Looking back on 2015, severe droughts, flat budgets and insights on decreased reading system life have affected the way utility managers make decisions about water metering systems.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (PRWEB) October 27, 2015
Looking back on 2015, severe droughts, flat budgets and insights on decreased reading system life have affected the way utility managers make decisions about water metering systems. As utilities plan for 2016, Badger Meter experts are available as resources to assist utilities in selecting the right metering system for their needs and creating more efficient and sustainable water infrastructures.
Four key water themes predicted to shape 2016 are:
1. Future-proof Cellular Technology: A 2015 sponsored study completed by industry expert Dr. Howard Scott, PhD, revealed water utilities change their meter reading systems far more frequently than the 20-year life expectancy for the meters alone. Enter a new appreciation for the cellular-enabled smart meter, like Badger Meter’s BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA), which utilizes ORION® two-way cellular and fixed network endpoints.
Dr. Scott’s research showed that utilities are updating AMR/AMI systems, on average, every 8.2 years. When a utility budgets for an upgrade every 20 years, but then is forced to update every 8.2 years because of rapidly evolving technology, already stretched utility budgets are pressed even further. In 2016, more utilities are expected to upgrade to cellular technology as it reduces the expense of purchasing, installing and maintaining infrastructure and allows utilities to do more with existing resources.
2. Managed Solution Model: As adoption of ORION cellular and fixed network technology continues to increase in 2016, utilities will also see an increase in the use of the managed solution model. One of the key components of a managed solution is the use of web-based software services or cloud computing. Quick to deploy with no hardware to purchase, cloud software is owned, maintained and installed by an outside vendor; however, the data remains the property of the utility. Because software is “hosted” by the solutions vendor, staff requirements related to infrastructure and software are decreased and municipalities have more time to focus on their core competency. Hosting software and data off-site also leaves critical metering data less susceptible to natural disasters.
Of course, the managed solutions model is only effective if customers’ data remains secure. With this in mind, in 2015, Badger Meter obtained certification of its Information Security Management System (ISMS) under ISO 27001 and met the Service Organization Control (SOC) reporting framework of SOC 2, both certifications with data protection and customer security top of mind.
3. Rise of Big Data: The continued growth of smart meters in 2015 brought “big data” to many utilities. This trend is expected to continue in 2016, with utilities and consumers seeking out systems that allow them to better understand and use the vast amount of information provided to them by their meters.
Utility Application: More information should not mean more work, and the most effective metering software solutions will provide utilities with analytics that promote action. Customizable dashboards, like those available through BEACON® AMA, allow utility managers to prioritize the information that’s most relevant to their utility. This will become more important in 2016 as utilities seek to further maximize the efficiency of their system and reduce consumption.
When it comes to reducing wasted water, leak detection is the low-hanging fruit. Near real-time water consumption data supplied by the meter reading system will show sharp spikes in usage if a leak is present. With this information, utilities can locate and repair the leak, saving both money and water. For example, with California’s statewide mandatory water restrictions likely to continue in 2016, leak repair is an easy way to reduce overall consumption.
Consumer Involvement: Droughts and water shortages throughout significant areas of the United States have created a need for consumers to become more mindful of their water consumption. The increased amount of information available to utilities through smart meters can also be shared with the consumer in an understandable way through applications like EyeOnWater, which allows consumers to view and understand their water usage. Consumer access to meter reading data can promote behavior changes that increase conservation and allow consumers to directly see the results of their efforts.
4. Smart City Movement: According to the United Nations, about 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas today and this number will increase to about 6.3 billion – 66 percent of the world’s population – by 2050. Rapid urbanization brings many challenges to city planners and leaders, chief among them how cities will meet the escalating demands of current residents while simultaneously planning for the demands of future residents. The smart city movement aims to increase sustainability in cities by integrating information, communications and technology across areas of a city.
While the smart grid concept started with electric utilities and has evolved to include natural gas, smart water networks are still in their infancy, but growing.
Organizations like the Smart Cities Council, in which Badger Meter is an Associate Partner, continue to push for the development of smart water networks, smart grids and other developments in the energy sector to help improve the livability, workability and sustainability of the world’s cities. With increased visibility from cloud technology, city planners can make informed decisions about resources that will lead to long-term fiscal savings and ecological gains.
As your publication looks back on 2015 and explores how environmental and industry developments will shape water infrastructure and metering in 2016 and beyond, Badger Meter director of utility marketing John Fillinger and marketing manager Kristie Anderson can serve as resources for your readers on the discussion and development of key trends.
About Badger Meter
Badger Meter is an innovator in flow measurement and control products, serving water utilities, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers worldwide. The company’s products measure water, oil, chemicals, and other fluids, and are known for accuracy, long-lasting durability and for providing valuable and timely measurement data. For more information, visit http://www.badgermeter.com.