The tech stack of the future will be very different from the tech stack that utilities relied on ten years ago. But what could — and should — a water utility’s tech stack actually look like in the future?

Below, I share my thoughts on:

  • The challenges of building a future-proof tech stack
  • What future-proof attributes will look like 
  • The impacts on smaller utilities with limited resources

The challenges of building a tech stack

First of all, the future is something that is highly uncertain. Nobody can predict the future, particularly when technology is changing so quickly coupled with global risks like climate change. 

This means that, at the base level, when thinking about the technology that’s going to lead us into the future, we need to take the unpredictability of the future and its impact on utilities with us.

What are the attributes of a futureproof tech stack?

Simply put, the technology of the future will have to be easily scalable and something that is easily upgradable such as plug-and-play solutions.

I also predict that this type of technology will become ubiquitous because of the economies of scale. Everything is going to be digitized in the future, and water utilities will take advantage of this. With regard to the economies of scale, a future-proof tech stack will also need to be affordable — and not just for the big players.

Already, we can see this shift happening in terms of software and how, with artificial intelligence, it’s becoming easier for various stakeholders to use and be supported while performing their normal tasks.

What are the benefits of a futureproof tech stack for stakeholders?

The technology we’re discussing will help all utilities across the world, no matter their size. Let’s take a look at the benefits for a variety of stakeholders.

Benefits for small utilities

In particular, smaller utilities that have limited human and financial resources to invest will feel the impact of a future-proof tech stack. Since the technology will be more affordable and effective, smaller utilities will be able to enjoy huge improvements in both the operation and management of water.

Benefits for developing countries

I believe that Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia — or parts of Southeast Asia — will benefit immensely from this technology. This is because of the piecemeal, smaller utilities that are desperate for the technology that will help the limited operating capacity to be utilized to its maximum.

Benefits for operators

Operators who are very experienced or those that are drawn into the industry as of late will benefit from this technology because they will have a lot more support in terms of what needs to be done. For example, with this water tech, they’ll be able to easily forecast and scenario plan — in normal situations, they wouldn’t be able to do this.

Advice for smaller utilities on how to start building a future-proof tech stack

The best way to take the first steps into digitalization would be to invest in some measurement devices and simulation software so that operators can actually create a digital replica of their systems. This way, they can test different ways of managing future scenarios.

Qatium Experts

Dragan Savic is the CEO of KWR Water Research Institute and also a Professor of Hydroinformatics at the University of Exeter. Dragan is one of many experts that we co-create Qatium with.

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