Australia’s water utilities are being exposed to far greater numbers of affordable IoT solutions, and that is translating into faster and deeper deployments of the technology.

Terri Benson, the managing director and executive director of Victorian government-owned South East Water, told KPMG’s IoT Expo in Sydney that her organisation had been pursuing connected device projects even before IoT’s rise.

However, adoption was much cheaper and easier than before, allowing South East Water to expedite its IoT plans.

“There’s been lots of business problem solving solutions going on with devices and thinking about how differently we can run our business using sensing, and we’ve been doing that in isolation,” Benson said.

“Now the IoT is here, we can actually, at a much more affordable cost, get data back [from field-based sensors] and make better decisions with it.

“IoT is making communications possible across all of our systems and that’s been a game changer.

“We’ve stopped talking about a digital strategy and we’re now talking about an IoT strategy.”

Western Power CEO Guy Chalkley said that IoT has “really picked up pace” in the last three years.

“The amount of solutions that you’ve got from a safety perspective, from a reliability perspective, and from an affordability perspective, just multiplied to such an extent that i don’t think a day goes by without someone providing a new possible solution that will get a better outcome for the customer,” Chalkley said.

KPMG’s Power & Utilities National Sector Leader Cassandra Hogan concurs that utilities are being exposed to “a lot of innovation”.

That is allowing them to progress thinking “about how can they use data to think differently about their business, and to give them actionable insights to drive better outcomes for their customers”.

Ken Holder, Smart Power & Utilities Lead in KPMG’s IoT Practice, said that KPMG is working with its customers to find the best IoT technology for their particular purposes.

“We’ve been working closely with our power, water and utility clients to help them look at innovation, and particularly innovation through IoT,” Holder said.

“We’re looking at how IoT can help them with their business problems, particularly at improving operations, improving their customer sentiment, and getting more out of their assets.”

“There’s a lot of things happening in terms of developments of products and services around IoT, and  we’ve reached a point where there’s a lot of choice in the market, o one of the other things we’re doing is helping customers navigate that vendor ecosystem.

“We’re trying to help match up our clients with the right vendors and solutions to deliver the most benefit to everybody.”