The Water Council
Press Release

The Water Council Announces Kickoff of Second Tech Challenge Competition

Competition seeks innovative ideas for sensors and artificial intelligence processes

By - Sep 16th, 2019 06:59 am

MILWAUKEE (September 16, 2019) – The Water Council and its corporate partners today announced the second Tech Challenge, a global competition designed to identify cutting-edge freshwater technologies and ideas with high potential for commercialization or implementation. Finalists have an opportunity to win prize money, access to corporate R&D resources and a chance to partner on the development with corporate sponsors on the marketing, licensing or sale of their winning technology or idea. Tech Challenges are sponsored by corporate partners from water-intensive and water technology industries, including A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter and Zurn Industries, a Rexnord company.

“A. O. Smith is pleased to continue its support of entrepreneurs, researchers and promising startup businesses in the ever expanding field of water technology,” said Dr. Robert Heideman, senior vice president and corporate technology officer, A. O. Smith Corporation. “As a 145-year-old organization built on the premise of innovation, A. O. Smith is excited to be able share our experiences and potentially help bring proposed ideas to life in day-to-day products.”

Anyone with an innovative idea that addresses a topic selected by our corporate sponsors is encouraged to apply. Prospective technologies or ideas can be submitted from entrepreneurs, university students or researchers, professionals already working in water-dependent industries, private sector and government labs or just inventive individuals from any location in the world.

“The first round of the Tech Challenge exceeded our expectations in discovering some very promising ideas and technologies that were not on our radar screen,” stated Fred Begale, vice president of engineering at Badger Meter. “We look forward to this next round of Challenges and being introduced to some new global innovations that will help Badger Meter as we advance our research and development program.”

The second round of Tech Challenge competitions are seeking innovative solutions for:

  • Inline sensors for detecting water quality parameters
  • Artificial intelligence for pipe networks and systems

“Zurn is focused on solving difficult water quality, efficiency and plumbing system issues by applying IoT technologies to commercial plumbing systems,” said Tony Wilcox, vice president, innovation and digital solutions at Zurn. “We’re excited about the Tech Challenge’s focus on sensors and artificial intelligence processes and we welcome the opportunity to meet and work with new researchers and entrepreneurs.”

“No question that the results from our first round earlier this year exceeded not only our expectations but, more importantly, those of our corporate sponsors,” stated Dean Amhaus, president & CEO of The Water Council. “We were impressed with the quality and maturity of ideas that were submitted from across the world and this played out by the fact that our corporate sponsors found a number of solutions that they are continuing to pursue.”

For Tech Challenge topics, application criteria, entry forms and other Water Council program details, go to Applications are being accepted through November 3, 2019 and finalists will be announced in December.

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