WaterOn is an IoT product that measures water usage in real time and charges people based on their actual consumption, thereby discouraging wastage of water.
Several experts have predicted that the next big war will be fought over water. We often forget that for thousands of years, we have been subsisting on the exact same water sources. Therefore, it goes without saying that conserving water should be at the top of our priority list.
Without metering, there is no incentive for most people to save water. Research shows that water consumption drops by up to 35 percent once we start metering. In India, most housing complexes do not meter the water consumption of residents individually. Instead, the residents are charged a fixed flat rate. As a result of this, those who use water frugally get charged a higher amount and those who regularly waste water go scot-free.
To address this problem, SmarterHomes, a Bengaluru-based automaton startup, has come up with a solution to not only monitor individual water usage but also significantly reduce water wastage through their IoT product WaterOn.
Founded by Kasturi Rangan, 44, and Vivek Shukla, 39, in February 2014, WaterOn is currently operational in around 1,600 houses in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The team has also received positive responses to the feelers sent out to the global market. Kasturi says, “We are positive that in the next financial year we will be able to make inroads into the international markets, in countries like Finland, Holland, and Indonesia.” Currently bootstrapped, the team is looking to raise funds. An exciting field that is seeing a lot of action, IoT startups are on everybody’s watch list right now.
The WaterOn meter is an independent unit sending data to the cloud server and customers can opt for one of two variations – one with a remote operable valve allowing users to shut off water supply in the event of a leak or planned vacation, and another without valve which can alert the user of a leak but will not be able to shut off water supply.
The team claims that the device is highly accurate and can be installed in any orientation - horizontal or vertical or even at an angle - making them friendly for tough to install locations. In high rise apartment complexes, each water inlet is fixed with a WaterOn smart water meter. The meters connect each other network ensuring real time, loss-free transmission of data to the wireless communication hub called Nuclious.
The Nuclious enables real-time connectivity of smart meters and sensors with SmarterHomes platform. The comprehensive dashboard accessible from internet and smartphones allows the customers to see their supply and consumption statistics, their averages, lowest and highest consumptions and compare their usage with neighbours.
WaterOn also incorporates billing data along with usage trends, forecasts, and a six-month historical view of the consumption.
Former colleagues at Wipro EcoEnergy, Kasturi and Vivek were also neighbours in an apartment complex. Kasturi says,
We would carpool to work and it was the during the long hours spent navigating the Bengaluru traffic that we decided on venturing into a startup that would also have a social impact.
Kasturi sis a mechanical engineer with over 25 years of professional experience, and enjoys building tech products. Vivek has an MBA from École des Ponts Business School along with a solid experience of 19 years in marketing and product management. He is passionate about design, ambient intelligence, connected devices, and analytics which can change the way we live and improve the quality of life, unobtrusively.
Meters are installed at each entry point of water in an apartment. Once installed, there’s no need to go to them and take readings even though they have a physical counter. The SmarterHomes team aims to work with anyone who wants to implement a water metering solution. The team has several Resident Welfare Associations as clients. They are also in discussions with builders and developers to implement the solution at construction stage itself. The retrofit installations do not take up much plumbing changes and can be carried out quite easily. The product has a base price of Rs 6,500 and prices vary based on the kind of variant the apartment or house requires. The team also hopes to see more installations in industrial buildings and offices this year.
SmarterHomes has a team size of 22 and since they are at a high growth phase, the founders have ensured that all processes pertaining to the entire product cycle – development, installation, and service – are in place so that scaling up does not entail too much growth pangs.