Infrastructure Challenges Call for Smart Solutions

Aug. 9, 2017

About the author: Elisabeth Lisican | Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Analytics. Big data. IoT.

Perhaps you’ve heard those buzzwords before. Chances are you’ve heard them a lot lately. That’s because, as Global Water Intelligence said last year in a report titled, “Water’s Digital Future,” the water and wastewater industry is in the midst of a digital revolution.

According to the report, the global market for control and monitoring systems in the water sector was estimated to be worth $21.3 billion in 2016—and that number is poised to climb to $30.1 billion by 2021. Spending on advanced data management and analysis solutions is estimated to grow at a rate of 11.9% a year.

And in the utility sector specifically, spending on digital and smart solutions was estimated to be worth $17.7 billion in 2016.

Similarly, in a March 2017 report, Bluefield Research predicted $20 billion in global spending for metering, data management and analytics by 2025. The smart water sector is expected to scale to $12 billion in the U.S. by that time.

The need to do more with less has been a springboard for utilities seeking innovative solutions to more cost-effectively manage billing and customer management, leakage rates, and energy consumption.

“By zeroing in on key drivers of operating costs, water utilities are optimizing their operations with smart technologies,” said Keith Hays, vice president of Bluefield Research, in a press release. “The solutions are not new, as they draw from existing equipment, software and analytics tools; but a significant hurdle will be integrating legacy systems with new software platforms.”

The report goes on to say that as much as 30% of water utility operating expenditures can be improved “almost immediately” through more dynamic and real-time system monitoring.

And in terms of trailblazers, European utilities are at the forefront of smart water in terms of operational solutions, while the U.S. leads in terms of metering.

Speaking of metering, you won’t want to miss this month’s Meter Source special section, featuring two unique applications, starting on page 30.

I’d also love to hear about any smart metering applications in your neck of the woods. Contact me to share your stories.