Introducing the Buoy™ Smart Water Device
Buoy is the first complete smart home device for managing household water use. While measuring water flow at a single point near the home's water main entrance, Buoy streams the data to the cloud using the homeowner's WiFi network.
Through sophisticated data science, the Buoy app processes the water use data and disaggregates it into relevant categorization of home fixtures and appliances such as showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers and laundry machines, as well as outdoor landscape and garden watering. Buoy identifies leaks that occur throughout the household water system and alerts homeowners immediately, allowing them to remotely shut off water and prevent widespread, expensive damage.
The water usage data Buoy collects is presented in real time to users through the Buoy mobile app. Homeowners use the app to access information on overall water usage, and to deep dive into attribution-level data for the fixture/appliance categories in their home. Understanding water usage by category (including indoor vs. outdoor use), patterns and trends enables Buoy users become active and knowledgeable water managers, and have a system in place to identify and prevent expensive water leaks.
Buoy has undergone a rigorous one year testing period in an independent lab. Their engineers have confirmed that Buoy can detect leaks as small as a few tablespoons per hour and provide notifications in less than 20 minutes. Pilot programs in multiple states have confirmed that the disaggregation accuracy for Buoy is greater than 90% by volume.
Buoy Installation Process
Buoy's setup process is two simple steps:
First, a plumbing professional installs the Buoy device inline, next to the home's water shut-off valve.
Connect to WiFi
Next, the Buoy app connects the Buoy device to the home's WiFi network.
The state of California recently experienced one of its worst droughts in 500 years. This, coupled with dwindling groundwater supplies, has led to mandatory statewide conservation measures targeting an average 20 percent reduction in urban water use.
One study has found that approximately 10 percent of indoor residential water — almost 10,000 gallons per year — is lost to in-home leaks. Another study, sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources, found that 18 percent of a single-family household's annual water consumption could be attributed to leaks. While some of this water is lost in "soft" leaks, such as dripping faucets or running toilets, much of it is lost in "hard" leaks that destroy floors and walls, leading to expensive repairs. Water damage caused by leaks have an average claim of $10,000 and are the most common homeowner insurance claim in the United States.
Ground water shortages, drought, and failing infrastructure have caused utilities to sharply increase water pricing, putting pressure on homeowners to eliminate water waste. Unfortunately, the average homeowner has limited visibility into water wasted from leaks, and the home's water provider only notifies the customer days, or sometimes weeks, after a significant leak has begun. Lesser — and often invisible — leaks and drips go unnoticed, causing damage, water waste and loss of money.
Most existing leak detection solutions are cumbersome and expensive. They require multiple sensors to be installed and a contract with a separate monitoring service, similar to home security services.These systems can cost as much as $2,000, with added annual service, calibration and maintenance charges. Consumer adoption is low.
The Solution: Buoy Smart Water Management
Buoy is a single device that addresses two major issues
Water Usage Behavior
Working together, the Buoy app and Buoy device connect water customers' behavior to their water use, and offer practical, evidence-based water reduction opportunities.
The Buoy app compares current water use data to average consumption, and allows homeowners to view water use for any time period. The app reports volume, flow rate, and indoor/outdoor water use duration, helping homeowners stay compliant with local water district regulations. Buoy integrates with other smart home devices, such as Nest and Amazon Echo, to be part of a home's smart technology ecosystem.
Leak Detection and Remote Shut Off
Buoy helps homeowners detect and prevent household water leaks, water losses that cannot be avoided by efficiency improvements or water conservation. Many leaks occur in out-of-sight places or when homeowners are away, so go unnoticed for long periods of time. Buoy's extensive data science and pattern-matching abilities detect such leaks, and the app notifies the homeowner, who can use Buoy's remote shut off valve, preventing extensive damage with the touch of a button.
How Buoy Works for Water Utilities
The Buoy App and Device
- Provides the customer with real-time water usage information
- Detects and notifies even the smallest leaks
- Remote/automatic shutoff
- Long-life rechargeable battery or plug-in
Buoy is a self-contained solution that resides entirely on the customer side, integrating seamlessly into their smartphone technology to pull plumbing and water use into the 21st century.
Buoy fits into a district’s existing infrastructure, regardless of when it was last upgraded. For utilities using standard or AMR metering, Buoy provides a deeper level of data and engagement for both utility managers and customers. For districts that have AMI metering and/or SAAS products (such as WaterSmart or AquaHawk), Buoy provides the “last mile” of data collection and insight: disaggregated household usage data and shut-off capability.
Water districts’ burden for infrastructure upgrades and customer education are immense. Buoy increases water customers’ engagement and education without additional infrastructure, financial or personnel commitments from the district.
Buoy reduces water utilities’ time spent helping residential customers diagnose and resolve leaks, including connecting customers with qualified plumbing professionals. Buoy puts the information your water customers need to comply with water conservation goals and water efficiency guidelines directly in their hands.
Rebate & Pilot Programs
Buoy is selecting water agency partners for Summer 2017 rebate and pilot programs. Set up a meeting to determine whether your agency is a good fit.
This is a particularly advantageous time for Buoy to launch. Water rates are increasing pretty quickly compared to other utilities.
Lucas Matney, TechCrunch