PAID POST BY THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN

Innovation

Pipeline to Success: Saving Trillions Through Japanese Innovation

JCO

PIPELINE TO SUCCESS

SAVING TRILLIONS THROUGH JAPANESE INNOVATION

"Our water crisis requires revolutionary solutions. We need to get in front of the breaks before they occur, and help save trillions in the process."

- KATO Takashi, Founder & CEO, Fracta



From rising urban centers to bustling global cities, the success of our future metropolises may be determined by what happens underground.

Beneath dazzling skyscraper facades lie decaying underground pipes that have been neglected for decades. This is a problem of monumental proportions that is expected to hit breaking point, threatening to bring our thriving urban lives to a standstill, undermining economic growth and business confidence.

WATER OF LIFE

6 billion people are expected to be living in cities by 2050 with global water demand estimated to be 55% higher than today.

Fresh water makes up only 2.5% of the earth, and of this, less than 0.4% is suitable for consumption.

The World Resource Institute reports that by 2030, 45 cities with a population of over 3 million, may experience high water stress, with water not reaching its residents.

In some cities, up to 40% of safe, clean treated water is estimated to be lost due to leakage.



Developed nations such as the United States and Europe house some of the most antiquated pipe networks in the world, and in emerging nations like Africa and Asia, the pipe infrastructure is struggling to sufficiently provide for ever-growing populations. In the U.S. alone, over 240,000 water main breaks occur each year, with estimated costs rising to over a trillion dollars if ignored. In Western Europe, there are still significant challenges despite investment commitments of nearly $100 billion to upgrade water utilities over the next 5 years. Not least, locating the pipes that need to be repaired or replaced which is a labor intensive and costly process, with mixed results usually due to arbitrary assumptions.

Nearly all countries in the world are searching for innovative ways to overcome their piped problems. From Saudi Arabia to Singapore, the global water industry is estimated to spend more than $20 billion on software, data and analytics solutions in the next decade.

A pipeline revolution



Japan has emerged as the leading smart solutions provider in this space, set to revolutionize the efficiency of ageing water pipe infrastructure maintenance through Venture Company, Fracta. Founded and led by Japanese serial entrepreneur KATO Takashi, the company applies AI and machine learning to provide pre-emptive analysis of the likelihood of failure for water mains.

"The software gets smarter and smarter at predicting which pipes are more likely to fail"

- Katie Miller, Division Manager, San Francisco Public Utility Commi ssion (SFPUC) Water City Distribution Division.

FROM REACTION TO PREDICTION



Fracta's systems present a virtual map of the piping infrastructure across urban areas, analyzing over one thousand environmental data points including climate, soil, population density and even infrastructure developments in the vicinity. From here, it then provides an assessment of the status of the pipe to help predict when it could break, burst or leak.

Using AI and machine learning software, this solution is revolutionizing century-old methods of pipe assessment, shifting maintenance solutions from being fully reactive to a predictive model underpinned by analytical precision, saving capital and man hours.

Smart Algorithms Assess & Predict three key areas:



1 – LIKELIHOOD OF FAILURE
Leveraging multiple data points including soil, weather and pipe material, to determine the probability of a water main fail.

2 – CONSEQUENCES OF A FAILURE
Providing a clear outlook of the severity of a potential failure with projections of both direct and indirect costs.

3 – BUSINESS RISK EXPOSURE
Assessing comprehensive impact of failures upon households, local enterprises, urban operations and the economy.

Such comprehensive analysis provides a 360 overview of the whole process, enabling governments and privately held water companies to plan ahead and allocate resources to better prepare and manage infrastructure maintenance, saving trillions of dollars in the process.

PIPED PROBLEMS

In Europe, some countries exceed losses of over 40% due to leakages from water distribution systems.

Across Africa only 58% of the continent's population has access to clean drinking water, with limited water security due to poor infrastructure.

There are over a million miles of buried pipe in the United States aged between 50 to over 100 years old, far surpassing its economically useful and serviceable life cycle with 600 billion gallons of treated water lost due to leakages.

In Asia, extreme population growth and urbanization have resulted in a major water infrastructure gap, with an estimated cost of $2.5 trillion to meet the demand.

There are over a million miles of buried pipe in the United States aged between 50 to over 100 years old, far surpassing its economically useful and serviceable life cycle with 600 billion gallons of treated water lost due to leakages.

In Europe, some countries exceed losses of over 40% due to leakages from water distribution systems.

In Asia, extreme population growth and urbanization have resulted in a major water infrastructure gap, with an estimated cost of $2.5 trillion to meet the demand.

Across Africa only 58% of the continent's population has access to clean drinking water, with limited water security due to poor infrastructure.



This technology has already been applied across 22 states within the United States with expansion into Japan and Europe, serving as a prototype for others to follow, with a proof of concept trial in development in the United Kingdom, applying predictive analysis software on central water main systems.

Such advances in precision technology, underpinned by smart Japanese ingenuity, are helping overcome an ever-pressing global water pipe maintenance challenge. The socio-economic benefits of robust and advanced water pipe infrastructure that can anticipate and predict faults will undoubtedly ensure a prosperous and economically sustainable urban future for all, turning pipe dreams into pipelines of success.

FOR FUTURE GROWTH, FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Collaboration and technological ingenuity are critical to solving our global challenges. Japan's long history of innovation, coupled with bold new initiatives and strong partnerships are providing modern solutions to enable a bright future for us all.

Visit JapanGov website for further information.

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This page was paid for by THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN. The editorial staff of CNBC had no role in the creation of this page.