Member Spotlight

Tim O’Brien, CEO – Metasphere

Metasphere helps customers prevent leaks and spills for a cleaner, greener world. A wastewater application specialist business, Metasphere, has been providing monitoring solutions to the global utility industry since the mid-1980s. The company liaises with all sectors of the industry, from major utility companies to environmental and regulatory bodies. Utilising the latest technology, Metasphere delivers intelligent, innovative all-in-one solutions for full network visibility, performance and forecasting that reduce telemetry ownership cost for customers to manage time-critical remote assets and systems.

What do you see as the impact of smart solutions to improve environmental outcomes?

The focus on solutions opens up opportunities that focus on benefits/opportunity selling, as well as solving/tackling problems. It is the TOTEX view that makes the difference – time matters. All outcomes require an economic benefit; the ESG agenda drives environmental benefits and economic benefits too. It changes how people think and drives intuitive innovation.

Metasphere recently published a case study with fellow SWAN Member, Unitywater. How do you work with SWAN and other industry associations to promote collaborations?

SWAN has worked hard to bring interested parties together, hosting meaningful events around the globe that attract key utility personnel. Standardising the terminology for all to deploy has aided communication and has allowed more focus on the real issues.

Too often, collaboration on research projects does not lead to a commercial opportunity as time eats into cash and SMEs do not have enough resources to carry on with such projects. Having a customer-led project that demands collaboration between different suppliers, provides a purpose and focus.

View Metasphere’s case study with Unitywater on integrated water quality monitoring. 

How does Metasphere relate to the theme of the upcoming SWAN APAC Alliance Workshop: “Building Trust. Driving Innovation. Delivering Value”?

Metasphere lives by 6 tenets:

  • Closer to the Customer – thinking outside in – be the customer – develop and build trust – it’s all about relationships, people buy solutions from people.
  • Intuitive innovation – shorten the lines of communication; stay agile.
  • Challenge Constructively
  • Be honest & sincere
  • Deliver right 1st time.
  • Win together.

What is the best advice you were given as a young professional that you have carried with you throughout your career? How can young professionals continue to apply that advice to the water sector today?

Listen first. This means using both ears and only one mouth to truly understand what is being communicated before responding. Contextualizing and interpreting the information is also important in order to understand its significance. Additionally, focusing on the opportunity and planning for it. This is crucial, rather than just operating in ‘fix-it’ mode. I wish I had done more of this.

Being firm, fair, and considerate, as well as encouraging those around you is also essential in building positive relationships and working effectively with others. Young professionals in the water sector today can apply this advice by actively listening to stakeholders, developing comprehensive plans, and fostering a positive work environment where collaboration and support are encouraged.