The Rime of the Modern Mariner

 In Digital Transformation

“Water, water every where, nor any drop to drink” reads the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Though surrounded by a fearsome storm and gripped by thirst, the sailors know that to satiate their desire with the turbulent waters they find themselves in means certain death. Around 71% of the world’s surface is covered by water. Oceans, seas and lakes hold the precious liquid so intrinsic to life on this earth, and yet people go thirsty every day. California, the home of Silicon Valley, experienced one of the worst droughts in the State’s history over the last few years, affecting thousands and having a knock on effect on plants and wildlife. Advancements in technology played a big role in mitigating long term damage and alleviating some of the adverse impact, but technology is also dependent on a precious commodity not unlike water.

Without data, technology will wither and die, its span of influence will shrink and its effectiveness will weaken. Data is all around us, but like sea water, without proper extraction, it can be lethal and cloud the evidence used in decision making processes with potentially catastrophic results.

In the United States, water treatment infrastructure is spread across many hundreds of miles, treating, purifying and distributing water around the country. Traditionally, throughout every step of its journey, it is monitored with data feeding back into control centres strategically dispersed through the route. This, however, comes with major drawbacks – faults in the system can occur, water can become contaminated and flow miles before being noticed, and human error can lead to incalculable costs both in time and money.

For one such water treatment company, Persistent deployed a transformative digital solution focusing on reducing downtime and maintenance costs whilst improving infrastructure and detection capabilities. Data collated in real time from thousands of IoT devices, cleaned, analyzed and transmitted to water supply engineers through real-time alerts and mobile apps. Click here for more of our Digital Transformation case studies.

The actionable insights are particularly effective as feedback is instantaneous and data is rich, meaning that not only do specialists know that devices or systems are in a state of error, they also receive detailed information as to why it has failed, along with possible solutions. By reducing manual intervention, downtime is reduced drastically, and with maintenance and repair scheduling becoming an automated process, upkeep of this highly complex network does not slip through the cracks or get carried out in a sub-optimal way.

Data is the key to the future and the elixir of life – but only to those who know how to extract it.


  • Siddhesh Bhobe – Head, Innovations
  • Ben Judah – Marketing Strategist
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