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An innovative water treatment company, HydroChem specialises in the treatment and maintenance of water storage equipment of large facilities across Australia. With national on-site testers and in-house microbiological laboratories, they track, monitor and report on the health of water across a range of different metrics, including PH, corrosion, and microbiological health, including Legionella.
Requests for water health reports reach their apex during Legionella outbreaks. During this critical time HydroChem’s clients along with national health departments request access to historical and current water data to help isolate and control outbreaks.
Reports were manually compiled by HydroChem’s admin staff, with client data and live on-site test results – often for multiple locations – collected from 3 distinct databases. These reports could take days to compile and deliver – an industry norm. In times of outbreak, however, this process not only took time and money, but the laborious turnaround could also potentially cost lives.
Joining the big data movement had become imperative if they were to better cater to the needs of their clients and wider community. Together with Newpath Web, the aim was to make that data available when needed, as easily as possible — and to make it look good.
The main challenge was how to offer facility managers real-time water health data across dozens of assets in a clear and easy to understand visual so they could spot and identify trends without having to seek out the patterns through months of reports.
To do so, Newpath had to combine three dashboards into one unified dashboard, serve a clear and engaging user experience and reduce resourcing and time overheads.
The initial project scope required a replication of current reports, in a simple digital format that could be accessed from any internet-enabled device. As the data was interrogated, it soon became apparent that the data available could reveal more than first imagined.
Pairing highly efficient algorithms with a live data interrogation application could provide global views of asset, location and portfolio health. When displayed visually, it would become easy for Facility Managers to understand complex data sets in seconds. More importantly, issues could be anticipated with pinpoint accuracy.
The project moved forward with mobile-first design and a high-performance graphing engine to ensure live facility data could be delivered immediately. The project became known as ‘HydroChem Clarity’.
Our user experience design process saw our creative team design an interactive prototype to validate our thinking and ensure the user interface was elegant and user-friendly.
Providing a unified view of their data, facility managers can access Clarity to explore detailed visualisations of their portfolio in real-time. From drilling down to the health of individual assets, reviewing exception reports and downloading detailed reports – in a few clicks users could quickly view and understand vast amounts of water health information at a glance.
Aside from providing benefits in terms of predicting potential outbreaks of Legionnaires disease, the data obtained by Clarity also helps clients prevent large scale corrosion and scaling issues, which can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Overcoming onboarding hurdles was an important step in the process too — if users didn’t understand how to use the app, they wouldn’t use it. Ensuring users wouldn’t encounter any major obstacles to utilising all Clarity’s features and functionalities was a big focus.
Before launching, the application was thoroughly tested by users with different levels of technical proficiency. This meant any points of friction were quickly isolated and corrected.
These learnings were then translated into a concise and automated onboarding process for new users. On logging in, new users were presented with explanatory walkthrough videos. These guides could be accessed at any time in the application. Feedback was gathered throughout the onboarding process to make improvements and plan for added functionality as required by the user.
The result was a streamlined, integrated onboarding experience, with well-educated and happy users.
By aggregating enormous sets of multi-asset data, Clarity helps facility managers get a handle on their data, and gain strategic insights for their organisation. It enables businesses to mitigate the risk of Legionnaires outbreaks while also offering predictive mechanisms to detect potential health risks to large-scale commercial and industrial facilities.
Just months after launching, a client using the data visualisation function discovered a water leak that had gone undetected and was costing them thousands of dollars every month.
Additionally, facility managers quickly found value in the ability to remotely monitor assets. Wherever they are, they can be alerted to any critical issues arising in real time, and pre-empt situations before they reach anywhere near critical.
Clarity at its simplest saves managers time, resources and money, and at its most impressive has the ability to save lives.
Due to the application’s innovative designs, Clarity also won a software excellence award in 2018 from an industry association, ARBS.
Until now, there has been nothing in the industry that is predictive or that analyses the data in this way, helping to save lives and reduce outbreaks while having an economical impact on the business in terms of costs. In the past, asset owners have relied on service reports for snapshot views of the current status of their systems. For the first time, Clarity gives them the ability to view the health of their assets based on trends over their chosen time scale and focus on specific aspects.
Predicting the future is all about looking at the history.
Nick Duncan – CEO – HydroChem
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