The world has changed a lot in the last few centuries. At the beginning of the 1900s, cars were a novelty that you might see now and then. Today, highways and interstates are packed with so many cars that the average driver wastes 54 hours in traffic every year. The end of the 1700s marked the beginning of the American Industrial Revolution and we've let that momentum carry us through three more industrial revolutions, bringing us to Industry 4.0 today.
Industry 4.0 isn't just impacting the manufacturing sectors. It also has an impact on the infrastructure that allows us to live safe and comfortable lives in this modern world, including the water industry. What is Water 4.0 and how is it impacting the water industry?
What is Water 4.0?
Industry 4.0 started with the industrial revolution, then moved to industry supported by electricity in 2.0, industry supported by computers in 3.0 and now the Internet of Things in Industry 4.0. These descriptors show how manufacturing and it's related sectors have evolved in the last few hundred years since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
What does that have to do with water?
Water has taken a similar path across the ages, as we've figured out the best way to collect, clean and distribute water in the developed world. It started with Water 1.0 where we figured out how to import water and distribute it to the masses.
Then it moved on to Water 2.0 when we learned how to filter, chlorinate and clean our drinking water. Water 3.0 was when we figured out sewage treatment and used it as a widespread tool to better manage our wastewater system.
We've moved into Water 4.0, which will bring next-generation water systems as well as a new awareness that water is a finite resource. In fact, only 3% of the earth's water is fresh and drinkable — and 2/3 of that is frozen in polar ice caps.
Next-Generation Water Systems
Water 4.0 is going to change the water industry — especially where wastewater is concerned — in fundamental ways. Wastewater monitoring will likely become standard equipment in the next few years, allowing the water industry to keep track of water from the moment it leaves a residential home or commercial property until it reaches the wastewater treatment plant.
Currently, rainfall does contribute to local water tables whenever there is a storm, but it's contributions are really untrackable. New technology — from radar tracking to advanced analytics programs — will allow water industry professionals to keep track of rainfall and its potential impact on water and sewer systems.
Instead of acting reactively to heavy rainfall that might flood an existing sewer system, industry experts will be able to use predictive analytics to monitor situations and ensure that things like rainfall can't negatively impact the system or the surrounding environment.
New technologies are also emerging for water filtration and treatment, especially for commercial properties. Not only do these filtration systems improve the quality of the water traveling into the business, but they can also be designed to reduce water use without damaging functionality or water pressure.
This is just the beginning of Water 4.0 as we know it. New technologies will continue to emerge and change the way we look at something as simple as the water that comes from our kitchen sink. How will Water 4.0 impact the water industry as a whole?
The Impact of Water 4.0
In addition to new technologies, Water 4.0 represents a fundamental shift in our collective thought process. We've stopped thinking about our water resources as infinite. Everyone, from consumers to business owners and everyone in between has started to realize that unless we start taking steps, we could run out of potable water.
Some cities, such as Cape Town, South Africa have already faced this reality. In 2018, after a year of severe drought, the coastal city nearly ran out of drinking water for its 433,000 citizens. They managed to avert this disaster, but to do so they found themselves restricted to using less than 50 liters of water a day. For comparison, the average shower can use up to 15 liters per minute. Imagine using up your entire household's ration of water for the day in less than 5 minutes.
Digitization of the water industry will require existing companies and workers to adapt to new technologies, something that may prove challenging and expensive, but will be necessary for the long run as the entire industry starts to shift toward this digital future.
Many countries are already moving in that direction. The German water industry, when recently polled, stated that more than 50% of the companies in the country have either started adopting digital systems or have a digital strategy in the works.
Water 4.0 could even include the trend toward solar-powered desalination that is beginning to take root in the developing world. These plants are essentially self-sustaining and can provide fresh water in coastal areas where it might be scarce. Even the simplest systems can provide 1.5 gallons of water every hour per square meter of solar panels.
One of the nicest things about Water 4.0 from an outsider's perspective is the fact that there is no official definition that details what we need to do to improve our water infrastructure — we're just making it up as we go and coming up with some amazing and out of the box solutions that will help ensure that we have safe, potable water available for everyone for decades to come.
The Future of the Water Industry
We're essentially sitting at the beginning of Water 4.0, so it's a little early to start making projections about what it might mean for the future of the water industry. That said, it's still an exciting time to be part of an industry that is growing faster than it ever has in the past. Water is one of the most important things on this planet and is necessary to sustain human life, so we should be doing everything we can to preserve our existing water supplies. Water 4.0 might just be the thing to help us do that.
Megan R. Nichols is a technical writer who regularly covers industrial and scientific topics. Megan also publishes easy to understand science articles on her blog, Schooled By Science, to encourage others to take an interest in these subjects. When she isn’t writing, Megan enjoys finding new shows and documentaries to binge watch.
Like it or not we’re rapidly moving into the world of 5G, or 5th generation cellular telecommunications. Why? Because the frequency bandwidths used currently by cell phones and similar technologies are becoming saturated. And also because we live in a world where people want more.
5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) that goes with it, promises to give us more.
But more what?
Super-Fast Download Speeds
5G and IoT promises to connect us in our homes, schools, workplaces, cities, parks and open spaces to over a trillion objects around the world. It promises cars that drive themselves, washing machines that order their own washing powder and softener plus of course super fast downloads and streaming.
