“This was one of the easiest partnerships I’ve been part of in over a decade.” – Matthew Cusack, co-founder, FlowActive
Project Objective: Develop a custom software solution to capture and analyze water consumption and waste data for the hospitality industry. The data would be used to prove value to prospective customers and help solve some of the biggest issues facing hotels and other hospitality venues—the cost of wasted water that "goes down the drain" and the cost of repairs from a water leak.
Project Background: A running toilet can cost building owners up to $36 a day, or as much as $13,000 a year. If you’re responsible for utilities and repairs at a high-residency building, such as a hotel or college dormitory, those costs can be monumental.
Enter FlowActive, a high-tech startup that develops solutions for problems that result in wasted freshwater.
The company’s first product, 1stDrops, is a device that attaches to sinks and toilets to collect data on water use. The device, the size of a mobile phone, collects data and uses artificial intelligence to predict when and where issues, such as a running toilet or leaky faucet, might occur.
“It essentially turns your existing plumbing system into a connected smart water management system, potentially saving property managers thousands of dollars,” Cusack says.
The 1stDrops devices had no problem collecting data, but the data was too raw to be shown to end-users. FlowActive needed help mining the valuable data and presenting it to their customers in a meaningful way.
So the lab turned to Troy Web Consulting.
“I knew of Troy Web Consulting as a company that has a reputation for developing successful software solutions,” says Matthew Cusack, co-founder of FlowActive. “They were our first choice.”
The Challenge: Troy Web Consulting was tasked with finding a way to analyze this data by applying machine learning; algorithms and statistical models which computer systems use to progressively improve performance on a specific task.
“This is a completely new approach to measuring water flow through toilets to find leaks, breaks, and other problems before they become major construction projects,” says Ben Godgart, data scientist for Troy Web Consulting.
For six weeks, Troy Web Consulting worked side-by-side with FlowActive to develop a process to analyze data and extract insights from collected data.
“Ben integrated into our team immediately and seamlessly,” Cusack says. “He showed us, through extensive data analysis, that there was indeed valuable information hidden in our data. The resulting hypothesis was crucial in the future development and optimization of our product.”
Business Impact: The 1stDrops product is pre-revenue, but Cusack says that due to improved data analysis, FlowActive is able to track and grow its data sets to begin wider product distribution in the future.
Cusack also says their newfound ability to obtain and analyze useful data gave them the material they needed to submit an application for a sizable National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.
Cusack says their company has received a great deal of interest in their product from managers in the hospitality, housing, and real estate industries. Dozens of devices are being tested in hotels right now, and he says he couldn’t be happier with the opportunities their work with Troy Web Consulting has given them.
“This was one of the easiest and most valuable partnerships I’ve been a part of in a decade,” Cusack says.
1stDrops is available for pre-order, with a release expected in the first half of 2019. Learn more about 1stDrops at www.flowactive.com.