Loughborough University spinout Previsico has launched the nationwide roll-out of innovative IoT technology that enables individuals and communities to build resilience against the impacts of flooding.

This follows success across the UK, including at Whalley in Lancashire, which was devasted by flooding in 2015 and 2020.

Founded on 20 years of academic research by Professor Dapeng Yu, Previsico launched its first IoT-based flood alert system after successful UK trials in July 2021. Since then, it has twice enabled flood wardens in Whalley to take immediate action to prevent flooding in the town.

Earlier this year, Liberty Specialty Markets became the first UK insurer to provide real-time flood warnings to clients triggered by Previsico’s IoT sensors – placed in watercourses close to their premises – enabling them to take pre-emptive action to protect their assets.

Dr Andrew Pledger – Previsico IoT Systems Manager and former Loughborough researcher – said: “We are delighted to have seen the efficacy of our first IoT solution in Whalley, particularly following previous major flood issues in the town.

“By working in partnership with insurers and end-clients, we can save more people, properties and businesses from the devastating impacts of flooding – particularly the effects of surface water.

“Our solution gives insurers the ability to alert customers of immediate risks, so they can move valuables – including cars – to higher ground or set up temporary flood defences around their properties – a win-win for insurers and their customers.”

Previously, the IoT solution was only available as part of Previsico’s full solution that combines its world-leading flood modelling capabilities and IoT technologies to address the increasing global issue of surface water flooding.

Previsico is now aiming to have 3,000 IoT devices installed for clients across the UK by autumn 2023 and is in talks with several insurance and risk management partners to accelerate this process.

Previsico has been on a fast-track since its launch on the University’s Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) in 2019, and is now supporting brokers, insurers Liberty, Zurich, Generali and their clients with live, actionable warnings for surface water flooding.

Working with Lloyd’s Lab, underwriters agreed Previsico’s warnings can mitigate at least 70% of commercial losses with a flood plan and resilience measures.

Previsico’s next generation live flood forecasting solution brings together the latest weather data from the Met Office, IoT devices on the ground and its advanced flood modelling capabilities.

Professor Dan Parsons, Loughborough University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: “It can take years for individuals, businesses and communities to recover from floods. Previsico’s solutions will help us become more resilient to the impacts of floods – the risks of which are set to at least double by 2050 due to climate change. This innovative technology has significant global potential.”

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Caption and credit: Flood damage in Whalley ©Daria Neklesa, 2015