Big Data, Big Cities Workshop: Empowering the Digital Utility

New technologies from smart meters to on-line water quality sensors have the potential to either transform the productivity of the water utility sector, or overwhelm it with terabytes of data. This half day workshop aims to ensure that the digital revolution empowers water utilities. To do this we must align the multitude of hardware, software and data management service providers currently battling across a series of niche markets into a coherent vision for the digital utility.

The World Economic Forum describes it as the fourth industrial revolution: the blurring of the lines between physical and digital systems made possible by innovations such as the internet of things and machine learning. It promises water utilities long term gains in efficiency and productivity but the reality today is very different. Few utilities are set up to handle large volumes of data in a meaningful way, and few suppliers understand their utility customers’ broader priorities and constraints. Big Data, Big Cities: Empowering the Digital Utility aims to build the road map which takes us from where we are today, to where we need to be to ensure that the water utility sector enjoys all of the benefits of the digital future.

It is a discussion in which all kinds of companies have a role in delivering success. Engineering firms advising their clients on strategy and procurement; IT giants with data management solutions; mainstream water equipment and systems suppliers facilitating data-enabled products; specialist software companies addressing important niche performance issues. The roles are very often overlapping: sometimes they leave gaps. This workshop brings together all the players to meet each other and to meet utility leaders to share a common vision.

Pre-Conference Workshop Agenda

December 5, 2016

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Registration Open/Sandwich Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 PM

A Vision of the Digital Utility

Business leaders from key areas of the market – utilities, consultancy firms, IT systems providers and public-private water partnership initiatives – address the current situation of the digital utility and outline how they see the future unfolding.

Workshop Chairs: 


  • Albert Cho, Vice President–Strategy and Business Development, Xylem Inc.
  • Steve Davis, Digital Water Business Development Leader, GE Power–Water & Process Technologies
  • Raja Kadiyala, Vice President–Senior Technology Fellow, Intelligent Water Solutions, CH2M 
  • David Stanton, President–Utility Segment, SUEZ North America
  • Michael Sullivan, Global Cognitive Solutions Leader–Water and Environmental Management, IBM

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Utility Perspectives

Six utility leaders will have up to six minutes each to speak in response to the ideas outlined during the opening Vision of the Digital Utility session. They will each be asked to talk about both the three concerns they have and the three benefits they see in implementing the digital utility. Utility leaders from the audience are invited to join the discussion and share their experiences.


3:00 – 3:30 PM

Coffee Break

3:30 – 5:15 PM

Components of the Digital Utility

Utility leaders are paired with business leaders for this roundtable session. Following brief introductions, each table will lead topical discussions based on the hosts’ expertise. There will be four rotations.


  1. Asset management
    Travis B. Wagner, P.E., Vice President, Pure Technologies 
    Timothy Thomure, Director, Tucson Water, AZ
  2. Billing and metering
    Colin Walsby, Vice President–Strategic Solution Development, Sensus
  3. Wastewater management
    Klaus Andersen, CEO, Veolia Water Technologies (Americas), Deputy CEO, Veolia Water Technologies SA
    Jeremiah Johnson, General Manager, Beckley Sanitary Board, WV 
  4. Leakage control
    Robert Keefe, Sr. Vice President & CIO, Mueller Water Products
    Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Director, City of Lancaster Public Works, PA
  5. Customer services
    Robb Barnitt, Founder & CEO, Dropcountr
    Brian Steglitz, Water Manager, City of Ann Arbor, MI
  6. Utility planning and strategy
    Booky Oren, Chairmen & CEO, Booky Oren Global Water Technologies
    Kishia L. Powell, Commissioner, City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

5:15 – 5:50 PM

Speaker Q & A

Utility leaders return to the stage for wrap up discussion and audience Q & A.

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Workshop Concludes Followed by Cocktails