Novel digital technologies are pushing forward water industry towards a new scenario of unprecedented potential. Today, companies around the world are embracing data-driven decision-making as the key approach to maximize the value of existing and new infrastructures and ensure the overall availability and security of water service.
Within this context, the growing deployment of cyber-physical systems in water has already unlocked a whole new world of opportunities for Smart Water systems. With Artificial Intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things leading the way, a broad range of digital innovation is now available for those accepting the challenge. The journey has just begun.
Opportunities and challenges for the water sector
Digital technology is rapidly becoming the largest enabler for value creation Water Industry has ever witnessed. Already now, opportunities for added-value digital solutions arise across the entire Water value chain, from a more efficient Water network operation to a deeper Customer Engagement. We are now able to build cyber-physical to address some of the most pressing issues for Water industries, but there is yet large room for opportunity to reduce costs, grow revenue, improve public safety and ensure cross-national compliance.
However, several highly relevant challenges must be addressed to fully realize the large disruptive power lying in the concept of Smart Water. First, data and service interoperability must be deployed through multi-heterogeneous legacy systems. Cybersecurity asks too for an extremely relevant transversal role in the coming future of water infrastructure. Together with that, massive scalability must also be equally provided to ensure a cost-efficient digital fabric on highly distributed environments such as Water Networks.
On top of this infrastructure, a novel mindset on service design will also be required to shape the Water Services of the future, ranging from predictive plant operation to AI-driven customer applications.
ARC position and activities
ARC aims to play a twofold role in the intersection of the Water and the ICT spaces. By becoming more and more involved in projects with a digital focus, ARC should expand its large domain expertise to integrate data and digital technologies into the water research scenario. From early adopters to technology integrators and prescriptors, ARC consortium has the chance to play a leading role in bridging the gap between Water and ICT.
Participation in European initiatives provides the path to implement that goal. As a key stakeholder in global Sustainable Development Goals, Water Industries must become a relevant use case for projects with a digital focus. That’s the case for STOP-IT, which deals with the protection of critical water infrastructures. At the same time, proper funding instrument on Water & ICT must be influenced by our community to ensure a maximum alignment with today and future needs of Water.