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🌐 "Water Quality in the Cloud"

The Water Values Podcast

Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

Host: Dave McGimpsey
Guest: Neno Duplan | Founder & CEO | Locus Technologies
Category: 🌐 Digital

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[6:26] “Well before the pandemic, there were examples that cloud had this clear advantage. And unfortunately, primarily related to major accidents that we witnessed over the last 10 years or so. One of them was the Deepwater Horizon platform that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and sank. Now imagine if all the data associated with that platform were sitting on the platform itself, how hard it would be to get all analytics and what really happened before the accident. It would be all lost with the facility itself. […] The other one is Fukushima, the nuclear power plant was wiped out by the tsunami wave. And with it, all infrastructure went down the drain together with the parts of the facility. Again, if you have your key information and data stored in the cloud, you avoid those types of disasters and can continue acting upon the data, even when the plant is gone.”

[8:16] “If you look at the water utility business that supplies the drinking water to most of the taps in United States, we are talking about 20,000 plus utilities, most of them, I would say over 90%, are still running on spreadsheets. And the amount of data is multiplying from year to year, [thus] it's becoming almost impossible to run the requirements that these utilities have to report their data to regulators off the spreadsheet. So that's one of the main main drivers behind the digital transformation to get the facilities of the spreadsheets and get them in a 21st century and cloud based databases.”

[9:00] “The other challenge is, we have multiple sets of data that need to be managed. Obviously the most important are the data relative to distribution of order and quantities of water. But that's relatively easy compared to water quality data that stems from the analytical labs and that require very strict processes […] starting from collecting the sample, how that sample is shipped to the lab, how [it is] analyzed in the lab, and all the metadata that come out of the single test result. All of that combined creates a significant amount of data that requires a specific knowledge to be able to withstand the validation of the data in the case it ends up in any kind of litigation. For that reason, companies need to be very careful how they automate those processes.”

[9:59] “And then […] you have data sitting in different silos. […] There is a set of data coming from analytical labs, there is field data, there is data associated with operation of water treatment plans and they are all […] independent silos of information. You really can't do much without it unless you integrate it and make it interoperable among the data sources. […] Frequently we get asked the questions, “we are reading about artificial intelligence and all these cool new technologies, how we can benefit from that?” And the company asking that question is still running the spreadsheets. And I tell them, you are three generations behind, you can't really even talk about AI, before you build your databases, make them interoperable, and capitalize on the historical data that you have in your cyber systems.

[25:00] “We are at the very beginning stages of digital transformation in many different ways. […] I think the significant impact that is that is being done on a water business is proliferation of IoT technologies, […] where anything that could be tested remotely using some kind of sensor is advantageous, because you don't need to have a person in a pickup truck to drive to the location to collect the sample, put it in a bottle, administer it correctly, and then send the results back when they arrive. Anything that can be done to shorten that process and make it more bulletproof with newer technologies […] is hugely important. The other element that is very important that we see on the horizon is blockchain technology. […] That's still 3-5 years away, but it looks like the market is going in that direction.”

[29:00] “The key element is that digital transformation is going to be beneficial to just about everybody in the process of […] delivering clean water on the tap. We have been witnessing almost now on a monthly basis [a] city […] hitting some kind of water related crisis on a regular basis. And if we could automate those processes, normalize them and look at water distribution and water quality management from a single perspective and be able to find out where we stand. How come for example, I can type in Google almost anything I want to find information on [and] in a few seconds [get the result]. And then if I want to find out how many water utilities in the US have […] lead, it's almost impossible to find it. Because the information doesn't exist. And shouldn't that be something of primary interest to every utility, every citizen to find out what is the quality of the water?

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 34 min | 🗓️ 06/15/2021
✅ Time saved: 32 min