Key trends to focus for 2022: The digital opportunity of the water industry

Grundfos partners with Baseform to bring digital services to all water utilities across the globe.

The water industry will continue evolving over the next decade to keep up with the new and existing challenges brought about by urbanisation, industrialisation, ever-changing customer needs, and not forgetting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Most important, climate change continues to have significant implications. The 2030 deadline of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is imminent, and we still have a long way to go. The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report notes that climate change is intensifying the water cycle, bringing with it more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions. When it comes to ensuring the water industry supports SDG 6 for Clean Water and Sanitation and 13 for Climate Action, it is not a matter of if, but when.

As we close off this year, it is necessary for the water industry to look back at learnings gained in 2021, and how these shape the trends to come in 2022. How can the water industry create solutions that not only benefit businesses, customers, and the environment, but also achieve optimum management and bolster resilience for water systems in the region?

Solutions created around decarbonisation
Firstly, we will continue to see sustainability driving more energy-efficient solutions that tap into new and innovative technology. While sustainability has been a long-standing trend for any industry, for this part of the world, efforts have only really picked up speed over the last decade or so.

What is encouraging is that countries are taking actionable steps towards decarbonisation in the region. Governments and industries are now focused on renewable and clean energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the ambition of reaching net zero. However, with limited resources in the face of a brutalising pandemic, the water industry needs to move strategically to meet sustainability goals. We found that the key to significantly reduce carbon emissions lies in innovating and delivering smart pumps and new solutions that enable our end-users to save energy.

Creating connected ecosystems with customers
Connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to be buzzwords across industries, but it’s not a fad. Customers now recognise the importance of prompt, efficient service, as it will minimise downtime and keep any impact to business continuity to a minimum. Moving forward to 2022, we will see this play out in solution providers finding new ways to connect with their customers effectively and efficiently.

One approach that has been successful in the last few years are mobile applications, which 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.

Transforming data into future insights
Lastly, we see greater demand for pre-emptive and predictive maintenance in water infrastructure, saving precise time, energy, and costs. Through IoT, advanced 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.

Markus Brandstetter is CTO at Grundfos.

The full article is published on the Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2021 issue. To continue reading, click here.