Our planet faces an unprecedented combination of water security and resilience challenges. The UK Water Partnership (UKWP) is providing leadership and a unified approach to the UK’s efforts to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions, and to ensure that the UK’s experts, innovators and entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the global response.
The water sector will need to continue to embrace change in order to address the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities. Adoption of digital approaches, techniques and thinking will play a pivotal role in the journey of innovation, change and transformation. The digital revolution will reshape our industry and, in the process, presents emerging commercial opportunities for UK plc, requiring , a focused, national effort to capitalise on those opportunities and deliver important benefits for the UK and the rest of the world.
WE DEFINE DIGITAL IN WATER AS:
Exploiting data to create enhanced actionable insight and improved decision making.
Employing digital insight to improve business process performance by making individual steps more efficient, eliminating steps, or reconfiguring a business process as a whole. Utilising digital techniques to enable creation of new markets.
Enabling the creation of entirely new value-adding products or services.
Digital thinking will impact every aspect of water, from management of sources, treatment technology and efficiency, consumption and customer engagement, through to re-use, collection and recovery of economically and environmentally important resources. In fact, it has the potential to revolutionise the water sector and its interaction with customers and the supply chain in ways that were previously unimaginable.
Innovative digital products and services are being developed in the UK and ongoing support is essential to help these companies flourish. However, there are also a host of digital opportunities for UK companies to significantly increase their global reach. In particular, through collaboration between the water sector and areas of the digital economy where the UK enjoys global prominence, such as mobile communications and computer gaming. Further opportunities lie in the integration of smart, customercentred approaches, commercializing niche applications and developing hitherto unappreciated applications.
The global sales opportunity is immense.
The size of the “smart” water market alone was assessed as $20billion in 2014 and is projected to grow to $30billion by 2020. Enabling UK plc to capitalise on the global digital water opportunity requires a mix of activities, not least in defining and presenting our expertise, and the subsequent, co-ordinated promotion of that expertise in receptive markets. This White Paper and Call to Action, published by UKWP following consultation with stakeholders from across the industry, seeks to contribute to the global debate. It explores the issues and opportunities, encourages collaboration and support for innovation, and identifies a way forward to assist the UK to take full advantage of those opportunities.
The UKWP is committed to playing an enabling role in ensuring that progress is delivered at pace, working collaboratively with stakeholders to an agreed plan and timetable. “I welcome the UK Water Partnership’s vision of galvanizing UK stakeholders to come together in a focused, national effort to embrace the digital revolution in the water economy, to capitalize on the many commercial opportunities, and to help improve the planet’s prospects for long-term water security and resilience.”
Rt Hon. Richard Benyon
Chairman, the UK Water Partnership
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