3 steps water utilities should take to start using digital twin technology
Digital twin technology helps water utilities manage resources more efficiently and make smarter decisions about infrastructure. But if your water utility hasn’t used digital twin technology before, what’s the best way to get started? Here’s a three-step approach that will help you get faster results.
1. Audit available data and tools
The first step involves identifying what real-time data your utility currently has access to. With this information, water managers can determine all the areas where more detailed data can support better decision-making. Quite often, utilities are drowning in data, but lack the basic insights needed to make informed business decisions.
This audit phase also involves a closer look into what tools your utility could leverage to optimize operations. This can involve using tools that help you use existing infrastructure more efficiently to make your capital improvement plans more affordable.
2. Evaluate how a digital twin can add value
By evaluating how a digital twin can add value within the unique context of your utility, operators can explore the potential for an initial small-scale project to get a sense of what’s possible. This can be a straightforward, low-cost route for utilities at the early stage of digital maturity, allowing them to determine the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and the potential return on investment.
Evaluations are usually carried out with a trusted technology provider by way of a discovery project. This in-depth evaluation will provide the utility with a rationale for implementation, through interrogating questions like:
- Does the digital twin provide the necessary real-time decision support, giving operators recommendations based on current or predicted conditions?
- Can the digital twin automatically optimize and control assets within the network and provide alerts when anomalies occur?
- Are there limitations to the types of data the digital twin can leverage?
- Can the utility efficiently and accurately assess the ROI of digital deployment?
3. Prioritize digital twin projects
Lastly, by prioritizing projects appropriate to your utility’s specific goals and requirements, managers can determine the best route forward. It might make sense to start by optimizing a single asset or area of the system, or there could be an opportunity to move faster if there is an established understanding of how a digital twin can add value.
Every community, utility and system is unique, and while there is no one-size fits all approach, the opportunities afforded by digital twin technology are endless once it’s applied to maximum effect.
See how digital twin technology can transform your utility
Contact our Xylem Vue team who can help you audit, evaluate and prioritize your digital twin opportunities: Get in touch
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