matter-industiers

Matter Industries

Bulk Water Pipeline Monitoring

Combining domain knowledge and technical expertise to realise a blueprint for smart municipalities.

Background

Matter Industries is a private equity company that, at the time of the project, were primarily focused on the Mining and Infrastructure industries. Their focus on these industries led them to acquire assistance from an established network company. Matter soon realised that they have entered the Internet of Things (IoT) market space and needed more technology-based contributions to complement their offering. In their pursuit of acquiring various technology companies, Matter found the IoT industry to be fragmented.

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The Problem / Opportunity Statement

Having realised the fragmented nature of the infrastructure smart monitoring industry, Matter Industries identified an opportunity to differentiate from the incumbents in the IoT industry – offering a consolidated (end-to-end) IoT offering incorporating the edge technologies, network and software platform. Matter now required a technology partner to assist in realising their vision.

The Product Development Process

Proof of Concept

SKEG’s approach to product development would typically start with a Discovery phase before Proof of Concept (POC) and Prototyping commences. In this particular case a POC was seen as a practical means to gain as much field knowledge as possible while also evaluating of the IoT value stack.

The POC resulted in a functional unit placed inside a manhole that captures pressure in order to determine pipeline grade-lines. It is solar powered and makes use of LoRa and GSM networks.

By the end of the POC phase we had realised that the water industry is a complex and dynamic environment with multiple stakeholders. This led us to perform a detailed Discovery phase to gain further understanding and insight into the industry.

Discovery

The Discovery entailed a lot of research into the water market. This included a competitor analysis, industry analysis and in-depth technological analysis which lead to an extensive stakeholder analysis. The Stakeholder analysis enabled us to identify valuable opportunities to use data more deliberately to address contextual challenges and needs of the industry.

Scaled Prototype

In conjunction with our Discovery we had created a scaled water pipeline prototype for testing purposes. The pipeline simulated real pipeline conditions for further learnings. Shortly after, the Alpha prototype development commenced.

The Partnership Model

Upon their search, Matter was referred to Skeg through a customer and mutual contact. After meeting and discussing their requirements, Skeg was identified as the ideal partner to provide the innovation know-how and operate as a trusted business partner leveraging years of experience in several verticals.

From the onset, Skeg shared a mutual frustration with the disparity in the IoT market space. The vision of the role players to have control over the IoT building blocks and integrating the value chain resonated with the decision makers at Skeg. This shared alignment in motivations resulted in an exciting joint venture where Skeg came on board as the fundamental Technology partner of Matter Industries. This agreement also sparked the start of Skeg’s partnership (equity) model.

The Golden Thread

Through the collaboration with Skeg, Matter could now “own” the hardware, “own” the network and “own” the back-end of the solutions they offer. This inherently meant that they have the ability to offer a complete, consolidated IoT solution that is catered to suit a wide variety of applications across multiple verticals - something that is now referred to this as the Golden Thread.

The team was, however, cautious not to become “just another IoT company” that throws masses of information at a problem expecting it to be solved. The magic behind the Golden Thread lies in the incorporation of Domain Knowledge which has the ability to drive end-to-end design decisions.

To put the Golden Threat to the test, Matter industries identified a use case to monitor bulk water pipelines utilising a complete IoT stack. The project was called Titan.

Concluding Remarks

On a project level, the Titan project demonstrated Skeg’s ability to incorporate lean methodology with the ability to fail fast and learn faster. Titan has been one of the fastest moving projects in the Skeg portfolio to date.

From a Skeg perspective, the ultimate success of this project was the engagement model with our customer. Establishing a partnership agreement meant that we could contribute to our full capacity and continue to do the right thing for the project instead of focusing on making a short-term profit.

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