In French explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau’s words, “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” True enough, water forms the lifeline of any community. However, the actual steps involved in the urban life cycle of water – from sourcing water to its treatment, distribution, collection, to treating wastewater and finally returning the treated water back to the water bodies – largely stay out of public sight. The intricacies of this complex system are handled by utilities, which have assets like pumps, blowers, and mixers that have the potential to provide a lot of data on the water system. Yet, the utilities tend to lack the ability to mine all that data due to the absence of a common platform that integrates all the information on a real-time basis, creating efficiency gaps in water management.
Enter Aquasight – a Troy, Michigan-based water management tech company that provides innovative solutions to all sorts of water management issues. Armed with an industry-first common real-time digital AI platform for mining data from utilities’ assets and boasting of more than 50,000 water utilities – out of which around 2,000 are significant in terms of size and relevance – and 16,000 wastewater management entities, Aquasight is completely focused on handling the entire life cycle of water. “Efficiency, asset intelligence, risk management, determining spending areas, and knowledge retention are the five key themes by which our common digital platform provides value across the entire water life cycle,” says Mahesh Lunani, founder and CEO of Aquasight. Focusing on municipal sources of water, Aquasight addresses the challenges utilities face in gaining information on their assets, like detecting leakages, assessing conditions of pumps and blowers, predicting water quality, and helps them become more proactive than reactive. “We can provide utilities a solution that doesn’t cost as much and is able to deliver the value,” adds Lunani.
Water, Wastewater, and More
Containing five times more energy than what is required to treat it, wastewater forms a crucial portion of the water life cycle. $100 billion are spent each year in maintaining wastewater operations, out of which nearly half is spent on the activated sludge treatment process. Seeking to lower operations and maintenance costs, APOLLO, Aquasight’s wastewater management solution, utilizes AI, asset intelligence and real-time advisors to deliver a comprehensive wastewater management solution to utilities. Lunani mentions an instance where Aquasight implemented AI to provide the correct amount of air to solve the issue of fluctuating air supply during active sludge treatment in a wastewater plant, saving $10,000 per month.
Efficiency, asset intelligence, risk management, determining spending areas and knowledge retention are the key themes by which our digital platform provides value across the entire water life cycle
According to Lunani, three factors help Aquasight set itself apart from other players – deep knowledge of real-time AI monitoring, vast experience in the water management vertical, and the ability to configure the technology as per the needs of various water systems – be it of cities, villages or townships – which makes Aquasight’s platform inherently scalable. “We don’t have to spend time coding every time we encounter a new system – we can simply configure it,” Lunani adds.
Throwing light on the configurability of Aquasight’s system, Lunani gives a series of examples where Aquasight has helped solve its clients’ diverse water woes. In one instance, Aquasight reduced the time spent on leakage detection for its customer from 30 days to 2-4 days, resulting in huge savings; while in another one, it used predictive intelligence to detect low water quality and low chlorine hotspots – both active and potential – in a city, which helped the city water authorities disinfect those areas, thereby raising water quality and chlorine levels. In another case, a customer’s need to keep a tab on the date and amount of water purchased was fulfilled by automatic updates from Aquasight’s digital assistant SAMI, without the customer having to look into the system. Elsewhere, Aquasight did robotic process automation for a community looking to maintain its water utility asset’s condition, life and risk levels – a time-consuming task – and automated 95 percent of the system, saving significant time.
Noting the wide scope of Aquasight’s solutions, Lunani points out the need for utilities to keep an open mind toward companies willing to invest in innovative solutions designed for the utilities sector as the industry continues to evolve. “Utilities have to be ready to look for new players in the market that they may have not been used to in the past and embrace them,” he opines.
As per Lunani, growth is the numero uno criteria for Aquasight. “Growth can happen in three categories - our solution portfolio, customer base and regional expansion,” he remarks, affirming Aquasight’s focus on growing itself in the utilities tech sector. But water is not the only vertical that Aquasight intends to limit itself to in the long run, for Aquasight seeks to provide its technological expertise to diverse sectors like manufacturing, oil and gas too. For now, Aquasight is well set on a trajectory to transform water cycle management in never-seen-before ways.