3 Tech Trends in the Wastewater Industry

From artificial intelligence to more remote collaboration, standards and technology are changing in the wastewater industry

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3 Tech Trends in the Wastewater Industry

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The wastewater industry is changing. New technologies are delivering more data than ever before, and inspection software is becoming increasingly effective in managing, analyzing and storing data. 

Technology is getting more advanced every day, and the intricacies of modern hardware and software are working their way into every corner of the sewer and water industry. Whether you’re a contractor out in the field or an essential services provider with a local municipality, it’s time to prepare for a fast-paced, highly efficient shift in sewer inspection workflows. 

1. Greater use of artificial intelligence in wastewater inspection 

It’s a common misconception that artificial intelligence, or AI, will soon replace human workers in the sewer industry. In reality, AI will actually support operators in gathering better inspection data more efficiently. Sewer inspection and defect coding is an imperfect science, but AI has the potential to bring greater speed, consistency and accuracy to observations. Machine learning-enabled AI can shoulder routine tasks, freeing up operators to focus on crawlers, cameras and other equipment operations. At the same time, AI image recognition can process visual data, pinpoint at-risk areas, determine defect types and sizes, and help inspection teams make informed decisions. 

2. Rising expectations for inspection footage quality 

When it comes to reporting defects, deliverables need to be detailed, exhaustive and accurate. Operators rely on high-quality video to identify trouble areas during inspections, and expectations for resolution quality are rising, whether the footage is streamed live on a tablet or played back from a browser. This could require investments from both end users and camera manufacturers in brighter LED lights, longer zooms, faster frame rates and HD technology, as these assets support the intake of high-quality data. 

Additionally, current and newly developed AI technologies benefit from HD inspection footage, so the spread of AI is triggering greater interest in higher quality imaging solutions. Image resolution is determined by the quantity of pixels on a screen, and image recognition tools rely on a high volume of pixels in order to “see” clearly. 

So, the higher the resolution of inspection footage, the more pixels the footage has, and the more accurate and efficient AI will be at recognizing and cataloging the plethora of defects that operators encounter in the field. 

3. Growing reliance on remote collaboration 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a tremendous shift toward remote work across all industries. This has significantly changed the nature of communication and collaboration among professional teams worldwide. 

In the wastewater world, cloud-based technologies are proving invaluable, allowing field operators and office personnel to share project files and other deliverables instantly without inundating in-house servers. Furthermore, cloud collaboration enables inspection teams to access data from anywhere, whether on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. 

To make this remote collaboration and communication feasible for the long term, 5G is expanding across the United States. In an article for Forbes, Bernard Marr states that “...4G led to the growth of streaming video and music platforms as bandwidths increased, and 5G, likewise, will open more doors in terms of what is possible.” With 5G, complex computing tasks will not only benefit from increased speed but also from increased accessibility. Mobile service issues will be a thing of the past, giving rural inspection teams the ability to communicate, collaborate, send reports and share data, all from the work site. 

As AI continues to develop and advances are made in remote collaboration and inspection technology, there is a lot to look forward to in the world of wastewater tech. The industry is changing, and inspection teams around the world are stepping up to meet new challenges using innovative inspection and asset management solutions. How is your team keeping up with the trends? 

WinCan empowers wastewater operators and contractors to prepare for the future with cloud-based services, budgeting tools, asset management integrations, GIS compatibility and AI capabilities. Schedule a free demo with our experts to learn about these and more: 

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