Leveraging IoT to create a powerful global impact with smart water systems

By 2024, there will be 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections across the world and a variety of industries. In order to realize the full potential of these connections, we need intelligent tools that make it easy to connect and deploy devices across global systems. Managing massive amounts of connections and subscriptions will be a challenging task, so we are collaborating with Ericsson on global connectivity for enterprise OEMs, based on our needs as we undergo a digital transformation.

Showcasing smart water systems with Grundfors pumps at Ericsson's MWC booth

Chief Digital Officer, Grundfos

Chief Digital Officer, Grundfos

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By entering the IoT ecosystem, we will remain an innovative leader in water management technology and hold true to our core values of providing ground-breaking technology, improving the quality of life for people and taking care of the planet. In Ericsson’s recent podcast episode, we spoke about our digital transformation and mission to solve some of the world’s water challenges.

Using IoT as an enabler for a powerful global impact

Grundfos is leveraging IoT technology as an enabler to help improve water management and reduce energy consumption. We hope our efforts will have a positive impact on statistics such as 844 million people don’t have clean water, according to the World Health Organization. Additionally, 10% of all electricity used in the world today goes to pumps, but if all pumps were upgraded to the latest technology, that number would drop down to 4%, resulting in huge savings in energy consumption.

Our company makes roughly 17 million pumps a year. Sensors relay data on pump health and performance, such as pressure, temperature and velocity. By gathering this data, we can take more responsibility for the functionality of the products. The intelligence gathered allows us to predict when pumps need repair or replacement, resulting in fewer unplanned outages and more effective maintenance – something greatly valued by our customers.

All of our new pumps will be “born digital.” This is a term we coined to sum up all three components that each new pump will feature: Additional sensors, artificial intelligence on the edge and connectivity. With these components, we will be able to further improve the intelligence the pumps have and connect to the cloud to deliver actionable insights from the pump itself.

Data is everything

Capturing data is a priority to continue our efforts as a leader in water management. We continue to look for areas where the company can add more sensors without greatly increasing the cost or the need for service. The ultimate goal is to turn the pumps into sensors themselves by putting algorithms on board to help them understand how much water each pump is seeing, what the pressure is, what the temperature is, what types of turbulence are taking place that may damage things in the larger network of pumps, and other data. By being able to pick up on such insights and send them up to the next level, we will be able to innovate in new ways with our customers. Customers will be able to have a better understanding of the functionality of their pumps and continue to improve upon them.

Additionally, we can use data to create even better products by understanding how our customers are using the products. Better products will lead to additional customers, data and even greater products - it’s a positive spiral that we are excited to explore.

Having access to such extensive data will also allow us to create valuable tools our customers can use daily. These tools have the potential to provide us with additional financial revenue streams that can help us speed up and accelerate our work on our mission.

Partnerships are key

Instead of trying to build everything ourselves, we learned to turn to partners for support in areas that are outside our expertise. We partner with strong players like Ericsson on our connectivity solutions. Ericsson provides us with first hand insights and expertise in the very latest connectivity technologies and a myriad of topics, including selection of eSIM (eUICC), country-by-country regulations on cellular roaming and use of Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), for signals that reach deeper into buildings.

After working with Ericsson, we deployed the connectivity management solution from IoT Accelerator to track and control networked assets at local, regional and global levels through a single, unified and intuitive device connection platform.

With predictive analytics we can determine not only when a pump may need to be replaced, but also show how to optimize the flow and delivery of water. We will turn the data we collect into actionable insights that can immediately deliver value to our customers. These analytic capabilities also put us in a position where we can successfully evolve our business from selling pumps to selling them and their maintenance as a service.

Our expertise and role in water management continues to grow, and so will our role in the establishment of smart buildings and cities. As a global leader in water management systems, we are excited to be paramount in the creation of smart water networks and related critical infrastructure.

Ericsson is joining Grundfos, a global leader in advanced water pump solutions, at IoT Week to showcase our collaboration on global connectivity for enterprises and CSPs. Visit Ericsson and Grundfos at the show.

Hear from Fredrik directly by listening to our podcast, Talking IoT with Ericsson, where he shares how global water infrastructure - and its players - are benefiting from digitalization, and what Grundfos’ role is in this digital ecosystem.

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