BOSTON, MA, Apr. 1, 2011 -- According to new analysis from Lux Research, the market for technologies that help inspect and repair the world's aging water infrastructure is approaching $20 billion worldwide and growing at 10%. As utilities seek cost-effective ways of maintaining their pipe networks, Lux Research says the most lucrative solutions will come from technologies that can monitor the entire water infrastructure and enable targeted rehabilitation.
Lux Research surveyed the field of technology providers and broke it into two segments: Pipe repair technologies and monitoring technologies. It developed scores for the maturity and technical value of individual companies, and used these scores to rank the companies.
Based on their research, Lux found that pipe repair technologies lack innovation. Although pipe monitoring and characterization benefit from advances in information technologies, pipe rehabilitation methods remain a trailing technology.
Smart meters lead the pack in the monitoring category, but Lux Research notes that water meters have yet to see major market penetration. They observed the presence of massive companies in the market with little technological differentiation. "Future winners" in the drinking water industry, they predict, will facilitate smart-meter sales and ride the coattails of their success, including algorithmic event predictors, leak locators, and other methods for automating collection and application of smart meter data.
They noted a big move toward smart infrastructure monitoring options. Have a clear understanding of the entire infrastructure could save a water company tens or hundreds of thousands in repairs each year. Survey-quality GPS, sometimes combined with electromagnetic or ground-penetrating radar, is the first step and is fairly widespread. These systems, Lux explains, can map pipe infrastructure, creating three-dimensional maps that show exactly where the pipe is, correcting the widespread errors in existing maps, and at least ensuring that repair crews will find a pipe when they dig.
The report is titled "Plugging the Leaks: The Business of Water Infrastructure Repair" and addresses the challenges and opportunities surrounding the inspection and repair of aging water infrastructures. For more information, visit www.luxresearchinc.com.