During one of Europe’s largest water industry events, Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW), the ICT4Water cluster has reached out to water professionals worldwide. From November 4 until November 8, ICT4Water was involved in a number of outreach activities.
Aquatech Innovation Forum
AQUATECH innovation Forum was a one-day interactive conference concerning the key developments in the digitalisation of the global water market that took place on November 4. Participants came from Europe, USA, Asia and Australia representing water utilities, the industry, academia and municipalities.
Interesting debates took place during the different sessions. Just to highlight a few:
• How do we calculate/ communicate to shareholders the non-financial benefits from water digital transformation?
• How do we open-up proprietary data to SMEs and small-players outside utilities to exploit the potential of Artificial Intelligence? How can we meet the principle “as open as possible as close as necessary”
• Will (water) utilities be fully Artificial Intelligence enabled in the near future?
The Director of EASME Julien Guerrier was the key note speaker at the closing session of the Forum “Shape the future agenda: closing remarks”. In his speech, Mr Guerrier conveyed the following three messages:
• First, the European Commission is investing in water digitalisation through calls for proposals and the ICT4Water cluster.
• Secondly, this support will continue in the future and the water sector could lead by example in the double transition for digital and climate .
• Finally, digitalisation is a means to an end, which is sustainability. And all actors involved in the process need to strike a balance between the benefits and the potential negative externalities of digitalisation on the environment.
The ICT4Water cluster was occupying a booth at the exhibition area. Five projects (HYDROUSA, NEXTGEN, SIM4NEXUS, RESCCUE and STOP-IT ) where represented and hosts from HYDROUSA and NEXTGEN welcomed visitors, explained about the cluster, their projects and provided demonstrations of their innovatie solutions.
Very fruitful discussions took place in the ICT4Water booth. Projects had the opportunity to demonstrate and discuss their work with key players in the field like IBM, Water Foundry and Innovyze. Most of the audience came from water companies from all over the world and their interests were varied, such as those interested in applying the ICT tools to their products, implementing new low-cost desalination systems and rainwater recovery. Nature-based systems attracted much attention as a provider of low-energy and efficient solutions.
Next to that, the booth proved to be a good vehicle to bring together researchers from the various member projects who used the opportunity to network and exchange ideas, results and experiences.
Assembly of the Action Group leaders
The assembly of Action Group leaders discussed about the activities to be carried-out by each group in 2020 and beyond. Even though not all groups have already identified specific activities to carry-out, a common framework for the key features of such activities was agreed upon. Activities should:
• Fit with the mission of the Action Group as described in the ICT4Water Digital Single Market for Water Services Action Plan;
• Be relevant for several projects and provide the opportunity to engage several individuals from the cluster;
• Be easily communicated as one endeavour and make clear what the benefits for members who participate in these activities are.
This first meeting of the Action Group leaders follows-up the Cluster’s Annual meeting of June 2019, where the groups were defined and their members identified. Regular meetings –both virtual and physical- will be organised throughout the year to advance with the activities.
The annual event of 2020 will take place in June and a save the date message will be sent out soon.
The participation of the ICT4Water cluster and its members in this major water industry event was a successful occasion to make new connections, strengthen the existing ones and understand main trends in the sector.
The cluster coordinates and support its member projects to better communicate their results, exchange best practices, and participate in big events in the water sector …..join us!