Identifying opportunities to boost operating efficiency for control rooms

Infrastructure, Water Utilities

New industry regulations for monitoring, safety and response procedures can create opportunities for better performance.

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In response to an industry-wide regulatory imperative to boost productivity, the leadership at a national water utilities company determined that it needed to improve its response time to telemetry alarms. When the control room detected a high volume of alarms, it struggled to address them in a timely fashion, leading to slow response times. Improvements would increase the control room’s operational efficiency and improve responses in the field.

Insight and Action

To assess the utility’s performance, QuantumBlack aggregated and consolidated two years’ worth of data from 15 different data sources. This wealth of data enabled our team to examine the relationships across operations using a combination of spatial statistics, linear regression (both explanatory and predictive models), and Poisson models, a statistical distribution showing the frequency probability of specific events when the average probability of a single occurrence is known. From this analysis we identified a large variance in the reaction of the control room to alarms by individual controllers and across shifts. This variation suggested an opportunity to use targeted training to boost and standardise performance. In addition, we embedded our models for pre-screening alarms in a live environment.


  • 15Percentaverage reduction in peak alarm volume
  • 50Percentmaximum reduction in peak alarm volume