Water and wastewater utilities are actively exploring Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions to converge various aspects of their assets so they can holistically manage them and transition from a conventional to smart infrastructure.
Driven by the demand for smart solutions such as smart water meters, smart online water sensors, and smart non-revenue water (NRW) leak management, the global smart water grid market is expected to reach US$22.2 billion in 2020.
"Water and wastewater utilities are widely adopting data analytics platforms as analytics-driven intelligence is gradually becoming a key requirement for ensuring regulatory compliance and economic sustainability," said Paul Hudson, industry analyst, Sustainability at Frost & Sullivan. "By combining Artificial Intelligence (AI) with data analytics, technology companies have developed solutions that can learn from various events and provide customised preventive measures. The predictive and prescriptive intelligence not only improves the resilience of the infrastructure but also minimises the damage to the environment."
Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis, “Impact of IIoT on the Global Water & Wastewater Industry”, examines the application potential of digital transformation and IoT in the water sector. It analyses current trends and recommends strategies for long-term growth across regions. The study covers IIoT in water and wastewater utilities and networks, customer demand management, and treatment.
"Utilities that are embracing IIoT-based digital transformation are likely to adopt a modular approach that can be scaled over a period to cover the entire asset," noted Hudson. "As every utility has a unique set of challenges, smart solutions need to be first customized and then integrated into a single platform. Eventually, there will be a continual focus on upgrading software solutions and expanding their capabilities to include even climatic factors and climate change goals."
In addition to investing in advanced IIoT sensors and data analytics platforms, smart water treatment or management product/solution providers will find growth opportunities by:
Modifying their product lines to suit conventional infrastructure instead of merely focusing on new build/installation projects.
- Modularising their offerings and providing asset management and business intelligence as separate customised modules. This will allow them to focus on providing value to maintain and maximise the data generated by their product/solution.
- Partnering with holistic data analytics solutions providers, which can effectively maximise the asset management and intelligence capabilities.
- Engaging in M&A with large engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operation & maintenance (O&M) companies, which can help with market penetration in both the new build and existing project base.