Age of intelligent metering and big data: Hydroinformatics challenges and opportunities
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We are at the dawn of a new era of widespread intelligent water metering delivering live consumption data to utilities and consumers in developed nations. As with most new technologies, intelligent metering will follow a type of hype cycle, where initial excitement and great expectation on its benefits is weighed down by disappointment and disillusionment from early adoptions and then strategic enlightenment will prevail and ultimately productive strategic implementation. Fortunately, the conservative nature of the water industry and the challenges of intelligent metering implementation have meant that the excitement never reached fever pitch and the sensible path to strategic enlightenment is being progressed, albeit very slowly. While the large multi-national metering and software companies have created a range of products and software systems for utilities to automatically collect, store and present reports on customer and citywide water consumption data, a plethora of informatics challenges urgently need to be addressed by researchers, engineers, planners and computer scientists to yield the numerous claimed urban water planning, engineering and management opportunities that can be extracted from this big data revolution. If the call to arms to address such challenges can be realised, significant opportunities will surface including water loss reductions, real-time design optimisation of water networks, live online water use tracking and billing, heightened customer satisfaction with the water utility sector, to name a few.
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Urban and Regional Planning