Uri Gutermann, CEO – Gutermann
Gutermann is a global technology leader and innovator in intelligent water loss management products and solutions. The product offering covers the full range of conventional acoustic leak detection technology, from smart handheld instruments to fully automatic, permanently installed correlating network monitoring systems based on IoT communication, enabling utilities to pinpoint leaks with the highest accuracy. Established in 1948 and still privately held, Gutermann is headquartered in Zug/Switzerland, with R&D and manufacturing facilities in Germany, and own sales teams based in France, UK, USA and Australia, as well as a comprehensive distribution network around the world.
As a long-time member of the SWAN flock, what do you view as the value of cross-industry collaboration?
In an increasingly complex world of customer needs and vendor technology and service offerings, it is important that vendors do not lose focus on the pain points a utility is really trying to solve. Every utility has differing needs and differing processes. Every project has its specific challenges that have to be overcome in concert with the customer. A partnership level can be achieved when a vendor can step out of its regular offering and address customer specific requirements by investing R&D and project engineering capacities to adapt its solutions to the customer. That is why we are very interested in having meaningful process conversations with SWAN utility members.
With technology peers, we have made a point of actively seeking collaboration with other SWAN Members in order to increase the value of our solutions to customers. An example is our SaaS integration with one of SWAN’s co-founding members, TaKaDu.
Energy costs are top of mind for many global water utilities. What are some ways to address these concerns and what opportunities are out there such as the EU Recovery Fund?
The EU Recovery Fund has already had a massive impact for us. The latest example is the largest EU (excluding the UK) leak detection technology procurement project we were awarded at Acquedotto Pugliese in Italy.
Leakage has a direct impact on a utility’s energy footprint. In Italy, for example, the current leakage levels are around 40%. This means that only 60% of treated water arrives at its intended end-user. In order to provide 100% of the required water, a utility must produce and deliver 167% of the consumption quantity. Along with the impact on carbon footprint, it’s simple math that if you reduce leakage, the direct impact on energy used for water treatment and pumping is highly significant.
Intelligent water loss management has come a long way. What are the next trends that will shape digital transformation across the sector?
There have been significant advancements, and being a key innovator in water loss technologies is something that we’re very proud of. The way we see the digital transformation in the water sector is in minimising the need for human intervention needed to understand and manage all aspects of a water network, and in maximising the information available for all decision making in a utility.
For us, this consists of four key factors:
- Rigorous deployment of smart sensors in order to measure as much as we can
- The use of efficient data collection and transmission technologies (e.g., NB-IoT, LoRa or meshed networks).
- The use of both cloud intelligence and edge intelligence. This includes Artificial Intelligence, but only if it is based on large amounts of qualified samples.
- The conversion and integration of platforms and applications, and the use of mobile devices for optimal workflow assistance.
Reflecting on your career journey, what is one valuable piece of advice you have received that you would like to share with young professionals who are beginning their journey in the water sector?
Have patience, be nice, learn from the ‘dinosaurs’ in the sector.