|Wallingford Software has just completed its most successful year ever. Sales and Marketing Director Paul Banfield said, “In addition to achieving all its financial targets, the company has sustained its reputation for rapid and advanced product development with eight major product releases. We have also continued to expand our international coverage with the addition of customers in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. With over 40% of the world's most populous cities now using InfoWorks or InfoNet, Wallingford Software is achieving its objective of developing products that are both affordable and can handle the world's most challenging data management and network modeling scenarios.”
Looking to the year ahead, Wallingford Software has identified a number of key themes that it believes will drive customer thinking in the selection of data management and network modeling software.
The direct integration between GIS and data management and network modeling software is of growing significance, believes Saša Tomic, Vice President of Product Management in Wallingford Software's US office. “Utilities have invested heavily in GIS over the last decade; now they are looking for a return on that investment. InfoWorks and InfoNet can assist in two key areas – data integrity and model integration. The engineering validation tools available within InfoNet are the best tests of GIS data integrity. And, where a full GIS-model integration is sought, InfoNet and InfoWorks automatically map GIS keys (OID) to model element asset IDs. The experience has shown that for the true model-GIS integration, it is not enough to use software that integrates only with GIS interface. Data integration (element ID maps) is the key and we lead in this field.”
Worldwide, utilities face the inevitable tension between the need for investment in water infrastructure and the limited resources available to fund it. Andrew Walker of Wallingford Software's UK office explains, “utilities and their consultants will be increasingly turning to solutions that can assess asset condition but also assess its criticality. With unequalled capabilities in the area of data integration and validation, InfoNet is the ideal tool with which to assess the condition of existing assets. Combine this with InfoWorks' criticality functionality and utilities are guaranteed to use their limited resources in the most optimum way, rehabilitating those aspects of the system which are most vulnerable to failure and whose failure is likely to create the worst outcomes.”
In the field of hydraulic modeling, a number of key trends are evident. Mohamed Abdillahi, Director of Software Development, explains that there is a continuing and very positive move away from building models in the traditional form (single purpose, skeletonized, independent of SCADA data) to building sustainable and detailed all-mains, multi-purpose models with direct connections to GIS and SCADA. “This is partly due to a realization that because typically, over 80% of the time and money involved on a modeling project is spent on model build and calibration, it makes sense to facilitate the models' long term use. This also helps to explain the growth in networked models that can be operated in a multi-user environment. For all these reasons, enabling sustainable modeling continues to be a key driver behind our product development program.”
From the company's Benelux office, Gilbert Joncheere comments that the use of DTM´s (digital terrain models) is becoming more widely accepted and expected and that this is true of modeling in general also:
“Modelling in the EU (European Union) is each year more and more accepted and regarded as needed because of the focus placed by the increasingly privatized water utilities on optimising performance.”
Concluding this review, Stuart Dodd, Global Product Manager for InfoNet, points to an emerging trend within the procurement policies of water utilities.
“A number of major water companies worldwide are trying to rationalise their use of technology/software solutions to reduce their reliance on multiple packages and concentrate on off the shelf solutions. Our proactive and aggressive product development schedule is ensuring that we are exceeding utilities' current requirements and anticipating these major and significant emerging trends. The industry can have complete confidence that our focus is on their present and future requirements and that we are thinking and planning well ahead on their behalf.”