According to UNICEF, less than 50% of India's population has access to safely managed drinking water, and the impact of waterborne diseases costs the country's economy approximately US$600 million a year.
With this in mind, local tech startup RefillBot has teamed up with Arrow Electronics’ IoT Open Lab to develop a Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solution aimed at improving access to clean water in Indian villages.
Using advanced sensing and IoT technologies that allow real-time 24/7 water quality monitoring, the new RMM platform has been successfully rolled out across 100 villages in India's Karnataka state in just four months.
RefillBot's RMM platform simplifies and enhances the operation and maintenance of water purification plants in India's underserved areas.
"Remote monitoring and management is a game changer for many industrial applications, especially water purification in remote village locations, where meeting essential daily needs is a constant challenge," said Savitri Patil, co-founder and CEO of RefillBot.
He added: “With the support of the Arrow and STPI IoT Open Lab and RefillBot's comprehensive understanding of IIOT, this new RMM offering has the potential to make a real and immediate difference to the lives of millions of people and create positive, long-term economic and health development outcomes for India's underserved as it rolls out."
RefillBot used the IoT Open Lab's equipment to test and verify its boards, and consulted and collaborated with Arrow on system design and the selection of cutting-edge components. Arrow engineers and technical experts provided insight and recommendations to help RefillBot bring the solution to life, including:
- Wireless module design: Developing a wireless module to communicate in real-time over mobile networks to help ensure access to cloud servers.
- Smart sensors and data analytics enabling 24x7 always-on operation: With modest wireless network connectivity requirements, ranging from basic 2G up to fast 4G LTE, the RMM uses sensors embedded in dispensing systems, water filters, and switches to capture and communicate critical operational, consumption and quality details.
- Boosting antenna signal at remote locations: Formulating an LTE external antenna strategy to ensure optimum coverage in low signal areas without the need for extensive field testing.
- Rapid prototyping: Arranging quick shipment of development kits and evaluation boards, which enabled RefillBot to experiment with data handling, I/O system design, and build a scalable solution during the pandemic.
- Fast go-to-market: Providing the IoT Open Lab environment and equipment required for extensive RMM evaluation, GSM antenna tuning, and EMF (Electromagnetic Field) and signal testing.
Founded in 2019 by Savitri Patil, RefillBot develops and delivers plug-and-play, IIoT-grade monitoring and management for municipal utilities, as well as industrial applications like HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning), asset monitoring and availability tracking in remote locations.
Bhartendu Mishra, Arrow Electronics' general manager of sales for India, said they are constantly seeking ways to make it easier for innovators to create, make and manage the technology of the future.
“Collaborations, like the Arrow and STPI IoT Open Lab in India, are part of our long-term commitment to giving local start-ups and innovators access to world-class engineering expertise and resources. We are proud to be playing a role in RefillBot's innovation journey and supporting its goal of developing a solution to address one of the most pressing community challenges – helping ensure reliable access to clean water,” he said.
Equipped with advanced engineering equipment and testing modules, the IoT Open Lab has assisted the start-up community from the region in their idea-to-prototype-to-product innovation journey. Arrow's experienced vertical segment experts and engineers with expertise in areas of embedded computing, sensing, connectivity and system integration are on site to provide professional advice to these innovators and makers.