April 9 is Global IoT Day. It’s a day when tech nerds around the world will celebrate how IoT is making cities smarter and improving and simplifying life for communities across the globe. As a water tech company, we’re fans of IoT. We spend significant time with customers on best practices to deploy new technology, but we also go home at the end of the day and shift to the role of water customer. What does IoT mean for them? IoT allows utilities the opportunity to offer their customers a quadruple bottom line.
Advanced meter infrastructure (AMI), meter data management (MDM) software and customer portals are all examples of IoT in the water space. These technologies are vital to help utilities deliver the quadruple bottom line–quality, resiliency, reliability, and efficiency. The primary objective of all water utilities is to ensure the quality of the public water system. Many sensors and software technologies allow water providers to monitor and adjust the water quality throughout the system in real time.
Water utilities must sustain resilient water resources. Water supplies face significant challenges from both growing population demands, but also environmental stressors such as drought and flood conditions. Supplies can no longer only be sustainable; they also have to be resilient when faced with these challenges. Water IoT solutions promise customers more resilient water supplies by providing them with data they need in the format they need to make more informed decisions. Customer portals demonstrate to customers the value of efficient water use in a way that resonates with them the most—their water bill. Real-time data empowers customers to make proactive real-time decisions that directly impact the bottom line of their household. They no longer have to make reactive decisions based on data that is, often, a month old.
Beyond the customer’s meter, AMI and MDM software help ensure reliable water delivery through the detection of line leaks and line breaks. New technology such as our ultrasonic Octave meters allows cities to detect water loss events at flow levels as low as 1/16 gallons per minute. Early detection prevents service disruption for customers by catching issues before they become significant breakages. It also allows utilities to manage the sources of non-revenue water that eat away at revenues. Curbing the non-revenue water losses keeps more revenue in the utility for repair, replacement, and maintenance–this can lead to less dramatic rate increases over time.
Last, but not least, IoT in water encourages more efficient account management. Detecting and eliminating leaks in the water system is essential, but a moot point if utilities don’t have the tools for financial sustainability. Utility billing is optimized when all the pieces of the system are communicating and working in tandem. Utility billing is the chief financial officer of the water system. Consumption, ease of billing, and customer service go hand in hand to create superior customer experience. Superior customer experience often translates to more support and buy-in down the road. It’s how utilities directly add to the value proposition of the product and service utilities offer customers.
As water professionals, we’re acutely aware of the value that water utilities bring to a community. For decades, we’ve done our job so well that we’ve faded into the background of the day-to-day. Investing in innovative IoT solution in water such as AMI, MDM, and customer portals introduce customers to the next generation of water utilities. We add value to their daily lives the same way every other public utility and brand on the market does. Technology allows us a new forum in which to interact with our customer and demonstrate our value. Are you ready to offer your customers the quadruple bottom line?