In North America, a water utility survey has revealed that three quarters of US providers are planning to spend up to US$1 million on smart water in the next 12 months (75%).
The report based on a survey of 86 water utilities found that nine out of 10 water utilities have a smart water plan and around 40% of respondents plan to spend between US$1 million and US$5 million in the next 24 months.
Water utilities are taking on a variety of smart water technologies, including AMR (60%).
Meanwhile, a third of respondents are working on AMI, MDM and data analytics.
Challenges to AMI deployment
The findings, jointly compiled by research company Zpryme and the Smart Water Summit (SWS), also revealed that although water utilities are interested in smart meters and billing, there are challenges to adoption.
Cost emerged as a top concern (79%) but finding a business model to make smart investments feasible for water utilities is also front of mind (49%).
Cybersecurity (35%) ranked as the third major concern.
Another hindrance to smart meter adoption is a skills gap within utilities to manage systems integration (52%) and data analytics (47%).
Water utility survey – other findings
Other findings from the survey showed that many water providers use traditional forms of customer engagement, such as door hangers and paper bills, but are looking to expand their customer engagement efforts to include social media.
The survey also showed that while some utilities are considering managed services (27%), nearly half are not sure about managed services (47%).
Some respondents weren’t sure because they did not understand managed services.
When it comes to customer engagement tools, water utilities use their website the most, followed by email and social media.
Smart water innovation
The water utility survey was released to coincide with a trade event in the US last week. At the event, wifi smart sprinkler company Rachio won the 2015 SWS Vendor To Watch award.
While water meter software company Smart Earth Technologies scooped the 2015 SWS Best Smart Water Product or Solution award.