Thoughts

A place for education, information, and insights about the water industry.

Topics: Editorial

To Build or Not to Build?

April 14, 2020
| By Ali Barsamian

Times have changed and current customer expectations established by other industries are pushing water utilities to re-evaluate their customers' experience.  Providing a one-stop shop for customers to view and track water consumption, and take additional self-service actions is quickly becoming table stakes for water utilities of all sizes. Bluefield Research predicts a 17.1% compound annual growth rate for investment in customer engagement software platforms in the coming years.  As utilities consider deploying said solution, a myriad of team members from varying departments will likely want specific features or functionalities included with the project. Before long, the list of requirements can begin to feel overwhelmingly long and incredibly unique to the utility's particular needs. 

A natural reaction for some may be to assume their needs are so unique that a custom solution must be developed in-house in order to adequately
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Topics: Did you know?

WaterSmart Software Response to COVID-19

March 16, 2020
| By Ali Barsamian

Presently, we are in an unprecedented time and each day we are exposed to new information related to the COVID-19 virus.  The confusion and uncertainty surrounding the disease can certainly be unsettling. First and foremost, our thoughts are with those around the world who’ve been impacted by the virus. We are hoping for safety and health for all. Thus far, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. It is our understanding that standard water treatment methods used for filtering and disinfecting water, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate pathogens causing COVID-19.

At WaterSmart, the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners and communities is a significant concern for us.  We are a technology company, and like many other firms we have taken proactive steps to help minimize the exposure and potential spread of COVID-19, and we are confident in our

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Topics: digital engagement

Navigating the Path to AMI

March 4, 2020
| By Matt Finkle

On February 5th, the American Water Works Association released “AWWA’s Best Practices for AMI System Rollout as learned by the FGUA” exploring the Florida Governmental Utility Authority’s experience transitioning 27,500 manual meters to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). The article highlights lessons learned from the AMI project and best practices for other utilities to consider. With the analysis largely focusing on the design, construction and operational components of an AMI rollout, there was a gap for additional best practices utilities should incorporate for a successful AMI implementation and to drive long-term value from the investment.

Communicating the value of AMI

Because AMI implementations can take years to complete, it is beneficial to communicate the end-user benefits well in advance to avoid delays and backlash from customers. Utilities must incorporate a proactive customer engagement strategy to support

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Topics: Did you know?

Flowing into Fall 2019

September 25, 2019
| By Ali Barsamian
WaterSmart's platform continu es to evolve. P reviously expand ing from water-use efficiency tools to a broad er set of customer engagement systems. Now, WaterSmart has expanded to a more comprehensive approach to support ing utility operations with automated solutions that help utility staff get more done in less time. Below are some highlights of how WaterSmart's Fall 2019 Release streamlines utility operations .  
 
Summer's over, but will irrigation change?
 
To help manage the transition between dry summer to rainy fall, WaterSmart has enhanced our irrigation detection algorithm . T he 'Irrigators Last Week ' report detect s and track s all irrigation within 48 hours of rain events. Group Messenger empowers u tility staff to educate customers about timed irrigation . Messages are even more powerful now with personalization variables that communicate estimated irrigation volume.  
 
Bills, bills, bills
 
 
Money is a top priority for
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Topics: utility culture

The Retirement Wave is Coming: How will you manage?

August 13, 2019
| By Ali Barsamian
Our lives run on water. It is hard to imagine a day without a steady flow and luckily, in America it is rare we have to consider the possibility. For that security, we must be thankful for the hard-working water utility professionals that spend their days ensuring we have continued access to safe and reliable drinking water. These professionals play a vital role in protecting public health. And for this reason, maintaining a consistent and reliable workforce is incredibly crucial. Thus, a substantial wave of impending retirements in an industry facing recruiting challenges should be cause for concern.
 
It is projected that in the next 10 years, 37 percent of the water utility workers will retire . This is a substantial percentage of the workforce needing to be replenished.  As a result, utility senior management must be prepared to do one of two things: do more with less and/or implement programs that will help them to attract and
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Topics: operating expenses

Accounting for Utility Software Services

July 17, 2018
| By Jeff Lipton
The software vendor business model has evolved rather dramatically in the past decade or so. Traditionally, utility software providers (including SCAD A, customer information systems, work order management, rebate tracking, and other common solutions used by water utilities) would sell a pe rpetual license to their water utility customers who would then install the software on a local computer or server.  Customers would have the option of purchasing annual maintenance and support packages and could upgrade the installed software every few years as new versions with additional functionality became available. This business model allowed customers to 'own' the software which also meant they could budget for the technology expense in a single fiscal period and then decide whether or not to update to a newer version in the future.
 
Unfortunately this model has some inherent disadvantages for the water utility customer: 
  • The utility
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