3 Challenges Facing the Water Industry Today
And how Flow can help address these challenges.
When you were in school, you learned that the Earth is more than two-thirds water. The conclusion: water is ubiquitous. But drinking water is anything but free or available. You take it for granted that when you open the tap, clean water will pour out.
Thanks to the hard-working people in the water industry, many of us have access to potable water. With minimal unnecessary interruptions.
This feat is not without its challenges.
1. Sourcing information from disparate, legacy systems.
The replacement of ageing infrastructure is an ongoing process. Along with the physical elements, the systems monitoring the process need modernisation. For obvious reasons, the industry prioritises the replacement of physical infrastructure.
Complete replacement of systems is not always an option, if ever. The challenge is to source information from the existing disparate, legacy systems.
The water industry also faces increasing demand. An increasing population, or even increased population density, drives this demand. More water equals more information.
2. Transforming and reporting on the predominantly time-series data from these systems.
You need to know the status of your dams and reservoirs in near real-time. Are you meeting the high-quality standards demanded? There are thousands of parameters that you must track and report on. Most of this data is time-series data and is measured every few seconds. Sometimes with millisecond precision.
A second challenge is to transform this time-series “big data” into actionable information.
3. Configuring your reports “out-the-box” sans coding/scripting knowledge.
Many reporting solutions exist. Most rely on an understanding of coding or scripting. This in turn, requires special skills, often requiring outsourcing. Large capital projects may justify this. But you do not want the maintenance of your reports to be an operational expense. Imagine needing to outsource report changes every time you add a metering point.
The answer to this is a self-service reporting solution. This is the third challenge that you must meet.
Flow can help address these challenges
Flow can integrate with disparate data sources.
What you need is a reporting platform that you can install across your disparate systems. This platform must be agnostic to where the data is coming from. It should allow you to retrieve data from your legacy systems. Even from those that use proprietary protocols.
Better yet, it should also allow a human to capture data. Sometimes, the “human data source” is the only available/reliable one. At other times, automated systems fail, and business continuity relies on manual interventions.
Flow can transform time-series data.
Your platform also needs to understand time-series data intuitively. Most data in the water industry is time-series because it comprises continuous processes. Pivoting time-series data highlights areas of opportunity. Such as how to increase efficiencies, or to reduce waste. A platform that transforms time-series data to context-rich KPIs is invaluable.
Flow is a self-service solution.
You want to enable the responsible people with the right tools. If there is a risk of contamination or large water losses, those who can do something about it need to know: As soon as possible. Imagine suspecting a problem but only being able to prove it after your IT guy/coder has built you a report! Not good enough.
Your platform must empower you to build your reports as-and-when you need them. Better yet, you would like that information before there is a problem.
The bottom line, your utilities engineers can build the reports they have always wanted. Out of the box. No scripting. And no coding knowledge required.
Flow Software provides a platform that meets these, and other, challenges. Our customers have been using this platform to extract actionable information from data. Business owners, process engineers, and the like, have been configuring these reports. Not IT or automation gurus.