At a time when almost every object is endowed with a connection, to present a connected water meter would not beg extraordinary if it is not the immense ambitions which it arouses for Telaqua. This young start-up is dreaming of turning into an international water database, solving one of the most important environmental challenges in the world.
Even if it has some roots in Grenoble and Paris, Telaqua is above all a Marseille’s start-up. It is hosted by KEDGE (one of its three founders being a KEDGE alumni) since August at the KEDGE Accelerator Daniel Carasso , a brand new richly equipped space hosting project creators in the heart of the Calanques. A space that is really worth visiting and which I will have the opportunity to present soon.
What Telaqua offers is a connected meters and sensors’ service able to detect leaks and, more broadly, all the misuses of water. This is a colossal challenge, between pharaonic water losses in major cities (15% in Marseille, 20% in Paris, etc.) and conflicts around the world around a precious and poorly managed resource. Initially, the company had targeted the agricultural market. Aided by the dual French-Chilean nationality of its CTO, it went international from the beginning. Its first POC was indeed installed in Chile, at a farmer facing problems of monitoring.
» We made the choice to focus on drip irrigation » explained Sebastien Demech, their CEO. » With this type of irrigation, if the inlet pressure is not good, the plants do not get the same amount of water. To properly evaluate it, we created our own water meter, which measures everything in real time. We then found a partner with ARDEPI [a Southern France regional agency in charge of irrigation]. It allowed us to test our solution in an experimental arboreal station in Mallemort « .
LoRa and Sigfox
In terms of technologies, the connected meter uses LoRa today, LoRa and Sigfox tomorrow. Both standard technologies of the Internet of Things that make a quick installation possible. According to Telaqua, all you need is an iPhone and a barcode to set up a meter.
Once the work in the agricultural world started, the Telaqua team wondered if the product developed for one market could not be used on another market. And so got interested in the real estate market, which quickly proved compatible. Telaqua offers a service for building managers, allowing them to detect fraud and leaks. A continuous flow over more than 6 hours generates an alert that can indicate where the leak occurs, including in common areas.
Tested in Marseille
This service is currently being tested in a residence in Marseille. Already, the start-up plans many evolutions: « modest » ones, when it comes to setting up an e-commerce site to sell these sensors or to provide building managers with software to manage appointments for the installation of connected meters; and others more consistent, based on big data, as connected objects means collected data. » We will get more and more accurate data on water consumption; once we have enough, they will have a market value, we can sell statistics. Coming back to irrigation, we could offer machine learning or also combine our data with other instruments, such as weather sensors « .
Before building this global water base, Telaqua has more immediate projects. First of all, finishing structuring the company and starting, at the end of January, to sell officially its products and services. Then complete its financing, now constituted of state aid, but open tomorrow to interested investors.
[Version française: Telaqua colmate les fuites]