According to Fortune.com 5G will support at least 100 billion devices and will be 10 to 100 times faster than current 4G technology. (4G was already about 10 times faster than 3G).
It’ll bring download speed up to 10 Gigabits per second. This would let us have an entire building of people send each other data in close to no time, thus improving productivity.
What is 5G?
5G offers mind-blowing data capabilities, practically unrestricted call volumes and near infinite data broadcast. It does this by 5G using largely untapped bandwidth of the millimeter wave (MMW), which is between 30GHz and 300GHz, as well as some lower and mid-range frequencies.
This table compares the different generations of mobile technologies:
(AA) A government-funded study says radiation from mobile phones can change the way brains process sugar.
Is that a big deal? The scientists aren't sure, according to media giant CNN Health's (fake news) report. But our story has some scary tidbits.
Like this quote, from Dr. Nora Volkow, the Journal of the American Medical Association study's lead author and a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health:
"The human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones, but for the brain to be impacted the cell phone has to be close to the antenna. So keep your brain away from the antenna."
In layman's terms: "It's better to be safe than sorry," she says.
Despite years of research, there's still no conclusive proof cell phone radiation causes cancer and other health problems in the brain. Studies, some of them funded by the wireless industry, have produced contradictory findings. But the nearly ubiquitous devices haven't been proven 100% safe either. So, for the sake of argument, let's say you are worried about this and you do want to "keep your brain away from the antenna."
How do you actually do that?
Scientists look for evidence of previous Armageddon-style destruction by identifying “chaotic sediments” where narrow layers of earth, rock and ice record oddball events in the earth’s history in the form of bands of mud and tiny magnetically-charged fragments. To scientists, these are clear indicators of sudden floods, ice-melt or ash deposits. When this is found outside a long period of the cycle of freezing and melting in the earth’s history, it is an indicator of a pole shift.
Pole shifts cause a major increase in the movement of the tectonic plates, the giant lines of opposing cracks in the earth’s crust which push and grind against each other until they periodically release like a balled fist in a closed palm flicking upwards.
There are now signs among the sharp increase in natural disasters and other strange, apparently unrelated incidents which point towards a possible reversal. It is widely-recognised that magnetic north, that point at the top of the globe which compasses and devices which depend on magnetic navigation rely, is shifting increasingly quickly towards Russia from its current position above Greenland and nearer to Canada. It has moved 400 km in the last decade and is accelerating.
Our sun swaps its north and south pole every 11-13 years and has just done so. The effect on the sun is to stimulate the number and intensity of solar storms which can have a major effect on the earth. They can interfere with tv transmissions and power supplies.
Other signs which might indicate the effects of a magnetic reversal between magnetic north and south are an unprecedented seven volcanoes which have started to erupt around the world in the last few days, and a major spike of 7.0 magnitude plus earthquakes almost all of which I have witnessed personally a few days after the event as a documentary maker.
The cycle started in Indonesia in 2004 and occurred again very recently in Nepal. These sharp increases in seismic activity do occur every 30 years or so and may be part of a natural ebb and flow but they are another aspect of what could be a major trend in the light of the relentless and quickening march of magnetic north east away from its original position.
USGS and NASA are very concerned about a new magma chamber the University of Utah have discovered recently under Yellowstone National Park in addition to the enormous lake of molten rock and iron they already knew about. This one is an astonishing 11 times the volume of the Grand Canyon. A sudden pole shift could become the push the magma chamber with the surface area of Los Angeles needs to blow up. If it does, most of North America would be destroyed instantly and a new ice age would begin.
Another story which begs the question “what on earth is going on” is a 300 meter (900 feet) high island which has appeared from the sea bed just north of the tip of Japan in just one night. This area was the origin of the 8.9 Magnitude earthquake which ripped through Japan in 2011, causing one of the worst tsunami of all time.
Sections of crustal plates which suddenly move under enormous heat and pressure which cause earthquakes and tsunami have been known to move dramatically, although it is often never seen as it occurs miles down on the seabed. A new shelf 800 km (500 miles) and 60 metre (180 feet high) appeared off the west coast of Indonesia in 2004 which triggered the infamous tsunami wave which swept completely round the earth’s circumference three times.
The new Japanese landmass appeared at almost exactly the same time as the Nepal 7.9 Magnitude earthquake took place 5,000 km (3,000 miles) away at the opposite end of the Eurasian tectonic plate.
Finally the weirdest account of nature behaving strangely are reports of a strange humming noise coming from the sea. Scientists have explained this as the effect of the currents running though the oceans.
Watch a volcano from space here.
Is a reversal of the earth’s magnetic poles taking place? Volcanoes, earthquakes, strange noises from the sea. New shocking evidence points to a pole shift which, if it happens fast, will cause chaos around the world.
A pole reversal, when the earth’s north and south magnetic poles start to swap places, reversing the world’s magnetic polarity, has happened before. Scientists who track the history of the planet have identified 74 of these events by studying core samples. These are extracted from hundreds or thousands of feet down in the ground and in the thick polar ice.
A sudden shift would throw the earth’s balance out so significantly it could trigger lethal earthquakes, tsunami on a scale we can hardly imagine capable of washing right across the United States and every other major landmass, volcanic eruptions so large and widespread that the resulting ash clouds and gases could blanket the sun’s rays and trigger a new sudden ice-age.
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