By Ramzi Bouzerda and Peter Racz
Authored in Smart Water Magazine April 2021
By 2050, the growing urbanization is predicted to result in 70% of the world’s population living in cities. Meanwhile, the dynamics in the world’s industrial activity and agriculture development is leading to an increasing water pollution. The presence of micropollutants and heavy metals in the underground water is reducing the quality of tap water. These trends, combined with the reduction of the single-use plastic bottled water and the need to protect equipment from sediment and scale, will boost further adoption of water treatment solutions in the residential and HoReCa (Hotels, Restaurants & Catering) segments.
Water quality: a key success factor for the HoReCa industry
The key factor for success in the HoReCa industry is customer experience, and water is present in virtually every process. The main drivers for adoption of the water filtration systems by the hospitality sector are about taste and hardness of water.
Today’s water filtration market is dominated by global players, many of which are forward integrated. They include manufacturers and service providers of water treatment solutions and dispensing systems connected to the water supply, such as “Point of Use” (PoU) or “Point of Entry” (PoE). Most of these filtration solutions rely on hybrid technology options such as Solid block activated carbon (SBAC), Granular activated carbon (GAC), Reverse osmosis (RO), Ultraviolet light (UV), UV-LED systems, Microfiltration (MF), Ultrafiltration (UF), Nanofiltration (NF), or Ion exchange (IX) with either anion or cation exchange (AX and CX, respectively).
To satisfy the strict requirements of the HoReCa industry in terms of taste, the filtration systems rely on the timely replacement of filters or other consumables like UV lamps. However, their maintenance need depends greatly on usage patterns, water quality, and many other context-specific factors where IoT can drastically reduce operating costs while maximizing equipment lifetime.
IoT technologies at the service of the filtration solutions
Real-time monitoring and analytics systems are today progressively adopted by a wide range of industries. The IoT-based solutions allow us to integrate various technologies with edge and cloud data processing, bringing together precise monitoring capabilities, predictive maintenance, and efficient customer consulting and support.
Water treatment applications such as Reverse Osmosis systems, purifiers, filters, softeners, as well as dispensing systems can be equipped with a wide variety of connected sensors, able to precisely measure flow, pressure, TDS and temperature. The fine-grained data are collected by the smart sensors and transferred to the dedicated cloud platform. The machine-learning algorithms can then be customized to provide vendors, services providers and end customers with actionable insights. These will monitor assets performance, enable their on-time maintenance and predict the replacement of the consumables such as filters, cartridges, UV lamps, etc.
The quantum leap of service levels through real-time data access
A full-stack cloud solution developed by Droople can deliver today highly increased service levels across the entire value chain. In the context of the water softener market, the smart data platform helps end-users to save water, by bringing visibility to their consumption, and by allowing them to predict salt refills and filter swaps. The service providers can then lease their hardware and provide value added services on top of their softening or filtration device.
The Droople Water Intelligence Platform enables the cost-effective monitoring of large fleets of assets distributed geographically. The different sensors can be installed as a retrofit to enable a smooth transition towards IoT or for each new installation. The iLink communication module collects real-time data on a single platform, where they are interpreted to deliver immediate insights.
New levels of service and automation enable personalized advice including an optimal choice of appliances and process optimization. The data transparency also makes it possible to fulfill sustainability requirements, generating customer loyalty and trust through data access sharing.
Ramzi Bouzerda is Founder and CEO of Droople SA, a Swiss IoT company that makes the world aware water is our shared source of life by providing water intelligence.