Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2018

Water & Wastewater Asia • November / December 2018 GRUNDFOS SPECIAL | 21 water infrastructure systems as well as improvements in wastewater management. Through the Internet of Things, advanced real-time data collection and sensors, water networks can access information that allows them to operate in a more predictive manner, reducing downtime and avoiding serious business and environmental consequences. For example, Grundfos’ Wastewater Network Connect application, a cloud-based platform that allows water and wastewater utilities to connect their pumping solutions to Grundfos cloud, can help attain 10 to 25 per cent energy optimisation in the water and wastewater network. By leveraging advanced analytics and algorithms to predict leaks, the application helps fix problems in the water network before they happen, preventing wastage of resources and energy. Such predictive models enable innovation at a large scale and hold the potential to revolutionise the way water is sold, distributed and consumed. The same goes for wastewater, in terms of how it is collected, treated, recycled and discharged. They can also be applied to cities’ reactions to extreme climate change events, and the use of water throughout industries. Companies can generate real-life simulations of a problem and its proposed approach before construction, completely without risk, to test various approaches and optimise them. This is the direction we are taking at Grundfos with the establishment of Future Lab, a setup that seeks to explore intelligent solutions to some of the earth’s most challenging water-related problems. One of the scenarios we are investigating aims to predict the weather and communicate such information to water utilities, buildings and ultimately cars, allowing them to re-route when the risk of flooding is high. In the absence of vehicles, roads can then potentially be used as riverbeds for transportation. ENGAGING WITH THE CONSUMER Predictive models and algorithms are at the core of building a digitalised water industry of the future. However, these models and algorithms are not limited to developing energy-efficient intelligent products. They are also central to engaging with consumers and creating better customer experiences. These predictive models enable the development of customer-centric solutions, including systems that automatically adjust water temperature for maximum comfort and those that raise an alarm when a pump is about to fail. Such digital solutions even pave the way for companies to try out new business models that can benefit the industry as a whole. For instance, Grundfos is today exploring the use of a payment model based on per cubic metre water usage in a resort in Thailand. The cost savings resulting from energy efficiency in their solution can be used to offset any extra charges during periods of high-water usage, benefitting both the consumers and the service providers. The customer benefit of predictive models is further amplified by digital communication and engagement tools that deliver information from leak identification to water usage insights to the customer. This information can help customers and consumers to understand their water consumption habits, save money and avoid issues such as water damage to their property. Another highly effective offering of the digital age has been mobile applications that have redefined customer experience. From paying bills, monitoring usage and deriving information on water quality, customers can use these apps as an end-to-end service, moving away from the mindset of pumps as a product. For example, the employees at a car wash in Berlin use an app by Grundfos to monitor the filling level of canisters using a QR code and ensure that new canisters can be ordered in time automatically. PURSUING PARTNERSHIPS As several start-ups specialising in building algorithms and data analytics enter the market, the incumbents need to adopt a partnership approach to build the water industry of the future instead of just competing with them. To optimise the benefits presented by the digital model, the expertise of the disruptors needs to be combined with the experience, resources and knowledge of the big industry players. Realising the added value that can be brought about by such collaborations, Grundfos is ready to work with software start-ups to bring joint value propositions in building sustainable wastewater and clean water networks. Even as organisations lead the way in the revamp of the water industry, they need to work with governments to implement nation-wide changes that can address the challenges faced by many of these countries. CONCLUSION In the face of growing demands and the gamut of challenges faced by the water industry, it is understandable to adopt a reactive approach. However, to ensure sustainability and growth, thinking big and thinking ahead is paramount. Organisations and government bodies need to work hand-in-hand to revamp the water industry and bring in the digital revolution that will allow the industry to stay ahead of the game.