FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Where can I buy BridgIoT's products?
A: Please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +27 (0)21 201 6939.
Q: Is there a BridgIoT app for iOS or Android?
A: We offer a cross-platform app in the form of a web-app, which can be found at app.bridgiot.co.za.
Q: Does BridgIoT supply prepaid water-metering?
A: No, BridgIoT does not supply prepaid water-metering devices. Our solutions are currently suitable only for monitoring and billing. More information can be found here.
Q: What products does BridgIoT sell?
A: BridgIoT’s aim is to enable the internet-of-things revolution. We plan to do this through being able to take any edge device that you may have online, in order to give you access to your data via the cloud. As such, we sell enabling devices — the communication modules — required to take edge sensors online. In order to supply high-quality service we do also, in some cases, procure the required edge devices for your needs if necessary.
We cannot, however, place any warranty on third-party hardware and we advise that you procure the necessary edge devices yourself, whereafter our solutions can be installed to facilitate communication with the cloud. Some of the applications of our technology can be seen here in more detail.
Q: What is IoT?
A: IoT is an acronym for the Internet-of-things. IoT can be described as a network of devices (e.g. vehicles, appliances, mobile phones, and anything that has internet connectivity) which allows ‘things’ to connect, interact and exchange data.
Q: Is there coverage for your communication devices in my area?
A: We prefer to use the Sigfox network, for which a local (RSA) coverage map can be seen here or an international coverage map can be seen here. The Sigfox network has good coverage of all urban areas in South Africa, and in areas where Sigfox has not yet rolled out, we prefer to use GSM communication (specifically for our GEASY device) which has countrywide coverage.
Q: What is Dropula?
A: Dropula is the name of BridgIoT’s communication module which provides an IoT solution for water meter connectivity to the cloud. More information can be found here.
Q: Is Dropula available for home use?
Q: Is my water meter compatible?
A: If your water meter is pulse-capable or is a wireless smart-water-meter, chances are good that we will be able to interface with it. Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly assist in determining if your meter is compatible or not. Send us an image and/or make and model of the meter that you are interested in monitoring and we will do our best to assist.
Q: Are BridgIoT's devices suitable for billing purposes?
A: Some edge devices, such as the ultrasonic smart-water-meters are suitable for billing purposes. However, most pulse-capable devices on the market are , in our opinion, not suitable for billing purposes, as we’ve seen that these devices can have inaccuracies of around 20 % in some cases.
Q: What is Geasy?
Q: Why must I pay a service fee and why is it worth it?
The Geasy allows for scheduling and temperature control, which enables you to save on heating requirements (~18% and ~7% respectively). This was proven through research conducted here at Stellenbosch University.
Say your normal usage, just for the geyser, is 150 kWh per month, which equates to ~R300 per month. You could save ~25% of that using the controller, putting you at a saving of ~R75 pm and still R25 in the green (with a monthly subscription of R50). Additionally, there’s the major benefit of having leak detection, which could save you much more in terms of the cost of water, heating and consequential losses (damage resulting from the water leakage).
Consider one of our users, Tim, who’d gone on vacation for 4 weeks in December. He has a Geasy installed but left his geyser on and the valve open (which he could’ve closed and turned off from the start, but in this true case, he’d done neither).
A leak was detected in the geyser’s drip tray by the device. The water meter reported a leak at a rate of 30L/min (or ~2kL/h) and — due to the constant loss — the geyser element would’ve continued to heat at 3 kW per hour (incurring electricity costs of ~R6/hour).
Tim got an SMS and email alert from the BridgIoT system to which he was able to swiftly react. He then used the Geasy — which is accessible anywhere on Earth with an internet connection — to close the valve via the web app — significantly limiting water loss and resultant damage (possibly totalling in excess of R100k). Furthermore, he could also turn off the heating element of the geyser to prevent unnecessary electricity usage and damage to the heating element from overheating and oxidation (~R300).
If Tim had returned home only 4 weeks later, as planned, he would’ve been welcomed by a small disaster and potentially the following estimated losses:
- 1 209 600 litres of water lost over 4 weeks = ~R85 000 @ R70/kL (combined water and sewage rate in CPT; likely less in other parts of the country)
~R6/hr for water heating over 4 weeks = ~R4 000 worth of electricity
- Flooded home, flooring, electronics, structural damage, ceiling, etc. = R20 000 – R200 000 (estimate)
- >R300 to replace the heating element
- Leaving us with an estimated total of at least R109 300.
One could argue that the Geasy system had just paid for itself for the next 2186 months (182 years), making it safe to say that the above only needs to happen once in a lifetime to make it well worth it for any end-user.
Mercifully, the above scenario isn’t guaranteed to happen to you, but consider the tremendous advantage of having such a valuable emergency tool at your fingertips and that it’s effectively not going to be costing you money at the end of the month. In fact, in most cases, you’ll be saving or breaking even — unlike, for example, a subscription to a popular streaming service which will always cost you R99 pm (if not R139, for the HD option).
And, while the streaming service just provides entertainment, the Geasy’s analytics will not only occupy you with interesting data but potentially lead to behavioural improvement, as well. Almost all end-users tend to become less wasteful and more conscious of their usage once they’ve seen how much they use and what it’s costing them. Such behavioural improvement, although also contributing to the monthly savings, is much more difficult to quantify and highly user-dependent.
Q: Does the Geasy device connect to WiFi or does it only use GSM?
A: The unit uses GSM to connect. We have some plans to develop a WiFi capable unit.
Q: What can I do with the unit without a subscription?
A: Essentially nothing. Your device will be unlinked from the device, preventing access to its control panel and data. The SIM providing internet access to the device will be discontinued putting the controller into ‘always-on’ heating mode. Unless you have a solar thermal geyser in which case it would continue to power the pump based on the temperature differential it sees between the geyser and the solar geyser.