges the world is already facing and will continue to face in the next decade. The increasingly extreme weather conditions due to climate change will lead to more frequent droughts and flooding. We can no longer afford to waste our planet’s precious resources of freshwater.
Sophisticated algorithms can enhance human capabilities to make faster and better decisions. Industry 4.0 – Big Data technology, hydraulic simulation and the deployment of AI – will enable us to better manage water resources, by avoiding water losses and minimising the impact of flooding events.
We read about BuntPlanet’s partnership with Siemens to tackle water loss. What is the goal of this collaboration? And what do you want utilities to know about water losses?
It is an honour to collaborate with Siemens, one of the most innovative companies in the world, and which has a global presence and vast marketing capabilities. Through this partnership, we are much better positioned to rapidly roll out our software than we would have been able to do on our own. One important advantage for us is that Siemens is already educating utilities about the value of the data generated by the devices installed within the water utility’s network and how to use this data to improve their network management (e.g. such as flow meters, pressure sensors, and customer meters). Our software uses the information collected from these devices to reduce both ‘apparent losses’ (water which is used but not paid for, due perhaps to a faulty meter) and ‘real losses’ such as leakages.
We want utilities to understand that the best practice is to detect water leaks at an early stage – this can help avoid small leaks which might turn into a large leak and ultimately to a burst pipe – which is costly to repair and can cause further disruptions in the water network. In partnership with Siemens, it is easier to convince a water utility to take a holistic, ‘big picture’ approach to manage their water network and to address water losses as part of the overall management of the water network.
As an AI software company, what skills and experiences do you recommend for young professionals eager to join the water sector?
The water industry is about more than just algorithms. Young professionals entering the water industry need a range of skills in order to apply new technologies such as AI to real-life scenarios. At BuntPlanet, it is also important that our young professionals are enthusiastic and love what they do. If they care about the future of the world then we provide them with a work environment where they can use technology to improve the planet!