Water utilities are expected to drive global smart meter connection growth to 1.2 billion connections in 2022, according to forecasts by market research company ABI Research. By enabling water suppliers to quickly track and control inefficiencies in their infrastructure while empowering consumers to better monitor and subsequently adjust water consumption, smart meters are creating a win-win scenario for both parties. Furthermore, smart water meters contribute to creating a generally more environmentally-sustainable water provider-user system.
Smart water meter trials around the globe
With the deployment of smart water meters set to ramp up, water utilities worldwide are conducting trials of the devices. Here are some smart water meter pilot project highlights from around the world:
• In the UK, Anglian Water has embarked on a smart meter initiative in the towns of Colchester, Newmarket and Norwich, Should the trials prove successful, the water utility will look to extend the initiative to other customers in the region it serves.
• Following a successful pilot last year, Halifax Water in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia is now rolling out a state-wide smart water meter programme, investing nearly $20 million USD in around 84,000 state-of-the-art metering devices.
• In Melbourne, Australia, water utilities City West Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water are undertaking trials of digitally connected water meters and communications technologies.
• In a move to help it be more efficient and proactive in protecting its water distribution system while providing superior service and accurate bills for its customers, Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources in Georgia, United States, made a decision to deploy approximately 500 smart meters in a pilot project.
Make the right choice and get off to a flying start
So how can you get the most out of your smart meter trials? The answer: Trial the devices on your most engaged customers first.
Those who aren’t only interested in saving money but also genuinely interested in building a sustainable future are your most engaged customers. With sustainability high on their agenda, their values and behaviours are often aligned with yours, and they are more likely to want to engage with you on related initiatives for that reason.
It makes perfect sense to get your most engaged customers to test your smart water meter technology first. That way you’re more likely to garner valuable qualitative feedback that will enable you to make better decisions regarding wider implementation of the technology. With their feedback and suggested improvements, you can make sure you keep this group of customers happy by tailoring your services to their preferences and needs. Having this group endorse the use of your smart metering technology will play a major part in building trust and encouraging other customers to embrace the technology. And with more and more households using smart water meters, you’ll be in a better position to quickly identify and control inefficiencies in your infrastructure, meaning you needn’t dedicate as much time and as many resources to doing so.
With more time on your hands, you can focus on reducing your cost to serve and subsequently pass on savings to your customers while enhancing your customer experience. And there is technology to assist you in these areas too.
For almost three decades, Gentrack has been the provider of choice for billing and customer engagement solutions to the water industry. By automating back office processes in conjunction with new metering technologies, Gentrack solutions reduce service costs and free up time to focus on innovation and building exceptional customer experiences. For more information, chat to the Gentrack team today.