Special Districts Summit: Emerging Technology
An in-depth look at new technologies that will be vital for addressing these new demands.
The Sept. 16 Special Districts Summit on Emerging Technologies provided an in-depth look at innovative tools that will be vital for addressing future demands. Our panel of experts broke down key technologies and offered practical advice, lessons learned and important insights specifically for special district leaders.
Here are some highlights and takeaways from the summit:
-- Edge computing, 5G wireless, robotic process automation and serverless computing are some of the biggest technology trends for special districts. And broader use of virtual reality and artificial intelligence are on the horizon for many districts.
-- The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated adoption of cloud, mobile computing, AI-powered chatbots and other modern technologies as special districts responded to rapidly changing requirements.
-- Overall, the pandemic illustrated the importance of embracing new technologies, but careful planning and deep understanding of stakeholder requirements are keys to successful deployment of innovative solutions.
-- A platform approach to data helped the Moulton Niguel Water District in California quickly operationalize massive amounts of customer information generated by a new advanced water metering infrastructure. The district now uses the data to spot water leakage and detect metering malfunctions.
-- San Antonio Water District is deploying new technologies to make life easier for residents. The district launched a mobile-friendly portal for utility payments and added self-service features for creating payment arrangements during the pandemic. It’s also leveraging artificial intelligence to create a virtual assistant that answers customer questions via SMS text.
-- The Inland Empire Utilities Agency is modernizing industrial control systems in its wastewater treatment facilities, and it’s using IoT technologies to monitor water levels and track the condition of pumping equipment. In addition, the agency is preparing to revise its master plan to include emerging technologies such as AI to enable self-learning process controls that reduce energy consumption and overall operating costs.
Johnathan Cruz - Director of Financial Planning and Innovation, Moulton Niguel Water District, CA
Don Hamlett - Acting Deputy Manager of Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Los Angeles, CA
Sree Pulapaka - VP and CIO, San Antonio Water System
Devon Winthrop - Principal Architect, AT&T
Dustin Haisler — Moderator - Chief Innovation Officer, e.Republic