SmarTap, which recently presented at Microsoft’s Think Next conference in Tel Aviv, tracks water consumption and sends the information to the cloud. It could be a rainmaker for hotels and laundry businesses
Israeli startup SmarTap wants to disrupt your shower. Not by interrupting you as you relish the relaxing cascades of warmth, perish the thought. Instead, the company’s technology measures water supply, pressure and temperature very precisely using a patented algorithm, which they presented recently at Microsoft’s Think Next conference in Tel Aviv. These measurements can be sent to the cloud and help you optimize your water consumption.
Here’s Geektime‘s Laura Rosbrow’s video interview with Asaf Shaltiel, SmarTap’s founder and CEO, at Microsoft’s Think Next conference:
SmarTap allows you to pre-program your tap to be at the precise water temperature that you want. If you give your kids (or yourself) a bath, you can preset the temperature and amount of water you want to fill and walk away. When you return, the tap will have shut itself off. No more worrying if the water will burn your children’s sensitive skin.
“Basically, SmarTap wants to do for water consumption what NEST did for the household thermostat,” Ran Zerivitz, the company’s VP for business development told Geektime. “It wants to learn your consumption habits and improve your use in a way that will lead to considerable savings in your water and energy consumption.”
SmarTap keeps track of every drop of water you use. The data is sent to the cloud, and allows hotel owners, business owners and private households to learn about their water consumption and how to make it more efficient. The system also keeps track of your hot and cold water pressure, and can alert you to potential plumbing problems before they reach emergency proportions (say, a burst pipe).
Users can also set SmarTap to make sure the water temperature doesn’t rise above a certain point. This is especially useful when giving a shower to children who may not stand still if there are temperature fluctuations. For hotel owners, SmarTap can also be programmed to “clean” their showers once a month with high water pressure set at 158 degrees. This helps kill bacteria in the pipes.
Reducing business water consumption
Zerivitz told Geektime that the system is especially attractive to hotels and other businesses that use a lot of water like gyms or laundromats. For instance, a hotel guest may not notice if the water pressure is 20 or 17 liters per minute. But the hotel’s accountant will certainly take heed and be pleased at the savings. The system has already been installed in several hotels in Israel and the company has signed on several European B2B faucet companies.
Will homeowners use SmarTap?
It is hard to foresee homeowners adopting SmarTap en masse unless they have large gardens or swimming pools. The question is whether people’s water bill is a large enough pain point for them to seek out this solution.
It is possible that SmarTap could suffer the same fate as Whirlpool’s $1,699 smart washing machine, a washer equipped with WiFi that texted or emailed you when your clothes were ready to dry. No one was that excited to get notifications from their washing machine.
Sales of the washer were lackluster, the Washington Post reported, leading one Whirlpool executive to admit, “trying to understand exactly the value proposition that you provide to the consumer has been a little bit of a challenge.”
How big is your water bill?
A family of four using 100 gallons of water per day will pay about $35 a month in the United States on their water bill. Not that that family shouldn’t be motivated to save water, but realistically, they’d save more by buying less coffee, packing their lunch or cutting electricity expenses, which can be $100-$200 per month.
Water may be our most precious resource, but for now a lot of people take it for granted.