As the world’s water infrastructure ages and significant amounts of water are lost to leakage and decaying pipes, utilities are being challenged to protect water resources and close the gap on lost profit. Understanding that data and predictive capabilities can be key to overcoming these challenges, GE (NYSE: GE) today announced the expansion of its digital water capabilities during WEFTEC 2016.
“In the U.S. alone, an estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of water are lost annually due to infrastructure challenges, like water main breaks, pipe bursts and unidentified leaks,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO—water and distributed power for GE Power. “GE’s goal is to build a more sustainable water future by delivering software-as-a-service (SaaS) through a single platform, Predix*, to produce operational efficiencies that improve water quality and availability worldwide.”
GE’s vision for digital water solutions centers around three main areas: the connection of “inside the fence” plant operations with “outside the fence” distribution networks; the utilization of software solutions to proactively identify and prevent potential problems in real time; and the collaboration of industry organizations and associations to move digital concepts forward.
GE Suite of Software Solutions
Today, GE is announcing three software proof of concepts, powered by Predix, that specifically address pipeline health, storm and sewer management and water plant efficiency:
• Pipeline Health—Working in partnership with American Water, GE has initiated a SaaS proof of concept focused on water distribution piping, which digitally maps total pipeline health and provides proactive risk identification. The software is designed to combine disparate data sets with pipeline risk algorithms to identify probable high consequence failures and hidden leaks in drinking water pipeline systems.
• Storm and Sewer Solutions—Working in partnership with MWH Global (now part of Stantec), GE has released a new software solution focused on sewer and storm water overflows. The software will utilize level sensors and mapping to enable faster reactive maintenance and increased proactive maintenance to reduce overflow frequency and number.
• Digital Water Plant—GE currently leverages its InSight* Asset Performance Management solution to optimize water treatment plant assets and operations. Taking this one step further, GE’s new digital twin technology will have the potential to create a powerful digital replica of a customer’s plant that would enable them to run more efficiently and reliably while reducing costs and maintaining compliance.
Additional software solutions are in development and will be released in the coming months.
GE Digital Partnerships
As a way to further its commitment to being a leader in the digital water space, GE has entered into several partnerships that help advance its vision of solving global water and wastewater challenges through data and analytics.
• Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN)—GE joined the North American Alliance of SWAN to help accelerate smart water and wastewater development in North America through the forum’s collective, global industry expertise.
• Smart Cities Council—GE has a long history of partnership with the Smart Cities Council, which promotes the move to smart, sustainable cities. With a strong emphasis on access to water in urban areas, GE hopes to contribute to long-term solutions and increase the water sustainability of cities worldwide.
• Imagine H2O—GE has entered into a “beta partner” program with Imagine H2O (IH2O) and is committed to supporting and deploying water innovation within IH2O’s portfolio companies, which in turn gain access to insight on how to scale their technology on a global scale.