Solutions to the continuing conflicts between aging infrastructure and pressure on utilities to ensure a safe, resilient water supply, are increasingly focused on software, data and analytics. In US Smart Water: Defining the Opportunity, Competitive Landscape, and Market Outlook, Bluefield Research quantifies the trend, predicting that utilities will spend more than $20 billion over the next decade on such “smart water” technology.
“Historically, utilities have been hobbled by their inability to generate actionable insights from disparate networks and water usage data, but this is changing with more advanced data management and cloud-based solutions,” said Will Maize, senior analyst at Bluefield Research.
Advanced water meters represent the majority of forecasted expenditures, at 82 percent through 2026. At the same time, Bluefield reports that more than $2.7 billion will be spent on asset condition assessment and pipeline monitoring, and $1 billion on leakage management.
“While smart meters garnered the most attention, asset intelligence and visibility into real-time network conditions offer significant benefits,” said Maize. “Water companies can now go from being reactive to proactive.”
Change is also occurring among the providers meeting this demand. In the advanced water meters market, established players are consolidating and expanding their product/service portfolios to optimize the value of data collected through their installed hardware. Metering leaders have moved downstream into communications, data management and analytics, and acquisitions have created new players.
Outside companies are positioning to deploy state-of-the-art solutions for integrating disparate sources of data in ways that optimize networks, track water quality and generate insights for asset performance management. These include venture-backed data and analytics start-ups seeking to leverage their expertise, mostly from other industry applications. Companies from more mature smart water regions, such as Europe and Israel, are also making headway in the U.S. market.
“The market is already beginning to take on a different shape.,” said Maize. “We are seeing larger, diversified companies enter the fray, utilities reshaping their mindset, and Silicon Valley-types applying data expertise. This combination has huge potential to change the way the U.S. water industry works.”
Boston, MA-based Bluefield Research provides data, analysis and insight focused exclusively on water markets that help executives validate their assumptions, address critical questions and strengthen strategic planning processes.