For utilities that haven’t yet adopted a traditional advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system, upgrading to today’s technology can be costly and time-consuming. New Current member, Water Pigeon, offers a disarmingly simple yet disruptive approach to how utilities monitor water use: replace the lid of the meter box. That’s it.
Water Pigeon’s optical AMI technology is embedded inside a water meter lid, so a utility can simply replace the lid to easily, quickly, and affordably upgrade to automatic water meter monitoring – without replacing the meter or building a new data collection network.
Here’s how it works: the camera in the lid takes an image of the meter and uses optical character recognition technology to convert the image to data, which is then sent to the cloud via cellular network. Water Pigeon’s live analytics dashboard allows the utility to remotely monitor and manage its flock of Water Pigeons to schedule when meters are read.
“Our focus is to drive better decisions through the power of water usage information by creating an opportunity for utilities who have yet to adopt a traditional AMI system,” said Water Pigeon co-founder and CEO Sarp Sekeroglu, PE. “Water Pigeon enables utilities to upgrade their metering system ten times faster and at a third of the cost. This simple improvement leads to valuable usage data that improve operations and save money through better leak detection, reduced labor costs and energy savings. There’s an incredible economic benefit for the utility.”
In 2015, Sarp’s wife surprised him with tickets to Startup San Diego, where he gave a brief mock pitch on a very early idea for an optical meter reading technology that could change the way utilities upgrade their AMI. By simply changing the lid instead of the entire system, utilities could reduce the time and expense of a major AMI deployment. In the middle of a record-breaking drought in Southern California, the pitch got a lot of attention from the crowd. Sarp’s pitch won second place, and – more significantly - he found Water Pigeon’s co-founder, Clay Melugin, in the audience that day. Or rather, Clay found him, contacting Sarp after the pitch to learn more. Clay brought 30 years of experience bringing new products and technology to market at industry leading companies - Intel, Infineon, Sony, Emerson, Motorola and several start-ups.
Together, they launched Water Pigeon in 2016 and entered the EvoNexus incubator. A critical connection was made with San Diego County Water Authority that saw Water Pigeon as an innovation they wanted to try. Soon, Water Pigeon had pilot projects with multiple utilities.
With successful pilots now complete, Water Pigeon is taking its product to market. Today, Water Pigeon is deployed on meters in confined spaces, meters that are hard-to-access, meters needing high resolution data and even on construction meters along with residential meters reporting on a daily basis, empowering utilities and water service companies with data.
“We’re excited to partner with Current to help us gain market acceptance and greater visibility,” said Sarp. “We are at a stage where we need more traction and funding and access to Current’s network of potential partners from tech firms, to consulting companies, utilities and investors. gives us the platform we need to speed our time to market.”
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