VAPAR Launches UK operations to be closer to growing customer base

VAPAR Launches UK operations to be closer to growing customer base

Uk flag fluttering
VAPAR launched in the UK

This month, we are proud to announce the opening of our offices in the UK where CEO, Amanda Siqueira, will now be based. VAPAR has always been keen to get closer to the water and sewer market in the UK since the company first came over to the UK as part of United Utilities’s Innovation Lab 2, back in 2019.

Building on its development and successes in Australia and New Zealand in 2020, and with the support of United Utilities and other UK based customers, VAPAR has been able to grow in size and has been able to co-develop their software to meet specific UK market needs. This move also means that VAPAR will not only be able to serve customers in more countries, but also opens up direct customer support in many more timezones. The VAPAR team in Australia continues to grow to enable the delivery, support and technical development of the solutions to the global market.

VAPAR’s CEO, Amanda Siqueira, says “Whilst it is a challenge to carry out the expansion internationally in the middle of COVID, all the signs were telling us that we needed to be here, close to our valued customers. What COVID has taught us is that whilst a lot can be achieved remotely, especially in the world of software and cloud delivery, the relationships and impact of in-person collaboration is key to innovation and getting the details right”. To support the company’s growth, the technical team has doubled in size, lead by CTO, Michelle Aguilar, who was also recently a finalist for the Women in AI 2021 awards.

VAPAR is currently undertaking a number of trials and implementation projects in the UK that will be announced shortly. We are also always looking for collaborative partnerships that can add value to our UK water utility customers.

If you would like to learn more, get in touch with Amanda directly via LinkedIn or our Contact us page.

Blacktown City Council

Blacktown City Council recognised by Local Government Excellence Awards

Blacktown City Council recognised by Local Government Excellence Awards

Our friends at Blacktown City Council have recently been recognised for their outstanding efforts towards innovative service delivery. The Council has recently received ‘Highly Commended’ status in the ‘Service Delivery Initiative – Population Over 60,000’ category of the Local Government Excellence Awards for 2020 for the Blacktown City Council VAPAR Pilot Project we partnered on in 2019.

According to the Awards, the ‘Service Delivery Initiative’ category recognises ‘initiatives that demonstrate best practice (outstanding action), or the pursuit of excellence in the delivery of a service(s) to the community or a specified target market that is able to be continued on an ongoing basis.’

The Local Government Excellence Awards highlighted that Blacktown City Council’s embrace of innovative technology (that’s where VAPAR comes in) to improve service delivery was pivotal in their achievement of ‘Highly Commended’ status.

About the Pilot Project

As part of their review of Asset Management Strategy and Support Services in 2018-2019, the Council’s Better Practice Review (BPR) Program identified the management of drainage infrastructure as a key area for practice improvement, especially considering Blacktown’s projected population rise to 560,000 by 2050.

Specifically, Council were interested in engaging a technology which allowed them to better utilise data to drive the planning and decision-making for its Asset Management Plans. Due to their labour-intensive nature, visual pipe inspections had not previously formed part of the data collected for asset management condition assessments. Instead, Council had relied on ‘estimated useful life projections’ in its asset management plans for pipes.

This is where our partnership with Blacktown City Council began – a trial inspection of 3km of pipe CCTV footage, with a view to finding a solution to proactively manage the Council’s 1,160km of pipe infrastructure and make data-driven decisions moving forward. Finding a viable solution to this challenge was something that Council’s Asset Planning Engineers had been keen to tackle for some time.

By project end, the Pilot Project had demonstrated an overall success rate of 84.6% in the identification of pipe defects. Most importantly, Council had taken steps to adopt a technology-based approach to their service delivery, allowing them to inform Drainage Asset Management Plans with standardised asset condition data.

What made Blacktown City Council stand out from their peers?

By seeking a technological solution to address a key area for practice improvement highlighted by the BPR Program, Blacktown City Council were able to greatly improve their service delivery, creating a proactive approach which utilised data to drive decision-making.

Even more crucially, Blacktown City Council were able to implement this change whilst also circumventing weeks of labour resources that would have been normally required (hooray for automation!).

The Local Government Excellence Awards highlighted that Blacktown City Council’s Pilot Project with VAPAR was an excellent example of how Blacktown City Council is embracing emerging technology as a mechanism for improving service delivery. The Awards felt that the Council’s partnership with VAPAR represented a great example of how councils can harness start-up technology companies to address complex asset management challenges.

So…Congratulations to the Blacktown City Council team!

Naturally, the team at VAPAR is enormously excited that our partners at Blacktown City Council have been recognised for their efforts; we feel that this recognition is a fantastic payoff to an organisation which walks the walk on their commitment to ‘Building the Best’ Council in Australia.

As such, we’d like to congratulate everyone from the Council who was involved in the Pilot Project, and commend the Council for their innovative and proactive approach in making data-driven decisions to make the delivery of asset management as effective as possible.


