Health, sustainability and quality are the growth vectors of the pool sector

There are three main driving forces of the pool sector, a market with a turnover of more than 7 billion euros a year: health, sustainability and quality.

Innovation,  an essential aspect of the market

Our increasing concern for our well-being has provided a major boost, not only for the wellness sector, but also for the pool industry, which has witnessed how hotels are asking for more facilities, while our greater awareness of the environment and our impact on it has led both companies and users to seek products that are the most eco-friendly while maintaining the highest quality standards. It's during this far from simple quest that an essential aspect of this market comes into play: innovation. The pool is a complex system, made up of different factors and essential processes to purify, disinfect and, in general, treat the water and to pump, filter, regenerate, reuse and recycle it. Pools can also be heated and lit, so the industry needs to allocate funds to R&D, thus optimizing use of all the resources involved.

In this regard, the trend is to integrate technology into the pool, as this allows us to rationalize water and energy consumption and, at the same time, guarantee maximum structural efficiency. Pool maintenance is a good example of this; automation achieves smart control of processes such as filtration, pumping, disinfectant dosing, keeping a record of water consumption recording and HVAC. Other trends, including the use of alternative energies, LED lighting, new HVAC systems to capitalize on residual heat and the application of eco-sustainable (i.e. technologically recyclable) materials, are examples of systems which, coupled with the passive measures directly affecting architectural design (insulation, orientation, solar protection), enable us to achieve maximum energy efficiency and the resulting savings in consumption.

The digital challenge

In addition, over the last few years, the pool business, like other sectors of industry, has had to address the digital challenge: more recently, the connectivity provided by the latest generation of disruptive technologies, including the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, has provided one of the key answers to meet the needs of pool users, who are demanding more components to facilitate water treatment and the remote management and maintenance of pool basins, thus improving the user experience.

Based on my experience within the sector as chief executive of Fluidra, a market leader in the pool and wellness equipment business, I firmly believe in our sector; it is in good shape and it can develop to provide more well-being for people. The IoT-connected pool is the future. The connected pool market currently accounts for a very low percentage of the total, and my company's target is to have sold one million connected pools by 2025.

The presence of swimming pools in the world has also changed, given that, in addition to residential pools, whose owners and managers are demanding more and more maintenance facilities, the pools located in the different tourist structures have also evolved; whereas in the past hotels only had a swimming pool, nowadays they have an integrated spa, a wellness zone with cold, warm and hot water and a children's area offering water games, among many other features.

Piscina & Wellness Barcelona exhibition

Thus, in a sector such as ours, holding an exhibition like Piscina & Wellness Barcelona, which I have had the pleasure of presiding over since 2010, is essential, because each event renews its commitment to innovation. This year, coinciding with its 25th anniversary, we will once again be holding the Piscina & Wellness Barcelona Awards to acknowledge the best innovative initiatives. The prizes will be awarded in these categories: residential pool, refurbished pool, wellness centre pool and public pool, as well as the one for the most innovative product on display at the fair.

In addition, the fair will also present the Wellness Experience Awards for the best spa, health resort, thalassotherapy centre and thermal or wellness technique and the International Competition for Students of Architecture, devoted to water facility projects.

The fair will also provide a space devoted to startups, organized in partnership with Fluidra Accelera, where fifteen emerging firms will present disruptive solutions in the water, aquatic facility and wellness sectors. In the same area, these entrepreneurs will explain the main characteristics of their proposals to other companies in the sector and investors.

The purpose of all these initiatives is to confirm our commitment to RDI and its momentum and recognition because, without any investment in this area (Spain, with more than 1.2 million units, ranks fourth in the world and second in Europe in terms of the number of swimming pools), we wouldn't have such a well-established industrial sector, currently one of the most dynamic and international on the planet.

Thus, it just remains for me to encourage all the professionals from the sector not to miss Piscina & Wellness Barcelona, a fair which, since its first year in 1994, has contributed to energizing one of the healthiest markets in the country. It's a strategic meeting point for companies seeking to find out more about the latest market innovations, consolidate their distribution networks, expand their domestic and international customer portfolios and discover new ideas to diversify their businesses and, in short, invest in knowledge and networking.

It's a valuable opportunity to exchange experiences and to greet each other in person. We look forward to seeing you.

Eloi Planes