Talking about the Future of Water Networks: Smart Water Industry Forum in IWA
This morning TaKaDu chaired an IWA Industry Forum entitled “Smart Water Networks: Data-driven solutions for water networks management”. We were joined by executives from three solution vendors from across the value chain: Telvent - a leader in data aggregation and visualization, Echologics – a pioneer in advanced acoustic analysis, and Hetek – a Canadian resource-loss management provider. Our own Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO, represented the Water Infrastructure Monitoring angle.
After a brief presentation by each of the companies, we held an expert panel attempting to crack some key questions in the smart water space – starting from the most obvious: What is a Smart Water network? On that point, all speakers seemed to agree that data fusion and analytics are key to turning a water network to a “smart” one. But while Haggai and Jokin Larrauri (Sales VP of Telvent Environment) were adamant that advanced analysis of existing data is enough to make the network smarter, Peter Weick (Echologics’ VP Sales and Marketing) talked about the missing pieces, including smarter acoustic detection. Andy Pauley, VP and GM of Hetek, noted that we are still struggling to create a water system that can react to external stimulus, or in his words: “at least as smart as an amoeba”…
The panel then went on to discuss the current state of the industry and the challenges still ahead. Andy Pauley, VP and GM of Hetek, mentioned the still-too-high costs of telecommunications, resulting from the telecom operators’ inadequate tariff structure for m2m (machine to machine) cellular communication. Jokin talked about the need to align different stakeholders in the utility, each in charge of its own siloed system, and get them to agree on the structure and architecture of the unified data layer. Haggai mentioned an awareness gap as to what can and cannot be done using analytics. It’s not easy convincing industry veterans to consider an alternative approach to managing their network. Nevertheless, as all participants agreed, we’re on the right track – the data-driven revolution of water infrastructure has begun.