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Key Insights from Roundtable Discussions on the Intelligent Water Transformation

Current’s second annual Innovators Forum during WEFTEC brought together 150 of the industry’s leading innovators, investors, and end-users for an afternoon of compelling panel discussions and lively roundtable sessions on ”The Intelligent Water Transformation.” Fifteen leading digital solutions innovators led ten roundtables on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to optimization and analytics. Below are key takeaways from selected roundtable discussions.

Artificial Intelligence (hosted by EMAGIN) – Data ownership is at the core of AI penetration of the water industry. While utilities and end-users are seeing AI companies benefitting from using their data, they many want that value returned to them. Understanding how the customer’s data is being handled, anonymized, and accessed is key.

Asset Management Software (hosted by AqMB and Innovyze) – Don’t drown in data you cannot use! The first step is for the user to determine what data is needed and how the data will be used. From there, only collect data to meet those purposes.

Customer Experience & Engagement (hosted by Gigi Karmous-Edwards) – Utilities that use web portals, social media and texting can enhance customer engagement and build trust with frequent, transparent, and personalized communication. This approach also helps customers to better understand water system operations and, therefore, the “value of water."

Remote Sensing (hosted by AMS) – Water treatment facilities are typically unable to adjust to changes in influent water quality, leading to failures that may go unnoticed. Real-time sensing and monitoring solutions can make these systems 'intelligent' and better able to cope with changing water quality while maintaining compliance.

Smart Devices (hosted by Accredent and GrayMatter) – Truly understanding the value of smart instrumentation versus the value of the asset is important to define. While instrumentation is important to reveal how an individual asset is operating, the real value is in fleet analytics (e.g. how is one pump working compared to pumps in other facilities). And, given these insights, how are engineers responding to operating conditions to optimize performance?

Other roundtable topics and hosts included: Blockchain & Crypto (hosted by WaterChain); Cyber Security (hosted by Rockwell Automation and WIN-911); DNA Science & Technology (hosted by FREDsense and Microbe Detectives); Leak Detection (hosted by Mueller); and Optimization & Analytics (hosted by IOSight and Optimatics).

For more information about the event, and to read take-aways from the panels, check out our other blog post.

Interested in learning more? Contact Steve Frenkel at sfrenkel@currentwater.org if you would like to participate in our next Innovators Forum in Chicago during WEFTEC 2019.

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