Image | Ôasys
Water, one of nature’s primary elements, is an asset for the First World that has drifted into the background. The Catalonia-based startup Ôasys seeks a newfound recognition of water’s central role in life with this interactive panel, which, in the context of the Internet of Things, will reconnect the whole family with this precious commodity. Blai Carandell, CEO of Ôasys, explains to us how and why the idea for this project arose.
How did the idea for Ôasys come about?
Ôasys was born at the Imagine Creativity Center in San Fancisco, in July of 2014. This is a program in which four sponsors present four challenges, and twelve people, grouped in teams of three, propose a solution to the challenges posed. At that time one of the challenges was water, and the solution proposed was Ôasys. The idea was so well received that it was decided to select three program participants to move forward with the project.
What role did Aqualogy play in the process?
Aqualogy was the company that launched the challenge. They sent Catalina Balseiro, Aqualogy’s project manager for innovation, who served on the initial team that helped to flesh out and develop part of the idea that is now Ôasys.
How did you work water’s challenge to finally transform it into the project’s cornerstone?
Water-supplying companies do not have a relationship with their customers, except for the sending of a bill at the end of the month, or an occasional call in the event of a leak. Thus, Aqualogy posed the challenge of altering this relationship. At Imagine the challenge was readdressed, and it was concluded that the absence of a relationship is due to the fact that we are not aware of water’s presence. Why do we hide pipes behind walls? Why don’t we see water in our homes, when it is an essential source of life? This is why the initial focus of the project was on water.
Once the company was established, like every startup we began to test the market, and we thought it would be a very good idea to expand Ôasys’s functions and turn it into a home device. Today all devices are individual and are used to communicate with people outside the home. We believe that there has to be a space to interconnect family members, and, at the same time, connect them to their home, in such a way that all those living it can become engaged in its management in general – and water consumption in particular. An Ôasys, for example, could “reward” a family with green lights if it detects that it is consuming in a responsible way.
One of Ôasys’s slogans is “feel the water”. Why do you believe that we fail to do this today?
Today we don’t have a relationship with water because we have all the water we need. We turn the faucet and it comes out, in abundance, which makes us forget about how important it is.
How does Ôasys work in a connected house? What features does it have, and how does a family benefit from it?
A home’s connected devices today can only communicate with individuals. For example, wireless speakers can now be connected to individual mobiles or tablets. Plant sensors send information to one’s personal email account, which is usually private. This makes it difficult to engage the whole family in the connection of these devices, since we do not share our mobiles or passwords with the rest of our family members. So, we believe that a very important component is missing, a central hub that serves to manage everything related to the home. This is the role which Ôasys seeks to play.
What are the technical requirements to install an Ôasys panel at home?
Ôasys only requires an Internet connection and a visible location in the home. After this the connection with the sensors is very easy, as Ôasys is pre-programmed for it.
Right now you are participating in Startupbootcamp’s IoT & Big Data acceleration program. How is this program helping you to make progress on this project?
The Startupbootcamp program is a demanding acceleration program with a long list of highly experienced mentors possessing very good judgment. It has helped us, and is helping us, to bolster the value we offer the end user, so as to make Ôasys a big success.
What is the future of Ôasys?
We have tested the device with families and the results have been surprising. Now we want to expand the experience to access a broader market, so we are going to launch a Kickstarter campaign in early April 2015. We are also creating a community of people interested in changing communications in the home: in order to participate, you only have to sign up on our website at oasys.io.