Software apps and online services
Hand tools and fabrication machines
Despite just meeting at the hackathon, the experience was nonetheless incredible and mind-blowing. We thoroughly enjoyed working with each other and efficiently taking advantage of each others the strengths and experiences. Because of the diversity of our skill sets, we found that the tasks were naturally divided amongst the members. We had a shared vision and never broke a stride in reaching our goals. We were very pleased and very thankful we found each other and this project. Thank you for checking out our project! - We are A TEAM!
Excessive drought conditions have caused the lowest levels of water in Lake Mead, the source of water for cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. If current rates and environmental conditions continue, it is estimated that Las Vegas will run out of water in 2021.
One of the driest cities in the world has been guilty of having one of the highest usages of water per capita in the country. After agriculture and landscaping, the largest usage of water in Las Vegas is commercial use. Therefore, one of the biggest opportunities Las Vegas has is improving the attitude that consumers have towards water usage during hotel visits.
Hotels often see rates of 150-200 gallons of water per occupied room per day with the cost anywhere from $2 to $5 per 1000 gallons of water. Studies have shown that these rates are often inflated due to lack of accountability and awareness of average consumption.
By deploying smart water meters, commercial entities such as hotels often see a decrease of 5% of water consumption due to leak detection and smarter maintenance cycles. Any solution involving smarter water usage requires effective dashboard displays and more efficient communication between the building management leadership, the building maintenance staff, as well as the consumers about the system integrity.
What is often neglected is including the consumer into the water conservation initiative in a creative and enjoyable manner. By installing a feedback device that allows peer-to-peer comparison, the guests can be incentivized to decrease their water consumption in a friendly manner. Having a lower water usage report than your peers allows for social and economic bragging rights as well as the potential for more monetary rewards from the hotel from the lower hotel utility costs.
Overtime, the culture of water consumption awareness would become more widespread and we see the potential for a 20% reduction of water usage in hotels.
- Guest - The guest is able to participate with the hotel's efforts for a more water sustainable business. Through education and peer-to-peer comparisons, the user is incentivized the improve their water usage habits.
- Hotel Manager - An end to end solution is provided to hotel managers to see what the status is of their hotel on a room by room basis. They will be alerted if the system begins to read results that are abnormally high. It could be the case that a leak is causing the illusion of much greater usage.
- Maintenance - The workflow of maintenance will be improved due to intelligent prioritizing and providing better logistic solutions for workers.
The hardware aspect of this project involves a Raspberry Pi device connected to an LED display on a Sensor Hat Chip that can show emotion in relation to the level of water usage as compared to the average water usage of comparable peers. The Raspberry Pi is connected to the cloud in order to respond to events coming from external IoT sensors.
As a water flow meter reaches enough pulses to indicate a high usage of water, the LED display changes to show less pleasing emotions, shifting from happy-face, straight-faced, and then sad-face.
For our simulation, we used the joystick feature on the Sensor Hat in order to send data to the cloud in order to then be read and responded to by the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi - IoT device used to interact directly with the consumer by controlling an LED device that real-time displayed a smiley face with an emotion depending on the status of a counter.
Raspberry Pi Sensor Hat - LED display with a variety of sensors and I/O features.
Alexa Echo Dot - Acted as voice user interface to create the hands-free interaction with guests and hotel managers.
Water Flow Meter - Water Flow Meter Flowmeter Hall Flow Sensor indicator counter
In addition to the hardware, an equally important aspect of the project was the software developed. We used a cloud solution for a variety of IoT functions. Using a joystick to simulate impulse coming from a flow meter, we were able to monitor all of the motion that was done.
We decided that an adequate time interval to push the value of the joystick was approximately 10 minutes. The software we produced was able to push the data to the cloud where it could be accessed by any other device we wanted.
In addition, we had intelligence built into the cloud that was able to determine whether certain thresholds were reached in order to show different emotions on the LED display on the Raspberry Pi.
As far Alexa skills, the important functions dealt with user education on water management and labor force management. The skills created are able to process in incoming query from the customer about the status of the water usage and give tips. The other skill was able to give the building manager insights into the status of his building and take action by alerting maintenance crews of upcoming work. The maintenance crews were notified via text message using a Twilio solution.
AWS IoT Platform - Acted as the message broker exchanging the messages between the sensors, the devices and the cloud service.
Alexa Voice Skill - Interpreting guest and building manager requests through hands-free interfaces.
IBM BlueMix - Will be used with AI service to allow for more natural language processing and predictive abilities in relation to maintenance cycles.
iMovie - Editing Demo Video
Database - Will be used on the next iteration to start building baseline data for which the system will use to calculate average usage.
In order to show the economic viability of the project, we broke down the costs and revenue streams to calculate how long an investor would need to wait until he got a full return on his investment.
After going through the analysis, we found that it would the required time to break even is approximately 14 months.
Breaking down the hardware costs on a room by room basis gives the following values:
$50 for the raspberry pi or micro-controller, $5 pulse counter water metering, and $100 for labor costs. The total thus comes to $155/room.
Using a benchmark for a similar situation, the cloud computing fees are estimated to come out to about about $200 / hotel / month based on the rate and scope of row insertion.
On a per day per room basis, this comes out to about $0.03/day/room.
Based on conservative studies on the usage of water in the Las Vegas area, one can estimate that an individual room can use up to 250 gallons per day. Anticipating that water costs are going to trend up, one can estimate that the cost of water can reach rates of up to $8/1000 gallons. Therefore, the cost of water used by a room per day is estimated to be $2.
By incorporating more efficient water infrastructure maintenance, more conscientious housekeeping, and much greater guest participation through awareness, we are optimistic in estimating approximately a 20% decrease in water usage. This drop in water usage amounts to savings of about $0.40 per day per room.
Incorporating ongoing cloud costs and extrapolating over a period of a month, the total savings are approximately $11 per month.
Keeping in mind the $155 initial investment, the break-even time period is 14.09 months.
The calculations are available upon request for further investigations.
The global smart water metering market was valued at USD 3.73 Billion in 2015, and is expected to grow at a rate of 7.23% from 2016 to 2021. Factors such as increasing focus towards reducing non-revenue water, retrofitting of aging water infrastructure, and the need for accurate billing are driving the market worldwide.
Calliope - Focusing on providing dashboards for residential uses based on sensors at all key water usage points such as faucets, dishwashers, washing machines, and sprinklers.
Opower - Providing analysis and peer-to-peer comparison for residential electrical use.
kamstrup - Smart Grid solutions, smart meter procurement, meter reading solutions
In order to finalize our minimum viable product, we have identified key areas that we will complete once the hackathon is over.
In order to have a more intelligent and interactive dashboard, we would need to connect it to the same cloud source to compliment the information given by the Raspberry Pi and the Alexa assistant.
Having an organized database solution is important in order to store and later query the data being produced by the IoT devices.
After we have a live model, the next step would be to introduce predictive modeling from IBM BlueMix. The predictive modeling would be important for better labor and repair management.