Tuesday, 10 March 2015

No. 87: Three things I learnt from Day 1 of the World Water Tech summit in London

  1. Chairing is easy if some else has already done the hard work: Fiona Griffith was due to Chair the afternoon session on Smart Water. However she rang me first thing this morning sounding close to death (food poisoning does that) and asking if I could step in. Since she had already done all the hard work (preparing questions, briefing the panellists) I was absolutely delighted to step in and take the credit for her hard work.

    It was particularly neat how one of the panellists arrived late and walked casually, calmly, with an air of nonchalance onto the stage just as I was finishing the introductions. His excuse fitted perfectly with the topic: he had used smart technology (his iphone) to ensure he arrived on time yet had not factored getting onto a tube train going in the wrong direction.

    No matter how smart you make things, nothing can beat that human ability to get it wrong.
  2. Attention to detail matters: One of my fellow conference attendees admitted at morning coffee that they had spent the last 2 hours sitting in the wrong conference. I didn’t know whether to laugh at them, or laugh with them, or just beat them senseless (to put them out of their misery).

    Admittedly it was a pretty big venue and we were in the downstairs conference suite while the world experts on solar technology were having their annual pow-wow upstairs. But there were signs. Pretty big ones too. And to spend 2 hours in the wrong conference…. That’s special.
  3. Fathom is the Apple of the water industry: I love Fathom. To be fair, I have done ever since I first saw it 3 years ago. It is a fantastic platform for managing and presenting data from water meters to both customers and utility companies alike. They now have a few million water meters using their technology, with many tens of millions more just around the corner. It is a breakthrough technology and I love it.

    However, the bit that excited me today was when they shared that they now let other tech companies use their platform to ‘do smart things with water meter data’. Just as Apple lets Developers create Apps that utilise the Apple infrastructure so Fathom are encouraging other tech companies to ‘ride’ upon the platform that they have established. This is a truly radical move and will provide a breakthrough in the rate at which smart technologies are launched and greatly increase their chances of success. It is an inspired move. I am in awe.

Tomorrow it is Day 2. I hope it is going it be as much fun as today.

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