News | March 14, 2014

How Meter Data Analytics Drives Sustainability

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Meter data analytics are critical to making smarter decisions about water infrastructure. As concerns about water sustainability mount, it's clear that a major overhaul of water distribution systems, many of which are sorely out of date, is critical to driving serious change in conservation. The problems of outmoded equipment are compounded by insufficient management and oversight. Many communities and utility providers agree that distribution systems need to be transformed, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Communities and utility providers can use meter data analytics to help reverse the traditional lack of oversight and institute a system that relies on granular information for decision making. With smart measurement tools, organizations can identify the biggest pain points in local water infrastructure and correlate proposed overhaul with the amount of resources it would save. At the same time, it is important that communities and utility providers understand that using data analysis to drive change is not as simple as procuring some smart measurement tools. When it comes to water sustainability, a cultural or attitudinal change is part of implementing useful conservation projects.

It's not just data - it's what you do with it
Big data analytics has risen significantly over the past few years, credited with driving change in various industries. However, the act of gathering data does not ensure its intelligent application. According to a recent Black & Veatch survey of utility companies, 32 percent could not identify the type of data analytics they use. While some indicated that they leveraged analytics tools for measurement, descriptive and predictive purposes, a widespread lack of knowledge about the purpose and potential of analysis tools is discouraging.

Not fully understanding what smart tools like meter data analytics can do often leads to organizations and communities concluding that they do not need or cannot afford them. While smart measurement tools may have higher upfront costs, their immense long term benefits ensure that they soon pay for themselves. That's the foundation of sustainability initiatives - the notion that making a crucial investment today will provide substantial long term benefits that would not be possible without the initial splurge.

John Hoeksta, Schneider Electric director of sustainability, recently dispelled that sustainability is too expensive in a piece for the Environmental Leader. Sustainability can be attained by laying a smart groundwork for more ambitious projects. He specifically cited water management as a way to dramatically decrease facility and organization costs, as the significant savings in this area provide organizations leverage in their subsequent projects. Water infrastructure is one of the top sources of needless waste, not only of water but of community and company resources. Meter data analytics can help organizations cost-effectively attack one of their most pressing problems.

SOURCE: Master Meter, Inc.