The South East Area Innovation Awards were held on 19th March.
Due to the restrictions relating to Coronavirus and the need to put delegates health first, the event was held via webinar this year. Nevertheless, the presentations were still fascinating and everyone involved demonstrated great enthusiasm and a willingness to make the best of it!
The webinar was chaired by Anna Boyles, Regional Manager at Thames Water and the judging panel also included; Luke Stanbridge, Z-Tech; Sarah Murray, Affinity Water and Abbie Johnson, Thames Water.
The winners were Lanes PLC with their innovative virtual reality initiative for operational training. Lanes will go on to represent the South East Area at the National Innovation Awards held at the Institute of Water President’s Dinner later this year.
Lanes Group plc, working in partnership with Thames Water, have developed the world’s first virtual reality enabled training centre inside a 360-degree video theatre. This is enabling Lanes to develop high impact training games for key operational task that are aligned with the learning preferences of a new generation of employees entering the water utility industry. This innovation is called “Shared VR in Igloo”. It is now supporting key elements of the business and people strategy, including enhancing health, wellbeing and safety; improving staff and skill retention; and increasing the operational capability of the teams and is now recognised globally as an exciting development in team training.
Lanes Director Andy Brierley said: “It’s fantastic that the Institute of Water has recognised what is an exciting and new training resource for us and an exciting new training experience for our teams.
“Shared VR in Igloo is allowing us to develop high impact results through gamification of training that is already transforming our ability to create skilled, engaged and safe operational teams fit for the 21st Century and beyond.”
As always, the standard of entries was extremely high and any of them would have been worthy winners, but the judging panel felt that the people driven innovation was timely and it had clearly delivered results over a significant period. The finalists were;
- AFECO – Final Effluent reuse skid
- Lanes PLC – Shared VR in Training Igloo
- Oxfiniti – Nanobubble Generators
- Southern Water – Integrated Bathing Water Modelling Framework
The South East Area innovation webinar was one of eye-opening interest and amazing innovation as always. A big thank you from the area committee to all the entries and finalists, it was great to see such a diverse field of submissions.
Finally, many thanks to Z-Tech Control Systems who sponsored the event.
Click here to find out more about the Institute of Water Innovation Awards.