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🌐 "Telecom Strategies Emerge at the Center of Digital Water"

The Future of Water

Photo by NordWood Themes / Unsplash

Host: Reese Tisdale
Guests: Nina Rossiter | Digital Water Analyst | Bluefield Research &
Eric Bindler | Research Director, Digital Water | Bluefield Research
Category: 🌐 Digital

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[6:59] EB: “In the context of our digital watering service, we look a lot at the competitive landscape of companies that are active in one way or another in digital water. And so certainly, there's no shortage of incumbents of pure plays of startups that are targeting digital water. But we've also been, increasingly, […] over the past […] year or two looking at some of those players that we consider to be outsiders looking in. Firms of different kinds that are […] on the margins of digital water, but they're increasingly looking to take more active strategic positions […] in the water industry.”

[7:30] EB: “We've done some analysis of big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft. We've looked at a number of financial firms that are getting more involved in the water industry. But I think the telecommunications players are another interesting subgroup […]. Certainly […] they've long had positions in water, they provide a critical service that just about any business has to take advantage of if they're trying to move data from place to place. But they're increasingly looking at water specifically as an opportunity to build and to grow. In the context of the water industry […], as we're seeing more and more adoption of digital technology, it means there's more data being generated all over the place. […] But for that to be useful, it really has to be mobile, it has to get back to a place where staff can actually look at it, access it, use it, analyze it. […] And all of that has to be reasonably quick, it has to be reasonably inexpensive, […] it has to be cost effective for utilities to take advantage of it. And so that's where the telecoms players and telecommunications networks really […] are essential to this process. And so what we're really […] interested in here is the way that telecommunications players of all stripes, […] around the world are looking at leveraging that infrastructure that they already have, and that footprint that they already have to get more involved in digital water.”

[9:49] NR: “What we're seeing […] is that the telecoms industry is increasingly saturated. […] So it only makes sense for them to take advantage of their strong position, which already has a high barrier to entry. And then with the pandemic, we've seen a huge push to remote work with support from government stimulus. And that's aside from the growing movement towards smart cities. So this creates a space that's beneficial for telecoms to increase their revenue, and expand their services. And then on top of that, we see these telecoms already have existing relationships and brand recognition. So, while there are differences that they'll have to adapt to, to serve the water industry, they still already have the foot in the door with cities and customers.”

[17:21] NR: “There's really three things that we see that differentiate the telecoms and their approaches. So the first group are the telecoms with the rules that we as customers are general people in the public are familiar with. They're more focused on providing connectivity and if they're involved in a water project, they're less likely to be front-facing and more partnership driven. […] An example [is] Cisco and T-Mobile. So on top of their IoT platform, Cisco also provides gateways and router hardware. But they generally rely on project partnerships when they work in the water sector. And then there's T-Mobile, which is a pretty traditional cell carrier, and […] what we hear is that they want to move into water related IoT projects, but they aren't as explicit in ensuring this motivation.”

[18:16] NR: “The second group […] are telecoms that have a role in water projects through providing a device ecosystem. […] They certify products that enter their device ecosystem, so they're standardized with their IoT data platform. But one thing to note is that these device ecosystems include water solutions. So overall, they're more broadly IoT connections that may also cover things like asset tracking, culture, monitoring, etc, that aren't necessarily for the water sector.”

[19:00] NR: “The final group […] are telecoms that may have a public focus on utilities or the water industry, or they're more heavily involved in carrying out the water IoT project. And the top two companies I mentioned is Motorola for one. They have an industrial IoT solution for water and wastewater utilities, and they monitor temperature, water quality, water level, etc. And then this data is then shared securely in a network and the operators use them to optimize pipe fix problems, like pipe burst and sewer overflows. And then the second one is Telstra. And although it's not that explicit, they've partnered […] to provide water sensors.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 36 min | 🗓️ 06/01/2021
✅ Time saved: 34 min

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