How AI can be used to augment engineers to solve a $1 Trillion infrastructure problem

Posted by Doug Hatler on Jan 13, 2019 4:00:00 PM
An interview with with Doug Hatler, VP of Sales & Marketing, Fracta. AI

By Ton Dobbe – Chief Inspiration Officer, Value Inspiration

Podcast-interview-cover-Doug-Hatler-300x300Every week I interview entrepreneurs and experts from around the world to share their big idea about new forms of value creation and the potential we can unlock when technology augments the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact.


Water Industry Transformation

I got inspired by the big idea behind Fracta, hence I invited Chief Revenue Officer, Doug Hatler to my podcast. We explore the growing issue of aging water infrastructure and why a conventional approach is not going help. We discuss how technology such as AI is used to augment engineers, and how that human/machine combination brings exponential impact by preventing the waste of precious water, time and money.


The thing that triggered me most from my interview with Doug?
“By 2050, we're going to need to spend one trillion dollars just to keep up with a one percent replacement rate. Which means, if I have 1,000 miles of water main, I should be replacing 10 miles per year of pipe.”

Why did this trigger me? What's the bigger value here? 
It was the explanation from Doug where it struck how big the scale of the problem is : “30 to 90 percent of that pipe is taken out still has ‘useful life’. If we just look at the low end (30 percent), you could be spending three million dollars a year replacing pipe that doesn't need to be replaced”.

And the reason this is happening is ‘because we have always done it this way’. And while this is an example specific to the water infrastructure industry, I believe it’s common to many other industries. It’s a clear example of what happens when we become complacent, and neglect to challenge the status quo.

Just think about it: Just write down 5 things you or your business have done the same for over a decade now. Then reflect on each item – which of them could you create exponential value by challenging the outcome?

What’s the more significant question/opportunity that raises?
It’s the additional challenge of inertia in virtually every industry to try new approaches. It’s very understandable from risk assessment perspective – quality and level of service is obviously very important, and we should never undermine that. But what’s against adding another tool to your toolkit? Even if the accuracy using a different approach is equal your traditional, vetted approach, if the route to getting there is faster and more affordable, then you got a win-win situation – potentially a very big one.

Listen to the big idea behind Fracta, and learn why it has the potential to transform the water infrastructure industry with a fresh approach to the decision-making process to decide which mains to replace, and which not.

Topics: Risk Management, Leak Detection

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