Utilities are steadily upgrading to smart water networks to prepare for rising energy and water demands in the coming decades. This technology enables a water utility to maximize efficiency by using real-time data to address system weaknesses. To start creating a smart network, water utilities must first set priorities on goals of efficiency in the planning stages of transitioning to it.
Once IoT sensors are embedded in the IT system, analysts can then use the data gathered by them to evaluate the efficiency of the entire infrastructure. The data will expose areas of concern for the water utility to reduce or prevent wasted resources.
Components of Smart Water Networks:
- Information: using data to streamline operations
- Integration: installing smart devices on existing infrastructure
- Innovation: able to support future developments
These three core concepts empower utilities to stop water leaks in the early stages of damage before they become costly disasters. They also enable the utility to allocate water resources more efficiently, as well as provide customers with real-time water consumption data.
Real-Time Data Benefits
At the foundation of smart water networks is the concept of actionable data. Collecting relevant information is a primary key to using smart technology for system optimization. The fact that multiple IoT devices communicate instantly with a centralized administrator makes it possible to monitor utility system processes in real-time. Ultimately, this accelerates decision-making.
Access to real-time data saves utilities money because it allows experts to fix problems much faster, since they can be detected as they happen. The data from an advanced GIS system pinpoints problem areas with precision, so that managers know where to send maintenance crews to fix issues. What used to take hours or days to resolve now takes just minutes. In the long-run, risks and costs are lowered.
Greater Connection with Customers
By providing customers with real-time data on their water usage, utilities can strengthen their public image. As customers begin watching their bills more closely, they can save money by making adjustments based on data provided by the utility. It's a win-win for customers and the utility, creating a more trusting relationship. Boosting customer satisfaction also plays a big role in building customer loyalty that translates into increasing revenue.
Smart devices make up the building blocks of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which sets the stage for accurate data collection. Relevant metrics for water utilities to use to improve customer satisfaction, such as production levels, water pressure, flow, temperature and customer consumption, are key performance indicators (KPIs). Additionally, in estimating downtime due to maintenance, the utility is able to give customers more accurate estimates.
More Accurate Projections
Smart technology allows water utilities and their customers to plan more effectively for the future with more accurate forecasting. Utilities, like most large organizations, use historical data to gauge demand cycles. It guides them toward making adjustments in production to meet efficiency goals. Another reason smart technology is spreading across water utilities is because it uses automation to trigger solutions and alerts.
Every water utility in the world should consider shifting to smart water networks to meet growing water demands. The data these systems deliver improves analysis and strategic planning for achieving ROI, while meeting customer needs.
To learn more about how smart technology can modernize your operation, check out our technology guide.