How These 3 Companies Used IoT and Water to Transform Their Businesses
Using technology to digitally measure water with confidence is a lot more complicated than you might think. The confidence and accuracy of these measurements are important to us as individuals and also a variety of organizations.
These organizations could range from industrial battery companies that need effective water maintenance to keep equipment running, to municipalities maintaining the quality of their bodies of water, or even to charities that keep clean water pumps operational for people in need.
Whether you’re measuring water flow, water fluidity, or water quality, each has its own set of challenges. In this article we will dive deeper into the examples referenced above, and show you how each solution can be measured and the business and product innovations that came as a result.
The key is achieving measurement with confidence. If it only works 50% of the time, not only will the user experience be poor, but this inaccuracy could lead to major financial and safety issues.
Here are three companies that Twisthink helped to digitally measure water with IoT and their respective results.
Keeping Clean Water Flowing for Millions of People in Rural Communities Around the World
Together with the non-profit organization charity: water, we built an Internet of Things (IoT) device packed with sensors to keep clean water flowing for people in remote parts of Africa and Asia. In total, we deployed 7,300 sensors and safeguarded 100M people with clean water.
These customized sensors unlocked new business innovation for charity: water.
- Predictive maintenance: By detecting issues and dispatching prompt repairs as necessary, water kept flowing while also being safeguarded for an estimated 100 million people.
- Cost savings: The cost per sensor, including 10 years of data, is roughly $250 (USD), which is about 2% of the cost of a hand pump.
- Invisible sensors: All of these sensors were implemented as part of the hand pump and are mostly invisible to the people using them. This prevents damage while keeping the aesthetics and usage of the device the same.
Creating a New Digital, Cloud-Connected Battery Sensor to Change How Industrial Batteries Are Maintained
Together with Flow-Rite, a manufacturer of fluid control devices, we created a custom digital sensor solution that would notify battery owners when watering and maintenance were required; this improved the maintenance process and maximized battery life. This solution was all about measuring water fluidity.
These customized sensors unlocked new business innovation for Flow-Rite.
- Real-time battery performance: Using a mobile app, administrators can access every single watering event, ambient battery temperature in real-time, and battery usage time and battery draw.
- Minimized service downtime: Now, with access to data, administrators can plan group maintenance of batteries to minimize service downtime.
- Extended battery life: Extended battery life through proper maintenance which resulted in stronger ROI on batteries.
Fewer hours spent on paperwork and manual reports: Reduced paperwork and provided greater efficiency with cloud-connected data accessible to the entire team.
Environmental Innovation: A New Way to Track and Monitor Lake Quality
Lake Macatawa, a local lake connected to Lake Michigan, was having water quality issues, and we stepped in to remediate the problem utilizing our experience with measuring water quality. Given that Twisthink is from Western Michigan and has a deep passion for the Great Lakes’ Freshwater, we took a deep interest in this project.
A key element to substantially reducing the sediment, nutrient, and bacterial pollution in Lake Macatawa is constant tracking and monitoring of the factors that impact the water quality.
A new wireless system: The sensing hardware we designed sends data wirelessly to a server and provides the local partners timely updates on the frequently-changing stream conditions.
Automated previously manual monitoring activities: Instead of having to manually track information, the new automated IoT reporting system provides a unique and powerful platform to track sediment in real-time, which aids in identifying critical source areas and assessing restoration efforts.
Holistic Solutions, Not just Sensors, are the Answer
It’s important to get a holistic perspective of the problem you’re solving, which will help determine exactly how you’re going to be measuring water. Measuring water isn’t as simple as “put a sensor here to measure this.” It needs a customer-centric approach to understand the problem and create a solution that delivers value to all stakeholders.
All three case studies had similar outcomes:
IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
ABILITY TO AUTOMATE TASKS (NOW THAT THEY TRUST THE DATA)
MORE EFFICIENT EMPLOYEES
By starting with the customer first, understanding the true problem, and adding some great technical minds, you can create solutions that make a significant business impact.
If you are part of a company that works with water in any capacity, consider how digitizing the measurement of water could impact your business.