On October 4, 2016, more than 80 dynamic leaders and entrepreneurs gathered in Las Vegas to share perspectives on the integration of emerging technologies in the municipal and commercial water sectors. The inaugural Channels for Innovation Summit served as a forum for meaningful discussion around the challenges and strategies to accelerate technology commercialization, from both the development and implementation standpoints. Co-organized by Isle Utilities and WaterStart, the summit was realized through generous support from the Southern Nevada Water Authority and event sponsors MGM Resorts International; Fathom; Deloitte; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; and Evoqua Water Technologies.
“I was thrilled to be part of such a rich discussion aimed at improving collaboration between technology firms and solution integrators – it reaffirms the significance of Isle and WaterStart’s niches in the water technology ecosystem,” remarked Cristina Ahmadpour, Isle Inc. President.
Nate Allen, WaterStart CEO, added “The broad level of participation in the CFI Summit shows a rising tide of water innovation from across the Western US. The lively discussion confirmed for me again that one of the biggest challenges facing new water tech is identifying effective channels to market.”
The event’s tone was set with an inspiring keynote address from Mrs. Patricia Mulroy, Maki Faculty Associate at the Desert Research Institute and former General Manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Mulroy’s spirited welcome described the water industry’s renaissance in the face of increasing pressures and affirmed the necessity of institutional frameworks to incentivize and encourage the adoption of innovative technologies.
The day included a series of compelling panel discussions and presentations from six water technology companies in a shark tank-style pitch competition. The judging panel of industry experts named Evoqua’s Hydraclam®/Chloroclam® as the solution with “Most Commercial Potential” and Vienna Water Monitoring’s rapid test for microbiological contamination was awarded “Most Innovative Technology.”
“I met a lot of interesting people and made great and important contacts! Independent from VWM’s success in the tech pitch, the CFI summit was a great event, definitely worth traveling all the way from Vienna to Las Vegas,” commented Wolfgang Vogl, CEO of Vienna Water Monitoring.
“The Channels for Innovation Summit proved to be a great sounding board for technology companies to learn first-hand the key challenges, concerns and opportunities to add value to the forward thinking utilities who actively embrace and create market pull for the adoption of new technology innovations,” said Michael Baran, Director Global Marketing, Evoqua Water Technologies LLC.
The event promoted honest dialogue between technology developers and end users, spotlighting the key challenges and opportunities in the shared water technology environment. Among notable messages imparted by event contributors, technology companies were encouraged to be attentive to end users when developing solutions, particularly by understanding challenges and operational requirements before defining a value proposition for an organization. Commercial and municipal water leaders reminded participants about the importance of considering required expertise, training and commitment of resources when integrating a new technology, even at the demonstration scale. During the technology evaluation discussion, decision makers noted that ROI calculation is not always quantifiable and life cycle can be adapted to structure debt or create a favorable return when justifying adoption.
Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive and event hosts are looking to expand the scope in 2017. Please visit www.channelsforinnovationsummit.com for more information.
About the Event Organizers
Isle Utilities is a global team of scientists, engineers, business and regulatory experts, with a common drive to make a positive social, economical, and environmental impact through the advancement of innovative technologies and related practices. Isle’s core competencies include dynamic consulting services and the Technology Approval Group (TAG), an innovation forum for leading water agencies across the globe.
WaterStart is a cluster of global leaders in the implementation of water innovation. Based in Las Vegas, the business model involves a joint venture between academic, public, and the private sector to create channels for water innovation to enter the U.S. market. Each partner brings together strategic resources and expertise, connecting water management agencies, technology companies, and policy makers in order to spur economic growth in the water sector.