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The Miracle Cure: Tech Trends in the Water Industry and Beyond


In the ever-evolving landscape of the industrial world, there’s always that one magic potion that promises to solve all our problems. Or should we say, there’s always a vendor peddling a “miracle cure” in the form of technology. Whether it’s labeled IoT, BIM, Smart, 4.0, Digital Twin, AR, AI, or the alphabet soup of TPM, RCM, Lean, in the water industry, it usually goes by the name of “Smart Water.” Indeed, the resemblance to Holy Water is striking.


It seems there are two tried-and-true methods for selling this miracle cure, reminiscent of those old snake oil salesmen. You can either price it dirt cheap, enticing a multitude of buyers, making their decisions easier while lowering their expectations as they think, “Well, it was cheap anyway.” Or, you can make it outrageously expensive. A hefty price tag somehow makes the product appear superior, and the higher margin can be doled out as sales incentives to various stakeholders—or perhaps to fund the development of more legitimate products later down the line.


Siveco China finds competition in both price categories, and based on the feedback we receive from our customers, it appears their offerings are, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable. It’s akin to peddling water that’s been vigorously shaken. When it comes to achieving tangible improvements in compliance, O&M, or asset management, these projects typically yield minimal to no discernible results.


We’re all guilty of getting swept up in the whirlwind of new technologies and trends, often lured by the shiny allure of the latest gadgets. Securing budgets for trendy technologies is easier, after all. These are genuine factors we must consider. At Siveco China, we’ve been pioneers in technological innovations for O&M, and we understand the appeal. Yet, industrial engineers, particularly experienced water industry practitioners, aren’t easily fooled. Many can see right through the empty promises of technology vendors. As the smart water bubble begins to deflate, more water industry clients are recognizing the wisdom in Siveco China’s time-tested stance, firmly rooted in reality. Technology is just a tool—a means to an end. We must apply our hard-earned O&M knowledge, methodologies, and best practices when designing and implementing our solutions. There’s no magic involved; instead, it’s a matter of logical thinking and good old-fashioned hard work. Just like anything else in the industrial world, perfection doesn’t come overnight. Instead, we should strive for continuous improvement.


In this issue of our newsletter, we shall delve into these topics based on our extensive experience in the water industry. These lessons can also be applied to other industries that have faced similar Smart/4.0 inflated expectations and inevitable disappointments. It’s high time we refocused our efforts on genuine improvement!


The Reliability article “Maintenance excellence and the elusive Smart Water Unicorn” was first published by Aquatech. The Customer story of Jiangsu Sino French Water is based on a presentation given by the client during our customer sharing event in July. Finally, we share a recap of our recent water industry event and our latest news.



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