Most housing societies today either charge a flat fee, or a fee based upon apartment area for their water bills. It naturally generates discontenet among the occupants as few feel that with limited numbers, they are paying high amount. Sensing this, Vivek Shukla and Kasturi Rangan, in 2014, started SmarterHomes, with an aim to empower individual users to monitor, control and optimise their water consumption in real time.
“Prior to starting up, we have known each other since the time we worked together at Wipro. We were also neighbours in an apartment complex and regular carpoolers. As neighbours in an apartment complex, we experienced the pain of inaccurate water billing process and the lack of water metering. Most housing societies today either charge a flat fee or a fee based upon apartment area on water bills,” says Vivek Shukla, Co-founder and CEO, SmarterHomes. “Even though the water consumption is different for each household, the bill is calculated by dividing the number of households by the total amount. This means that some residents pay for others’ usage as well. We experienced this problem within our apartment complex and decided to come up with a solution,” he adds.
The company came up with its first functional prototypes in February 2014, followed by final product design, platform development and product testing and certification in March 2015. The company’s target customers are all apartments that resort to flat rate water tariff. “Our target customer is any apartment complex or villa community which is not metering water currently and resorting to a flat rate water tariff irrespective of the individual consumption. We are capable of doing a retrofit installation without much plumbing changes,” says Shukla.”
Apartment complexes come in different sizes and forms, but plumbing is most of the times common as water is supplied from overhead tanks to each apartment unit from multiple inlets. If an apartment decides to implement meters, there’s no way they can install normal meters available in the market as even if you install the meter outside in the duct, it’s near impossible to take readings from them,” Shukla goes on to add.
“WaterOn is the world’s first 100% automated smart water meter offering accurate metering, leak prevention (detection and control) and long life. It’s the only end-to-end solution providing real time readings to the consumers to help them prevent wastage and save money. The solution offers a best in class billing engine to the service provider whether it’s an RWA or Utility Provider,” says Shukla, explaining his business model.
Shukla also asserts that there is not matching product in the world, as of date. “WaterOn is the only product of its kind in the world and we take pride in it and have filed for multiple patents around the technology,” he asserts. Since its inception, the company has invested about Rs 3.5 crore, and is expecting to break-even in the next 4-6 months.