"The Utility of the Future"

The water industry is traditionally known for its conservative approach, from processes and procedures to implementation of new technologies. While this has served the industry well in the past, new market dynamics are forcing water utilities to open up to new approaches and different ways of addressing challenges. The industry is changing – more mergers and acquisitions, more end-user concerns, and increased focus on water infrastructure events such as contaminated water supplies caused by aging equipment and water lines. New demands are driving change across the industry value chain. As a result, industry leaders are approaching usual infrastructure issues in unusual ways.


Bluefield Research recently completed a study which identified the following 8 trends that will impact the water industry in 2018.


  • Resiliency, as a strategy, moves to the forefront
  • Water to play a leading role in the transformation of commodity exploration
  • Water reuse provides a key opportunity for a long-term supply option
  • Lack of infrastructure investment from government opens doors for private sector
  • Utilities must look for ways to reduce costs with more cost-effective materials
  • Water for agriculture to become more advanced
  • Asset Management is a crucial aspect of the “Utility of the Future”
  • More M&A in 2018 as new players look to water for opportunity


The “Utility of the Future” is particularly interesting. Water utilities face heightened pressure from multiple fronts – competitive, regulatory, culture. Consumers continue to push back on rising water rates which increased by 4% this past year. Burdened with aging infrastructures and often lacking visibility into how their equipment is performing, utilities are expanding their perspectives by looking at alternatives to optimize their operations and regain an edge in the market. One area where utilities are keying on is asset management. “From asset reliability and performance management to visualization of sensor and asset historical data, to optimization of asset replacement through condition-driven risk profiling and better design optimization, municipal water utilities have never had such a wide commercial offering of solutions to improve how they plan, monitor, and manage their critical water infrastructure.” (Source: Bluefield Research)


The industry appears to be increasingly more receptive towards smart water technologies. There is are innovative providers like TDG Technologies that offer smart sensors and connected wireless networks for providing utilities with critical visibility into machine performance. By retrofitting pumps and motors with wireless vibration and temperature sensors, utilities can view the health of their machines from any device, even using smartphones or tablets. This visibility empowers utilities to proactively stay ahead of potential problems in an effort to prevent expensive repair costs or avoid crippling down time. Utilities are also deploying other smart devices, including wireless power sensors which deliver the key metrics that enable more efficient power utilization at their facilities.


While we don’t know exactly what the “utility of the future” will look like, we do know that change is inevitable for companies to effectively compete in an increasingly challenging environment. Smart technologies and smart sensors will deliver market leading advantages for those innovative utilities that are bold enough to lead the change. 


If you want to learn more about our SmartHAWK™ line of wireless industrial sensors, our products and other information can be found at www.tdgtechnologies.com.  Feel free to also contact us directly at (760) 466-9234.

Randy Zanassi