Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud- or edge-based data analytics platforms are boosting the global market for smart water and wastewater leak detection systems, according to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan.
By 2026, the market is estimated to garner a revenue of US$1.99 billion from US$1.23 billion in 2020, up at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%, the technology research firm predicts.
"The high rate of urbanisation in most developing countries has increased the pressure on existing water and wastewater infrastructure, which has pushed the demand for leak detection solutions, partly to improve asset efficiency and partly to meet water conservation goals," said Paul Hudson, energy & environment research analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "To tap into this growth prospect, leak detection solution providers should integrate their technologies and customize services to meet customers' demands and exploit investments made for the development of Smart Cities and resilient infrastructure."
The report cites the move toward a circular economy and holistic sustainability will present immense growth opportunities for market participants, varying considerably depending on the region:
- Asia-Pacific: Aerial imagery and in-line probes/robots have a high potential for easy adoption among APAC countries, including India and China, and Southeast Asian countries.
- Europe: European water utilities are exploring multiple technologies to detect and monitor leaks in pipelines. Water conservation policies and smart city investments are expected to drive the growth of leak detection solutions in Europe.
- Latin America: Pressure sensor-based leak monitoring and detection solutions have the highest potential because of added benefits like energy efficiency and resource optimization.
- Middle East and Africa: Smart City investments by GCC countries will drive the growth of leak detection services and software and data analytics solutions.
- North America: North America is the largest market for smart water leak detection solutions. Leak prediction and prescriptive intelligence are the next steps for solution providers in the region.
Hudson noted that the increasing adoption of cloud-based data analytics, ML and AI is transforming the industry's business model from product-based solutions to leak detection services.
“Further, utilities' emphasis on a 'one-stop solution provider' for leak detection in both their water and wastewater networks is encouraging solution providers to embrace new business models such as technology-as-a-service (TaaS) and leak (or non-revenue water (NRW)) management-as-a-service (LMaaS). TaaS enables service providers to fully control and strategically expand and enhance their technology offerings, whereas LMaaS could help focus on the growth and market penetration of smart solutions such as continual leak monitoring and proactive prevention,” he explained.