At Master Meter, Inc we pride ourselves on being technology partners to water utilities for more than four decades. We work hard to stay in tune with industry trends so that we can offer our customers cutting-edge technology. We realize though, that our customers may not share our techie tendencies.
We wanted to shed some light on Smart Cities, a topic you may have noticed in several of this year’s blog posts. Adding the “smart” adjective has become so common it can easily be dismissed as just another buzzword. Smart Cities, however, is an organized movement being led by various stakeholders, both public and private, to help cities grow with changing technologies.
What does this have to do with you–a municipal water utility?
Smart Cities are centered around the IoT or “internet of things.” The internet of things simply means any object with an on/off switch that can or could be connected to the internet. If you have AMI or AMR technology in your system, you are already part of the IoT.
Never heard of it? Don’t feel alone. According to Forbes magazine, 87 percent of people haven’t either. Like every industry, IoT and ICT (information and communication technologies) are terms used in the technology industry that may not resonate within the water industry’s own glossary of terms.
Still wondering what this has to do with you? While the future may not be knocking at your door yet, it’s imperative to be aware of what is happening across the industry. According to the 2017 American Water Works Association State of the Industry Report as well as the Black and Veatch Industry Report, the renewal and replacement of aging infrastructure is one of the top challenges facing the water industry. This infrastructure doesn’t just include the pipes and valves in the ground. The water utility system of today often includes technology-based components including AMI/AMR systems and also the digital infrastructure such as customer portals, apps, and data management software.
Technology is changing the landscape of the world and water utilities are not immune to this change. According to an article in the December issue of Water World magazine, “on one hand the water industry has been around forever; on the other, we are on the cusp of change, turning toward smarter, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to address age-old infrastructure issues.” Technology requires investment and more and more cities are finding it difficult to meet operation costs through revenue alone. Financing is going to continue to be a hot topic in 2018. We published The Essential Guide to Financing Smart Water Projects ebook as a resource for our customers to meet these financing challenges.
IoT may sound like something from the future and off your radar, but water utilities are one of the primary growth verticals for the Smart Cities movement. Ultimately, the goal of Smart Cities is to help reduce waste and improve efficiency, a goal that should be echoed by every utility. Unfortunately, water utilities aren’t always brought to the table when cities begin talking about adopting a Smart Cities approach. As water is the most precious resource humanity depends upon, it is critical that water utilities be aware of and versed in these evolving trends. We, by no means, claim to be soothsayers but we can be a trusted partner in providing content that serves as a roadmap for what lies ahead. We hope that our ebook on financing serves as a piece of the roadmap for our customers to start 2018 one step ahead of the rest.