Local digital transformation is often directed by trends and direction occurring overseas. The EU has a reasonable amount of effort in the area.

Cognizant tells us that “Globally, utilities are the beneficiaries of advances in digital technology and analytics. Some of these (predictive analytics; machine learning and artificial intelligence; unstructured data analytics; video and thermal imagery from drones; cognitive computing; robotics; the Internet of Things; and blockchain) can resolve many of the problems facing water utilities.”

Cognizant discusses the key industry drivers that are leading this change as;

  • Demand Growth,
  • Climate change,
  • Driving Water Resources,
  • Funding Gaps,
  • Ageing Infrastructure,
  • Stiff Competition.

That report also tells us that the water industry has several major digital disruptors that includes;

  • Connected Networks (IoT),
  • Cognitive Enabled Automation,
  • AI, Machine Learning,
  • Blockchain,
  • Robotics-Enabled Automation,
  • Drones, Big Data Analytics.

The European Union is funding research and innovation under a program called ICT4Water. In updating the latest roadmap Achilleos identified the main gaps and challenges still to be addressed as;

  • Big Data
  • Data infrastructures
  • Link with Smart Cities
  • Nexus, Water–Food- Energy
  • Standardization
  • Lack of reliable field trials

David Nixon has worked the water industry for over 30 years across a variety of utilities, engineering and business consultancies. David currently acts as director and advisor to a variety of organisations across Australia. david@nixonclarity.com

Diagram shows the ICT4Water action plan for single market of water services

Credit: Cognizant and Achilleo