WINT Water Intelligence Tackles Waste While Improving Efficiency An Israeli company specializing in high-tech for water use efficiency is doing well in the United States.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We love to celebrate companies that are making a deposit by making a difference. When we get asked by entrepreneurship grads, "What business should I go into?" Our answer is always, "Find a business that addresses, mitigates, or helps people and companies survive the biggest mega trend of our time, climate change!"
One of the elements that is becoming increasingly scarce and precious is water. Yet we still suffer from leakage, bursts and overuse. What if you could get notified on your phone when there was any unusual use on your water system? What if you could monitor water use with A.I., machine learning and cellular networks? What if your system would automatically shut down if you have a break in the lines?
In other words, how about using state-of-the-art technologies to save and use water more efficiently? That's the value proposition behind WINT Water intelligence. According to WINT CEO, Alon Geva, as much as 25 percent of water is just wasted through leaks, bursts and overuse.
Hailing from Israel where water is super precious, WINT uses a comprehensive system of smart valves, AI, machine learning and communication systems to save companies significant amounts of water and expenses. Since the price of water has nowhere to go but up, this technology promises a rather rapid and permanent return on investment. WINT is now available in the United States just in time to help businesses maximize their water use while minimizing their water bills.
We caught up with WINT CEO Alon Geva and their Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Yaron Dycian, to find out more about this timely solution.
M&B: When and how did you first get the idea for this business?
Alon: Our founder suffered a water leak in his home, which caused a lot of damage. Following this incident, he looked for a solution that can prevent this from ever happening again but couldn't quite find one that addressed his needs. So, he decided to build a solution based on the most advanced technology, using artificial intelligence. Our first customers immediately reported that it substantially saved them water and made for more effective water use. Seeing the impact our solution can have on the environment, we then developed our next versions with two value propositions in mind – preventing water damage AND conserving water.
M&B: Where was the first WINT application used and where is it used now?
Yaron: One of our very first customers was a Fortune 500 company. They deployed WINT in two buildings as a trial. The results beat their expectations – a 27-28 percent reduction in water consumption. Since then, they installed WINT in 24 buildings. Thanks to this corporate customer and others, we keep improving the solution and enhancing our feature set. WINT is now installed in hotels, commercial facilities, high rise office buildings, manufacturers and more.
M&B: What does the WINT solution do that sets it apart from what already out there?
Yaron: WINT uses Artificial Intelligence that constantly learns how water is being used by the facility. It studies local usage patterns and combines it with knowledge that we've acquired over many years in thousands of locations. That enables it to detect any water use anomalies, overuse or even the smallest leaks, in real time. Administrators get the flexibility to choose what to do when a leak is detected - automatic water shutoff, manual shutoff, alerts, and more.
In addition, we also operate a global 24/7 control center where all WINT systems are constantly being monitored. So that's two layers that ensure that WINT detects any water loss events, as soon as they happen. The result is a robust and highly useful solution that no one else has.
M&B: How is AI employed to produce water savings?
Alon: WINT uses artificial intelligence to continuously learn local water flows and behavior. It correlates flow patterns with pre-established knowledge of water users such as irrigation, lavatories, cooling towers and specialized equipment. Following a short learning period, WINT will detect anomalies in real time.
WINT also uses AI to provide actionable reports that track consumption and waste - so sustainability teams can measure improvement over time.
M&B: How long will an investment in WINT take to pay for itself?
Alon: Our customers save approximately 25% of their water bills, so the cost of the solution is returned within 24 months and in most cases much faster.
Another source of savings is the prevention of damage from water leaks. These aren't as frequent as water waste, but when it happens the costs can be very high. When you combine the returns from water savings with damage prevention you get to an ROI within less than 12 months.
M&B: What is the biggest challenge you face?
Yaron: Organizations aren't aware of how common this problem is. Sometimes when the system starts detecting water anomalies or overuse a short time after it's installed, customers may be skeptical.
For example, we recently identified a malfunction at a decorative fountain that was wasting $7,000 of water per month. This has been going on for two years! It took us a week to convince the customer that it's real. Obviously after the first incident customers become really good at tracking down issues that come up using WINT.
M&B: What was the biggest lesson you learned developing WINT
Alon: We have been witnessing the need for our product growing beyond social responsibility, as companies realize that conserving water is a win-win situation – making a positive impact on the environment by reducing water waste, as well as saving their business substantial amounts of money by detecting leaks and preventing very costly damage and disruption of their business.
M&B: It seems like this would be great for agriculture as well as building and factories? Who are your target customers?
Yaron: That's very true - food and agriculture are the largest consumers of water, and water waste is a big deal in these industries. That said, being a small company, we need to focus our efforts to ensure we provide our customers the best solution, tailored to their needs. So, we're currently focused on commercial and industrial customers. But, as you point out, there are many more market segments we're hoping to expand to in the near future.
M&B: We know you are new in the US, but do you have any happy customers here yet?
Alon: Yes. I'm happy to see the list of US customers growing rapidly since we entered the US market. One notable customer is the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada. I like to give that example because shortly after the system was installed, the WINT system sent an alert to the hotel staff that there was a pipe burst near the spa. The maintenance staff inspected the area but found nothing. They contacted our command center thinking it was a false alert. It wasn't. The damaged pipe was located behind a wall. The maintenance staff went back to the spa, broke through the wall and saw water gushing out. Since the pipe is located near a drain, it was invisible to anyone on the other side of the wall. That's a great example of the power of WINT.
Going forward, saving water is becoming critical. We love the idea that WINT has developed a solution that is utilizing today's leading-edge technology to solving two of today's biggest problems – water waste and water damage. This is a great example of making a deposit by making a difference! To find out more about WINT Water Intelligence go to www.WINT.ai