The Future of Water

June 25, 2022

Rebekah Eggers from IBM shares her views about One Water, interesting challenges in the water sector and her thoughts on what she expects the industry to look like in the next five years!

Video Transcript

Speaker: Rebekah Eggers, Director, Client Engagement & Innovation, Global EE&U, IBM Technology

What comes to mind when you think or hear about the term "One Water"?

Rebekah Eggers: When I think about one water, it's really a concept that is inclusive of the integral water cycle. It's a concept that spans organizations, geography, these boundaries with all this focus on sustainability and decarbonization. It's important to note that there is no green without blue. There will be no industrial progress without one critical element and that's water. 80 to 90% of operations are being stood up in areas that are water starved and the World Bank estimates that by 2050 some countries will give up 6% of their G. D. P. To water scarcity in order to sustainably reinvent the integral water cycle and ensure supply chain and decarbonization progress, we're going to need to find the right mix of science, technology, innovation and culture, the work you're doing in water matters.

What’s one of the most interesting changes you’ve observed in the industry recently?

Rebekah Eggers: one of the most interesting changes that I've seen is this combination of exponential technologies and the exponential impact they're having on the world. For example, we're seeing organizations leverage Ai and automation in their operations and their operations are becoming more self aware and they're continuously learning. We're moving from a time where we've designed for efficiency to a time where we're starting to design for responsiveness. A great example of this is in work and asset management. We've had analytics for years that allow us to move from time based to condition based maintenance. Many organizations have experimented with this but few are allowing machines to actually decide our P. A. Is not enough. But when combined with AI we're able to infuse trust. We're able to continuously learn from patterns and trends. And a great example in real life of this is the civil infrastructure company Sundin Belt Who have optimized maintenance and they've been able to extend their bridge lifetime to 100 plus years and that's able to eliminate 750,000 tons of carbon that would otherwise result from new construction

What do you expect our industry to look like in the next 5 years? A

Rebekah Eggers: Well, if I've learned anything in the past 20 years, that's probably that any attempt to predict the future is beyond to fail, shouldn't we have flying cars by now in any event, absent a crystal ball or clairvoyant abilities, I would put my faith in the readings of trends despite our best efforts, more than likely the climate crisis will continue to escalate. That's on the negative side. But on the positive side, I have faith in technology and in our ability to deliver across ecosystems. I think what we can expect is that workflows will span ecosystems and become more open. I could explain this by the fact that today customers expect us to have a seamless experience across channels within an organization, but in the future they're going to demand seamless experiences across ecosystems on connected platforms. We have the ability today to capture data at its source and securely deliver that across multiple platforms with the hybrid cloud and AI technologies. An example of this would be digital water city's water reuse projects in Milan Italy. What there started to do was essentially connect the water public sector with the agriculture community, sharing data openly about what sort of water quality and quantities were needed for the agriculture production. What they found just two years into the four year project was that another industry was involved and that could be the insurance industry because with the digitalization that the agriculture companies were putting in place, the insurance agencies were able to de risk the policies in order to provide a better price to the agriculture companies who were proving their irrigation practices through technology. So I think we're going to see more of that. In the future. We'll see the blending of industries. We'll see open sharing of information and we'll see a more seamless experience from a customer standpoint.

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