PureBlue Blog


EMAGIN’s AI Platform Catches Attention of UK's Largest Water Utility

January 15, 2019

EMAGIN is a Canadian start-up that has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that helps facilitate decision-making within the water industry. Their AI tool, HARVI, provides water and wastewater facilities with an operational intelligence platform that supports real-time decision making. HARVI helps facilities reduce operational costs, enhance reliability and prepare for emergencies. HARVI is a self-learning and cost-effective platform with one of the fastest integration times in the sector. With this platform, EMAGIN will enhance reliability, help the water industry better prepare for emergencies and drive down operational costs.

In early 2018, EMAGIN was selected from more than 80 companies to participate in the first United Utilities Innovation Lab as a solution in the Future of Water category. The 10-week Innovation Lab enabled EMAGIN to showcase its solution under different operating conditions across multiple processes. The team was embedded within United Utilities (UU), in a position to gain knowledge by working with and co-locating with end-users of EMAGIN’s software. 

“This is the first time I’ve seen a utility host this kind of forum for companies,” says EMAGIN CEO and co-founder Thouheed Abdul Gaffoor. “I’d love to see this sort of thing being replicated across the industry because the water sector can be fairly risk-averse and being able to have this closed environment in a lab set-up really ‘de-risks’ the ability to bring innovation to our industry.”

Co-Founder and CEO Thouheed Abdul Gaffoor

Stressing EMAGIN's embrace of innovation, Gaffoor says, “If I were to describe innovation in three words, it would be first and foremost ‘iterative.’ That’s because we never get the solution right the first time. When it comes to innovation, we need to be able to break down whatever our goals are into smaller elements that can be rapidly tested and deployed.

“I would also say 'collaborative,’ because we need people from different academic backgrounds and experiences to come together and be able to pool their collective knowledge.The best sort of innovation happens when you have a melting pot, with people from different backgrounds and fields and experiences. That way we end up improving the overall knowledge base of the team dedicated to the innovation process.  

“And the last aspect,” Gaffoor says, “is just to be bold. Innovation has to be bold because we have to be able to connect our technology developments to the greater vision of the company.”

United Utilities is the UK’s largest listed water company, managing the regulated water and waste water network in North West England — which includes Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside with a combined population of nearly seven million. United Utilities’ headquarters are in Warrington, in Cheshire County. Its shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and the FTSE 100 Index.

In 2017 UU was awarded World Class Status in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 10th year in succession. From its website: “United Utilities Innovation Lab is breaking new ground in the water sector by creating a window for innovative businesses to partner with one of the biggest water companies in the UK. We want to tackle our key business challenges so that we can provide better, more cost-effective services for our seven million customers. That means building relationships with businesses who share our vision, ambition and appetite for innovation — with the potential to lead to longer term commercial partnerships.”

For inquiries about EMAGIN, please contact Jon Grant, Chief Strategy Officer, jon@emagin.ca


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