More and more manufacturers of consumer water treatment systems are capitalizing on the benefits of smart technology by equipping their products with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so they can communicate directly with users. This not only promotes more consistent maintenance of filtration systems (and thus raises revenues for suppliers), it also increases the systems’ functionality (and thus consumer satisfaction).
For a long time now, filtration pitchers and faucet-mounted units have incorporated electronic indicators such as colored lights in their designs to signal when a filter should be replaced. Here are three other ways manufacturers are using technology to grab consumer attention:
1. Forgot to Replace Your Water Filter? It’s Already on the Doorstep
A common problem for consumers who own water treatment equipment is remembering when to replace parts (like filters and membranes), and light indicators have only done so much to help. Leading brands Brita and PUR have recently decided it is time to take that feature to the next level.
In February 2016, Brita debuted its Brita Infinity pitcher, which not only tracks water usage via a built-in counter but can also automatically reorder replacement filters through Amazon’s “Dash Replenishment” service when the old one nears capacity.
“That moment of realizing you haven't changed your filter in months, and you don't have one on-hand, is gone,” said Daniel Rausch, Director, Amazon Devices, “a new filter magically appears on a customer's doorstep right when it's needed."
Kaz, the producer of PUR, took note. In December 2016, the company released its PUR Bluetooth Ultimate Faucet Filtration System, a Bluetooth-enabled, faucet-mounted unit that allows users to track water and filter usage from their smartphones.
2. ALERT: Repair Now, or Pay Later
Many water softeners and other water treatment systems typically reside in out-of-sight, out-of-mind locations like utility closets or basements, so issues often go unnoticed. Easy fixes can become costly catastrophes if left unaddressed for too long.
In addition to monitoring water and salt usage, EcoWater’s Wi-Fi-enabled HydroLink Plus system, initially introduced in 2014, runs diagnostics to identify blockages and other system issues like low salt levels, excessive water use, and disruptions to Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, HydroLink Plus can be set up to alert a local EcoWater professional when service is needed.
Similarly, smart water softeners from Culligan and RainSoft allow users to check on their systems and receive alerts in real time from anywhere Wi-Fi is available.
3. All Water Filtration Needs Are Not Created Equal
Increasingly prevalent in consumer water treatment systems, particularly water softeners, are smart features that permit users to customize systems to meet their specific needs. For example, users of RainSoft’s EC5 computerized water conditioning system can alter its settings based on actual water usage, a capability that reduces water, salt, and electricity costs.
Another programmable system is Culligan’s ClearLink PRO, introduced in April 2016, which enables users to wirelessly retrieve reverse osmosis treated water with the touch of a button; the water flows from an under-the-sink unit to the main faucet tap, eliminating the need for the extra faucets and fixtures that are often required with traditional RO systems. And with EcoWater’s HydroLink Plus, users can adjust water flow rates and start regeneration cycles remotely through their smartphones.
Want to Learn More?
Demand for all consumer water treatment systems, including those enabled with sophisticated electronics, is expected to continue to grow. For more information on the units mentioned in this blog and other products, check out The Freedonia Group’s industry study Consumer Water Treatment Systems in the US, which offers:
- historical data and forecasts
- demand for consumer water treatment systems by technology, product type, and region
- analysis of the factors affecting demand
- a breakdown of industry players
- consumer survey research
About the Author
Daniel Debelius is an industry analyst at The Freedonia Group, where he writes industry studies on the US consumer and commercial goods market and the US chemical market.