Badger Meter, a leading global innovator and manufacturer of flow measurement, control and communications solutions, today shared four key trends predicted to shape the water utility industry in 2017. The trends are based on the company’s experience in working with thousands of water utilities across the United States in helping them to select the right metering system for their needs and creating more efficient and sustainable water infrastructures.
“In 2016, we saw advancements in cellular technology, data analytics and managed solutions that can help utility managers more effectively and efficiently understand, monitor and manage their operations. We expect these trends to become even more significant for water utilities in 2017,” said John Fillinger, director of utility marketing at Badger Meter. “We also predict an increased focus on the water meter itself, because the key to optimizing a software analytics platform is obtaining the most accurate and reliable usage data possible.”
Four key water themes predicted to shape 2017 are:
- Growth in Cellular Communications. Compared to traditional Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems, cellular-based communications offer substantially greater ease in deployment and scalability. Cellular endpoints rely on existing cellular networks, thereby eliminating the need for traditional network infrastructure, such as gateways. Because of their flexibility, cellular endpoints can be deployed rapidly, from targeted implementations for large commercial customers and hard-to-read locations to full-scale rollouts. Badger Meter was the first major meter manufacturer to introduce cellular endpoints to the market. Since launching its ORION® Cellular endpoint in 2014 as part of its BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA)managed solution, the demand for this innovative technology has far exceeded expectations. The company is at the forefront of future advancements in cellular networks as a major participant supporting the water utility industry in a pilot for AT&T’s first LTE-M commercial site designed to support a variety of IoT solutions, including smart meters.
- Interest in Managed Solutions. Along with the increase in cellular technology is an evolution to a managed systems approach to data management. Traditionally, utilities implemented and managed their own networks, which for many provided operational challenges in the areas of communications infrastructure management and the IT resources needed for software and hardware support. In the provider-managed cloud-based systems approach, the provider installs and maintains the operation of the network, leaving the utility responsible only for the meters and endpoints. The software applications are hosted by the solutions provider, enabling utility staff to do what it does best – manage the utility’s operations. The Badger Meter BEACON AMA managed solution is hosted off-site on the largest global cloud hosting service, leaving critical metering data less susceptible to natural disasters. All that is needed to access the software is a personal computer and browser. Committed to data protection and customer security, 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.
- Acceptance of Software as a Service (SaaS). The transition to software as a service is a trend that is impacting virtually every industry, including municipal water. Many utilities are finding cloud-computing to be a viable alternative to investing money and staff time in maintaining and updating their own servers and operating software. Cloud-based platforms use open-source software that is not reliant on any one vendor. They are subscription based, with utilities paying only for the number of endpoints deployed. Cloud-based software is quick to deploy, does not require any hardware purchases, includes automatic software updates and can be scaled up or down as needed. Utilities using the BEACON AMA solution can also engage their customers in water conservation through the EyeOnWater® mobile app that enables consumers to see and understand their water use on their smartphone or laptop.
- Recognizing the Importance of the Meter. Today’s software is only as good as the data it relies on, and that’s where the quality of the water meter comes in. While some may consider water meters to be a commodity, investing in highly accurate, long-lasting meters adds value to the total metering system, driving revenues and helping to ensure the reliability the decision-making information provided by the metering software. The nutating disc technology used in all Badger Meter Recordall®positive displacement disc meters consistently indicated higher accuracies at the lowest flow rates compared to other meter types in a 2010 study by the Water Research Foundation. As confirmed by the study, the nutating disc technology incorporated in Recordall positive displacement meters provides a solution that can drive additional revenue and provide the lowest cost of ownership. In addition, Badger Meter offers more metering technologies than any other major meter manufacturer, including its line of E-Series® Ultrasonic meters that use solid-state, high-frequency sound waves to measure flows.
By selecting the right meter for each application and a cloud-based managed-services software platform with cellular technology, water utilities can efficiently operate their water delivery system and provide accurate, responsive, customer service.
About Badger Meter
Badger Meter is an innovator in flow measurement, control and communications solutions, 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 www.badgermeter.com.