A deep dive into innovation
Humans love swimming pools. If you want proof, consider that we’ve been building them since roughly the first day we figured out how to do it. Archaeologists have discovered sophisticated public bathing tanks in the Indus Valley dating back 5,000 years, and the first heated swimming pool was constructed in Rome during the reign of Augustus Caesar.
This means that people have now been struggling with the headaches of regular pool maintenance for at least 2,000 years. With over 10 million residential pools and over 300,000 public pools in the US alone, that’s a lot of headaches.
Bay Area technology startup Sutro Connect is now eliminating those headaches and giving Americans the chance to love their pools (or spas) againTM. Sutro Connect’s AI-powered Smart Monitor uses IoT technology to continuously measure water conditions, send alerts when the pool needs attention, and make recommendations for which chemicals to add and when. For pool owners, that means no surprises, no guesswork, and no time or money wasted on unnecessary chemicals or dumped water.
Helping owners love their pools (or spas) again
The nature of pool and spa maintenance makes it an obvious candidate for automation: the work is tedious, stressful, involves a lot of math (related to chemical proportions and interactions) and is subject to frequent human error.
Growing up in the pool and spa industry, Sutro Connect founder Ravi Kurani saw firsthand how the continuous hassle and expense of maintenance can turn the joy of pool ownership into an ongoing nightmare for pool owners.
Based on in-field experience evaluating and developing water monitoring systems for rural communities, he knew that the technology could be adapted to the specific requirements of water quality management.
For homeowners, institutions, and pool maintenance providers the advantages are obvious: eliminate guesswork, reduce waste, save money, and turn time spent worrying about a pool, spa, or hot tub into time spent enjoying it.
Sutro Connect’s patented solution is elegant, unobtrusive, beautifully designed, with advanced sensor and AI capabilities hidden inside a remarkably simple-looking physical package.
The Sutro Connect Smart Monitor floats in a pool or spa and continuously monitors important water quality values like pH, chlorine, and alkalinity. This information is transmitted directly to the Sutro Connect hub, which uploads the information to the cloud for analysis and easy access.
Thanks to the Sutro Connect app, owners can always be certain at a glance that the water in their pool is safe for swimming. When needed, the app will make maintenance recommendations based on real-time conditions, using the owner’s preferred pool chemistry, and Sutro Connect’s network of partners ensures that nearby real-world help is always standing by if needed.
A fast track to scale
For most “smart home” solutions, it’s easy enough to get connected using existing home Wi-Fi. And if your pool happens to be in Wi-Fi range, that’s great! But a lot of home pools aren’t so conveniently located, and for gyms, clubs, schools or other institutions it’s not always feasible to provide network access.
Soracom’s cellular connectivity provides a simple and reliable backup that reaches where Wi-Fi can’t to ensure that everything works as it should no matter where a user’s pool is located. But as it turns out, reliable cellular connectivity is just the start.
For a consumer IoT company like Sutro Connect, one of the major challenges on the way to full-scale deployment is proper device provisioning. Public cloud services like AWS require each device to bear unique security credentials. Typically, these credentials would need to be installed on each device at the time of manufacture. However, this adds significant time, complexity, and potential for error. And because the credentials are stored on the device, it also opens up a potential security risk.
To streamline device manufacturing and speed-to-market, Sutro Connect uses Soracom Krypton for remote, on-demand device provisioning and credential management. This removes manufacturing dependencies, enhances device security, and also ensures compliance with California’s new device security requirements.
Safer water everywhere
Sutro Connect’s core product is purpose-built to make life easier for anyone who owns or maintains a pool, spa, or hot tub. With millions of pools in the United States alone, Sutro Connect is squarely focused on a Summer 2019 product release.
However, Sutro Connect’s sensor modules are well suited to measuring the chemical content of water anywhere it’s needed, from municipal reservoirs to source rivers and streams. In addition to pool-specific tests like chlorine level and pH, Sutro Connect’s patented hardware and software can be readily adapted to support dozens of additional water tests. Looking ahead, Sutro Connect will be uniquely positioned to ensure not only the safety of the water we swim in but the water we drink and use to irrigate our crops.