Northumbrian Innovation Festival Sara Davies

VAPAR at Northumbrian Innovation Festival 2022

What I learned at the Northumbrian Innovation Festival

Author : Megan Clarkson

Representing team VAPAR, CEO Amanda Siqueira and myself headed to join the activities of the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival, where the aim of this festival is to tackle community issues and encourage the collaboration of innovators to brainstorm solutions and pathways and tackle the pain points of the issues highlighted for the festival.

But before we get too deep into the problem-solving aspect of our sprint, here’s how our first morning kicked off.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival 2022

First Impressions

Walking into the venue, we were greeted by friendly faces, high energy and even a professional juggler, and after a much-needed coffee, we gathered into the main festival tent for our welcome. Singing golden oldies and lifting our spirits, the High Row Gospel Ensemble began the festival by setting the crowd at ease. However, Nigel Watson and Heidi Mottram brought us back to business and gave us some more insight as to what the theme of the festival is all about: Untapped Potential.

This festival aims to revolutionise the water industry by solving issues within areas such as climate change, population growth, affordability issues, customer service and environmental care driven by sprints of innovation. Collaboration is the key word, where members from different marketplaces have been invited to join and to bring different perspectives and different ideas and to try to push the boundaries as we work together and are encouraged to try to solve these issues.  Fortunately, after some motivational words by guest speaker Sara Davies from Dragon’s Den, we left for our sprint.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival Sara Davies

Sara Davies shared her inspiring story

HMS Sewer Sprint

We were invited to take part in the Team HMS Sewer sprint, sponsored by 1Spatial, and our first day was all about setting the scene: what is the problem and who does it affect?

From various speakers in the water industry, we were exposed to the issues resulting from the transition of public pipes becoming private; who now owns these pipes, and where are these pipes? The lack of clear pipe mapping to answer these questions have left water utilities wasting time on the job trying to find pipes, map them in the field and then try to figure out who has ownership of these pipes, and thus who fixes them?

After a day full of presentations, we wrapped up the afternoon with fun demonstrations of pipe inspections, sound tests and special CCTV equipment.

HMS Sewer Sprint

After some much needed rest, we were excited to tackle the issues we identified on day 1.

That’s where day two’s theme came in: how can we solve these issues? Amongst other supply chain providers, we spent the day showcasing our solutions in between creative activity breaks where we, VAPAR, alongside Minicam, shared our valuable insights and useful technology capabilities. To close the second day off in our sprint, we participated in what was called ‘Dragons’ Den’ questioning, where we got to answer questions sparked from our presentation. After many discussions, we ended the day by joining the rest of the festival in some networking.

Northumbrian Innovation Festival Day 2

Takeaways from the festival

The remainder of the week covered building the business case and thereafter conducting a technical discussion and developing the ideal solution. But the important take aways from this experience was showcasing how valuable it is when different sectors in the industry come together to solve problems that our communities are facing every day.

The Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival has set the bar high on how engaging conferences can be fun and informative whilst also creating an environment to meet new people, share different perspectives and showcase creative solutions.

Learn more about Sewer Network

VAPAR automates sewer and stormwater pipe condition assessment for councils, utilities and CCTV contractors.  Learn how we help improve the monitoring and maintenance of the underground pipes using AI.


International Women in Engineering Day

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at VAPAR

To celebrate International Women in Engineering day, co-founders Amanda Siqueira and Michelle Aguilar have been invited to make an appearance on Ausbiz TV’s Startup Daily Show and share their experiences and views on how women in engineering can shape the world.

We’re a fully female-founded company, both myself and my business partner Amanda are also engineers which is not very common! We develop tools for the water industry, specifically around the inspection process for underground stormwater and sewer pipes. We use Al and other toots to automate the review of pipe inspection footage and are revolutionizing the way that water utilities and contractors manage their pipe inspection data.

We were the market founding technology in this space 4 years ago, and continue to have a lead on our competitors today. We have active projects in Australia, New Zealand and the UK and are also running other trials and pilots in the US and Europe. My co-founder Amanda moved to the UK to help expand our reach and we have recently hired our first UK employee. We are the first & only company in our direct competitors to have spread our team over country boundaries in this manner.

We are also breaking down traditional sales models in the water industry, delivering our products as Saas which would previously have been a typical consulting service. We’re having to educate our customers on Al and change their

perspectives on the adoption of innovative technology. This has been an uphill battle but has recently paid off once our Saas subscription model was launched 6 months ago with many of our customers signing up for yearly contracts.

Our mission is to revolutionize the USS88Bn global pipe repair market to create a world where Infrastructure self-manages from installation to overhaul, creating a safer environment for us all.

Check out what they had to say here and how they’ve overcome gender diversity within the engineering industry.

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Talking Asset Management at the IPWEA NSW regional meeting

Talking Asset Management at the IPWEA NSW regional meeting

VAPAR was privileged to sponsor and present at The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) NSW North Metropolitan region meeting, where the focus was on Asset Management. Fascinating insights were shared, discussing the variations in asset management plans and approaches across councils in NSW, as well as the collaboration of capital works planning across different service providers.

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Collaborative Presentation at South Australia Assetic’s User Group

Collaborative Presentation at South Australia Assetic’s User Group

Last month, VAPAR had the privilege of presenting at the Assetic SA User Group in Adelaide to 55 attendees from 17 councils.

It was a collaborative forum where speakers and asset managers came together to discuss how applications in deep machine learning, automation and digital twins can change the face of public infrastructure management to serve our communities better.

The discussion between all of attendees involved was what made the forum truly collaborative. The best way to drive innovation adoption is to get feedback first hand, and we were privileged to be involved!

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United Utilities’ Innovation lab

United Utilities’ Innovation lab

We are very proud to finally announce that VAPAR is working with United Utilities as part of their 2019 Innovation lab!

Over the next 10 weeks, Michelle Aguilar will be working closely with United Utilities to help automate fault detection in their 72,000 kilometre sewer network and speed up any repairs!

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Assetic User Group Presentation in Melbourne

Assetic User Group Presentation in Melbourne

In Melbourne today sharing our new product features and recent project outcomes with 19 Victorian Local Councils as part of Assetic‘s User Group forum.

Thanks to everyone for the engagement, questions and feedback. Sharing knowledge is what creates the value of these forums, and we were excited to be a part of it!


Isle Utilities webinar presentation to Australian and International Water Utilities

Isle Utilities webinar presentation to Australian and International Water Utilities

Last week, Technical Director and Co-Founder, Michelle Aguilar, presented VAPAR’s new web platform to 12 Water Utilities from Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Covered in the presentation was the use case for the web platform, outputs and information about our upcoming trials, pilots and subscriptions for this financial year.

A one minute demo of the platform can be viewed here.

Contact us through the website or via email ( to learn more.