As another year comes to an end and we present our annual Flowmeter Technology Report, I’d like to call your attention to four trends that call my attention for 2015. If you have other trends you'd like to bring to my attention, I encourage you to email me, as we're always looking for new coverage topics for the magazine and FlowControlNetwork.com.

READ ALSO: 8 Flowmeter Technology Snapshots for 2015

Big Data1. Big Data: The digitization of everything is making its mark in the world of flow measurement, as many of the technologies you’ll be reading about in the Flowmeter Technology Report  are “connected.” The price of sensors continues to fall, and the speed of data transmission continues to increase, which means digital flowmeters are being employed in a wider and wider range of applications. This added process insight enables end-users to leverage data to drive quality improvement at their companies. For a real-world example of how “big data” is influencing not only the world of flow measurement, but also the concept of process automation in general, check out “Integrated Operations for Production Efficiency.”

Hydraulic Fracturing2. Oil & Gas: Hydraulic fracturing is changing the global energy landscape by tapping into large oil & gas resources in the U.S. This trend is particularly influential in the world of flow measurement, as it opens up a new range of measurement applications, particularly for custody-transfer meters. For more details on how oil & gas is influencing flowmeter applications, see the "Oil Flow Outlook" and the "Gas Flow Outlook." For more on how oil & gas is influencing flowmeter technology specifically, check out the "Coriolis Snapshot," "PD Snapshot," and "Ultrasonic Snapshot" as well.

Quality Improvement3. Meter Verification & Calibration: As the cost of the fluids being measured goes up, the need for highly accurate, highly repeatable flowmeters becomes more critical. Some suppliers are responding by adding capability for in-situ meter verification, while others are making significant investments to build state-of-the-art flowmeter calibration facilities. For more on trends related to flowmeter calibration and meter verification, see our “Flowmeter Calibration Roundtable" from earlier this year.

Quality Improvement4. Quality Improvement: Finally, the drive for quality improvement is, in my opinion, more persistent in the area of flow measurement than any other technology category we cover here at Flow Control. With many different suppliers and many different measurement concepts, the competition in the flow measurement space is fierce, which is driving a continuous state of evolution as suppliers vie for a competitive edge. For end-users this is great news because there are a lot of compelling technology solutions on the market. As an end-user, you would be wise to educate and inform yourself about the range of flowmeter technologies currently available, as well as the various suppliers who offer these technologies. This is why we feel the Flowmeter Technology Report is a crucial edition on the Flow Control editorial calendar. Not only does it offer perspective on every major flowmeter category, but also it provides you directory listings for more than 500 suppliers of flow measurement technology. We hope you find this issue to be of use as you work through the year ahead. If you have suggestions for how we can improve the Flowmeter Technology Report in the years to come, I welcome your feedback.

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2015.

Matt Migliore is the director of content for Flow Control magazine and FlowControlNetwork.com. He can be reached at 610 828-1711 or Matt@GrandViewMedia.com. Follow Matt on Google+. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.