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.


Infiltration/Exfiltration of drainage pipes cause major street damage

Infiltration/Exfiltration of drainage pipes cause major street damage

A large sinkhole has recently appeared on a street in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD.

“It [was] confirmed the issue was caused by a crack in a barrel drain running along the street.”

Ordinarily, “a crack” in a pipe by itself is not enough to cause a sinkhole.

But degradation over time can lead to compounding of pipe defects such as tree roots growing through the cracks, corrosion of any pipe reinforcement, and infiltration/exfiltration (water getting in/out of the pipe).

The biggest culprit here is likely infiltration/exfiltration.

Infiltration/exfiltration can cause the bedding material supporting both the pipe and the road surface to slowly loosen and wash away, which is how a lot of sinkholes develop unnoticed.

See more here.


Pandemics – a major catalyst for modern sewer systems

Pandemics – a major catalyst for modern sewer systems

Did you know that a pandemic (cholera) was one of the main catalysts for installing modern sewerage systems in both London and Paris?

Due to the Cholera pandemic in 1858, which hit over 10,000 residents, London saw raw sewage overflow into the River Thames that caused a strong repugnant odour, eventually forcing the government to construct a modern sewer system that transported the city’s waste as far as possible.

Similarly, amid the outbreak, in an attempt to remake Paris and open it up into a “City of Light”, French authorities went through the demolition of 12,000 buildings, boulevards, parks and fountains to install an elaborate sewage system.

Pandemics truly played a big part in transforming the cities of old.

As of today, wastewater still plays a critical role in monitoring the levels of pathogens in a particular region. Health officials in the state of Tyrol monitored levels of the novel coronavirus in the sewage to predict if the virus was truly on the decline. The result of this could help the region as they were highly reliant on tourism and will help decide to lift the lockdown. This method was particularly of interest to the SARS-CoV-2 because it replicates in the digestive system and is found in high quantities in human faeces most often before we get the symptoms. This method was relatively a less expensive one compared to the usual swab methodology. However, the Omicron variant seems to be showing up less in the faecal matter, this could possibly be due to the change in the virus variant or more immunity developed by humans. Eitherway to certain degree monitoring wastewater can clearly indicate pathogen levels in the region. For an elaborate read on this click here.

Read how VAPAR with its AI technology helps modern-day sewer and stormwater networks here.

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Microsoft roundtable discussion with Satya Nadella, Global CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft roundtable discussion with Satya Nadella, Global CEO of Microsoft

This week, VAPAR was honoured to be one of eight companies involved in the Microsoft round table discussion with none other than Satya Nadella himself! Amongst his passion for Microsoft Solutions, was his messaging for the Partner network to ensure our customers succeed – even if a competitive solution to Microsoft is a better fit for the project. This was a great reminder to keep the customer at the heart of what we all do to continue to add value.

We’d like to thank Microsoft Australia for the opportunity as it allowed us to obtain such an inspirational takeaway.

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VAPAR to scale on Microsoft Azure

VAPAR to scale on Microsoft Azure

VAPAR has recently migrated its sewer and stormwater pipe fault detection platform over to Microsoft Azure to better align with governments and utility customers, who already use Microsoft services.

Details about the migration were released on Microsoft Australia’s official website here.

Hosting on Azure should give customers the confidence in adopting our cutting edge software using the reliability of Microsoft’s cloud engine. With Azure, VAPAR can also integrate securely into our customers Active Directory, and streamline the customer experience.

To experience VAPAR’s cloud platform for yourself, get in touch via our website.

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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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CTO Michelle featured on Innovation Bay

CTO Michelle featured on Innovation Bay

Michelle Aguilar, our CTO, has had the privilege of being part of the Innovation Bay community in Australia, where she has been actively partaking in social and network events to broaden our networks and gain valuable insight into the Australian startup landscape. She has also been featured in their May newsletter, so head there to see what she had to say about our accomplishments and where we’re at.

Innovation Bay is a trusted, independent organisation and platform for entrepreneurs to learn, raise capital, network and collaborate with other companies and investors. It helps drive innovation across the Australian technology market to boost the economy by setting up startups with investors, mentors and leaders who invest their time, expertise, network and money to help grow innovation.

Innovation Bay also supports the environment that enables entrepreneurialism as it believes innovation can better the lives of our society by making the world a better place to live in. They do this by hosting multiple events all over Australia, ranging from breakfast meetings, founder and focus dinners, and setting up workshops that help equip entrepreneurs with the tools to achieve greater success.

To date, VAPAR has attended several of the Innovation Bay breakfasts and pitched at an AI Founder Dinner hosted by Innovation Bay. This has allowed us to hear from the best founders and investors that Australia has to offer.

Innovation Bay’s May newsletter: