According to Bluefield Research, big data and the IoT will attract over $20 billion globally between 2016 and 2025 in the water sector, providing solutions in metering, data management, and analytics.
The organization reported that, “Cutting-edge, smart water solutions are gaining traction with municipal water utilities, which see data and analytics as critical tools for overcoming the age-old issue of crumbling water infrastructure.”
Bluefield sees this as a natural response to “mounting financial pressure” among utilities and municipalities that are struggling to improve performance and infrastructure on tight budgets. As result, these stakeholders are looking for “innovative solutions to more cost-effectively manage billing and customer management, leakage rates, and energy consumption.”
“By zeroing-in on key drivers of operating costs, water utilities are optimizing their operations with smart technologies,” said Keith Hays, vice president of Bluefield Research. “The solutions are not new, as they draw from existing equipment, software, and analytics tools, but a significant hurdle will be integrating legacy systems with new software platforms.”
Research conducted by the organization seems to indicate strong results, showing that strong returns by mitigating water leaks, billing errors, and reducing energy consumption. Bluefield suggests that, “As much as 30% of water utility operating expenditures can be improved almost immediately through more dynamic and real-time system monitoring, according to Bluefield.”
In the United States and Europe, Bluefield expects that the water sector will climb to $12 billion and $11 billion in value by 2025. Other hotspots indicated by the organization for big data and IoT in water Australia, Singapore, and Israel, areas combating water stress and that have established utility network operators who are more receptive to advanced technology adoption. Bluefield also stated that, “European utilities are at the forefront of smart water in terms of operational solutions, while the US leads in terms of metering.”
The US (39 projects) and UK (21 projects) were the most active smart water markets during the last six months of 2016, followed regionally by Continental Europe and Latin America. Source: Bluefield Research
Bluefield has reported an increase in mergers and acquisitions driven by large, diversified industry players like Honeywell, Trimble, and Xylem. “Smart water is bringing a wide range of new companies into the water industry from multiple sectors and value chain positions, which is fitting for an industry opening itself up to the massive potential,” said Hays. “We expect to see more industry consolidation over the next 3-5 years, as technology firms build utility track records and larger industrial players find synergies within their larger product portfolios.”