Freshwater makes up only 2.5 percent of the world’s total water supply, and demand for its use is growing along with the global population. The United Nations’ “World Water Development Report 2015” predicts that within 15 years, demand for freshwater will outpace supply by almost 40 percent, leading to serious concerns for two-thirds of the world’s population. Microsoft is collaborating with Ecolab to use cloud-based computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help industries worldwide find solutions to the problem of water scarcity.
Nalco Water, the main water operation within Ecolab, is working with Microsoft to develop solutions for water management that capture and analyze vast amounts of data about their water usage. By building on Microsoft Azure, Nalco Water is able to use cloud computing and advanced analytics to create solutions on a much larger scale and with much deeper analytical capabilities than ever before. Sensors will capture data from in-plant monitoring equipment, which will be transferred in real time to a secure cloud storage platform built on Microsoft Azure and Azure IoT Suite. Machine learning will provide insights and intelligence that employees can act on using familiar information management tools such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Power BI. Businesses can then use that information to adapt their business practices to reduce, reuse and recycle water to achieve net-zero water usage.
By the end of 2016, Nalco Water’s goal for the collaboration is to provide a suite of comprehensive, end-to-end service delivery solutions for Ecolab’s worldwide customer base that bridge process monitoring and control, cloud platform for data management and analytics, mobile applications, and hardware.
With Azure, “Suddenly, complexity and size are no longer barriers,” says Christophe Beck, president of Nalco Water. “We can capture any data, anywhere, and transmit that information around the world very rapidly. We can now harness the power of this platform to serve many more customers, measuring many more flows at many more plants than we could even conceive of in the past.”