As neighbours in an apartment complex, Vivek Shukla and Kasturi Rangan experienced the pain of inaccurate water billing and lack of metering, which often ended up in them paying for water they did not consume. This is because their housing society calculated the bill by dividing the number of households by the total amount, despite the fact that the water consumption is different for each household.
The duo wanted to put an end to this unfair practice.
“We decided to come up with a solution that can measure and generate a bill based on actual water consumption,” says Shukla, CEO of SmartrHomes Technologies, which has developed a smart water meter that measures consumption in individual apartments.
“WaterOn is a 100 per cent automated smart water meter offering accurate metering, leak prevention (detection and control) and long life. It provides real-time readings to the consumers to help them prevent wastage and save money,” he says.
The company was founded in 2014 by former Wipro executives Shukla and Rangan, along with Matthew Albort, a foreign national.
The Bangalore-based startup provides solutions for housing societies to adopt individual water metering, which empowers users to monitor, control and optimise their water consumption in real time.
WaterOn uses positive displacement technology that makes it accurate compared to conventional jet type meters, says Shukla.
It can be installed in any orientation — horizontal, vertical, at an angle or even upside down — making it friendly for tough-to-install locations.
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In high-rise apartment complexes, each water inlet would be fixed with a WaterOn meter. The meters connect each other in a network ensuring real time, loss-free transmission of data to the cloud application.
“The connected meters send consumption data in real time to the central analytical and billing engine. The platform accessible from Internet and smartphones allows users to view their water consumption and also detect any abnormal consumption. The user can view per inlet consumption, historical or average consumption or even makes comparisons with their neighbours which encourages them to reduce wastage,” Shukla elaborates.
In the event of a leakage or an abnormal consumption, the device will alert the user on his/her phone and he/she can close the tap remotely with the help of an app.
“WaterOn also incorporates an end-to-end meter management and billing engine that not only presents the bill data, but also presents usage trends, forecasts and a 6-month historical view of the consumption,” Shukla adds.
An IoT-based product, WaterOn comes in different variants for different applications. For high-rise buildings, the most cost- effective and easy solution is a hybrid variant of wired meters and wireless communication hub called Nuclious.
The meters connect with each other with a special purpose cable, which not only manage the data transmission but also power the devices for real time operations. The meter can store approximately 45 days of consumption records in its local storage.
“The meter counts each consumption and at the end, it sends the data to the cloud server through Nuclious. The Nuclious and meters are powered by solar power pack making them completely isolated from building resources,” Shukla explains.
“The platform in turn manages the data for billing purposes. The comprehensive dashboard allows the customers to see their supply and consumption statistics, their averages, lowest and highest consumptions and also comparisons with others,” adds Shukla, who has previously worked at companies such as Wipro EcoEnergy, JobStreet.com and TimesJobs.com.
The startup claims to have installed nearly 800 units to date across Bangalore and Hyderabad. It is currently working with partners in the Netherlands, the UK, Hong Kong, Finland, South Korea, Portugal, Chile and Indonesia.
WaterOn is priced at INR 6,499 (under US$100).
“It is inclusive of installation, any other infrastructure such as data costs, cloud software for billing and meter management, apps for users, and a 2-year end-to-end warranty with an option to extend it up to 10 years,” Shukla says.
SmarterHomes is currently looking to raise funds to scale its operations in newer markets including international.