Blue Cypress Consulting, headquartered in Decatur, Georgia, provides Community Planning, Public Outreach, GIS and Utility Management Services to clients throughout the Southeast. The focus for Utility Management customers revolves around optimizing water, wastewater, and storm water operations in order to meet or exceed service level commitments to rate payers and regulators.
Blue Cypress hired Wintellect to work with them for the design and implementation of their new Decision Support System (DSS) product: an intelligent servicing assistant that monitors maintenance results, camera readings, and other configurable input criteria, and uses this data to provide intelligent recommendations for updates in order to optimize the efficiency of these processes.
Figure 1: Home screen of Decision Support System.
The core vision was to create a system that continuously monitors Input Events such as cleanings, camera readings, and other configurable events for all pipe utility assets, and processes each event using a customizable decision tree to generate Recommendations for various Actions, such as: changing the cleaning frequency, changing a scheduled cleaning, or adding/removing an asset from the schedule.
Blue Cypress Consulting wanted a solution that was fully-customizable for their customers. With that goal in mind, Wintellect built DSS to allow the client to visually create and customize the inputs, thresholds, and even the sets of rules and logic that are applied to each incoming event to generate a Recommendation for an asset. Additionally, Recommendations can be set to be auto-applied back to the scheduling system or to require a human approval before schedules are updated.
Figure 2: Decision Tree Builder allows full configuration of processing logic
The project involved design and construction of a web application and decision engine that included integration with the municipality’s ESRI mapping and asset layers, and display of all Recommendations and History for assets, with the ability to add and edit Recommendations singly or in bulk. In addition, there are deep diagnostics included that allow for full visibility of the path from Input Event to Recommendation.
Figure 3: Diagnostics Panel showing path from Input Event to Recommendation.
DSS is constructed with a variety of modern server and web development technologies:
- The web application was constructed using the latest version of Angular with Typescript and utilizes industry-standard Material Design and Bootstrap libraries for presentation.
- The Web API is built using the latest ASP.NET Core libraries for cross-platform deployment.
- Data for DSS is stored in a local MySQL database with ability to replicate offsite and configurable for future upgrades.
- Allows Admin users to fully configure the entire process of turning an Input Event into a Recommendation by using Decision Rules and Actions to build a Decision Tree with the Visual Decision Tree Builder.
- Allows Exemption of specific assets from being processed or having Recommendations auto-applied.
Figure 4: Add Recommendation
Blue Cypress needed a partner that was expert at providing the architectural expertise needed to facilitate the software design and the level of configurability required, as well as the application development skillsets to develop the system. Initially engaged for an architectural analysis and design phase, Blue Cypress and Wintellect generated detailed plans for the numerous services and processes that would be required to make the envisioned system work, and then later built the entire solution.
- Wintellect has deep experience in developing intelligent and configurable back-end scheduling and decision solutions.
- Core focus and skillset in Angular for Modern Web Development.
- Wintellect is a recognized leader in software architecture and implementation on the web, mobile, and cloud platforms.
The solution was developed and implemented on a short timeline to meet the delivery requirements of the initial municipality’s schedule. DSS successfully combines many different technologies and many distinct services to create a single cohesive solution that delivers on the vision of the client and provides the flexibility needed for the future municipalities.