Bluefield Research reported that big data and Internet of Things are poised to address the water infrastructure gap. According to Bluefield, than $20 billion is slated for metering, data management and analytics from 2016 to 2025 globally.
Smart water solutions are gaining traction with municipal water utilities, which see data and analytics as critical tools for overcoming the age-old issue of crumbling water infrastructure. At the root of this change is the mounting financial pressure that is forcing water utilities and municipalities to do more with less. This has sparked an uptick in demand for 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. "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."
In some cases, the results have been significant: decreasing non-revenue water—leaks and billing errors—and reducing energy consumption by 50%. As much as 30% of water-utility operating expenditures can be improved almost immediately through more dynamic and real-time system monitoring, according to Bluefield.
The smart water sector is expected to scale to $12 billion in the U.S. and $11 billion in Europe by 2025. Other hotspots for smart water activity include Australia, Singapore and Israel, where water stress and established utility network operators are more receptive to advanced technology adoption. European utilities are at the forefront of smart water in terms of operational solutions, while the U.S. leads in terms of metering.
Bluefield has seen an uptick of M&A with larger, more diversified players like Honeywell, Trimble and Xylem moving deeper into the sector. "Smart water is bringing a wide range of new companies into the water industry, from multiple sectors and value chain positions, which is fitting for an industry opening itself up to the massive potential," Hays said. "We expect to see more industry consolidation over the next three to five years as technology firms build utility track records and larger industrial players find synergies within their larger product portfolios.”
These and other findings are from Bluefield's new Smart Water Reports, available for purchase and immediate download from its website. Media copies are available for Global Smart Water Update: Market Trends, Competitive Shifts, and Project Activity and Europe Smart Water: Market Forecasts and Utility Strategies, 2017-2025.
Source: Bluefield Research