Most of us do not realise that unlike electricity, water has no substitutes. Worse, water is not properly utilised by mankind; as a result of increasing demand due to growing population and rapid urbanisation, many countries are facing severe water crisis. “Without metering, there is no incentive for anyone to save water,” reckons Vivek Shukla, CEO and co-founder of SmarterHomes Technologies. He stresses that technology can help in saving, controlling and monitoring water consumption in real-time.
Towards this, SmarterHomes has come up with an innovative solution—an Internet of Things-based device called WaterOn that not only monitors water usage, but also helps in significantly reducing its wastage. It provides quick and simple solutions to housing societies to adopt individual water metering. WaterOn is operational in 700 houses in Bengaluru and 2,400 water meters are currently being installed. With an expanding consumer base in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, SmarterHomes plans to expand its footprint to Chennai and Pune within the next six months.
On the international front, it is currently engaging with water utility companies in the UK. It also works with channel partners in Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. WaterOn has been well-received in international markets such as Finland, Holland and Indonesia. Shukla claims that WaterOn is the first 100% automated smart water meter offering accurate metering and leak prevention (detection and control). “It’s the only end-to-end solution providing real-time readings,” he adds.
Why is water metering important?
As neighbours in an apartment complex, Kasturi Rangan and Vivek Shukla had experienced the pain of inaccurate water billing process and the lack of water metering. To address this problem, the duo started SmarterHomes in 2014. “Most housing complexes do not meter the water consumption of residents individually. Instead, the residents are charged a fixed flat rate. Even though the water consumption is different for each household, the bill is calculated by dividing the number of households by the total amount,” he says. “Individual consumption levels are never equal which results in most residents paying for others’ consumption as well. This makes people insensitive towards water wastage.”
How does WaterOn work?
WaterOn is an integrated product which comes with a simplified solution approach. The smart meter is an independent unit sending data to the cloud server. The meter comes in 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 second without valve which can alert the user of a leak but will not be able to shut off water supply. Installed at every inlet point, WarerOn records consumption and sends it to the user and billing engine. “Installing WaterOn meters is a simple cut-and-paste job—cut the pipe, paste the adaptors and fix the meter at every water inlet,” says Shukla.
The base variant for high-rise buildings costs `6,499 plus taxes. The pricing is inclusive of installation, any other infrastructure such as data costs, cloud software for billing and meter management, apps for users, and a two-year end-to-end warranty with an option to extend it up to 10 years. SmarterHomes will also launch a rental model where customers can acquire the solution for a small monthly subscription. “Metering has been able to reduce consumption by 35% and our customer data proves it,” Shukla summarises.