(Image source: Electric Imp.)
Manufacturers continue to develop products with Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities relevant to property insurers. Liberty Pumps’ (Bergen, N.Y.) new NightEye product line, based on Electric Imp’s (Los Altos, Calif.) IoT platform is an example. NightEye, which has been released in the U.S. and Canada, creates and automates alarms concerning rising fluid levels in sump, sewage and effluent pump applications, expanding further the value of IoT in increasingly Intelligent Buildings.
“When we think about how the IoT can bring change to the insurance industry, sump pumps are not typically the first thing that thought that comes to mind,” comments Donald Light, Director of analyst firm Celent’s (Boston) North America Property/Casualty Practice. “However, water damage is a major cause of loss for homeowners and commercial property insurance. And a properly functioning sump pump is a first line of defense.”
Smart Insurers Will Provide Incentives to Install Smart Pumps
“A smarter sump pump can play an important role in loss prevention and loss mitigation,” Light insists. “Smart insurers will provide incentives to smart policyholders to install smart sump pumps.”
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates flood insurance claims in the US exceed $3.5 billion annually. A significant portion of those losses are due to storm surge or flood plain backup as well as failures of pumps, pipes, drains, and sewer fittings. Liberty Pump says that NightEye monitors fluid levels and alerts customers when levels rise, helping to minimize costly repairs, health hazards and property losses. The vendor describes NightEye as an intelligent liquid pump monitoring and alarm system that works without subscription or service fees. Following a free app download, building owners can install and monitor multiple locations where NightEye control/alarm units are deployed, through a common interface.
“We knew Wi-Fi-enabled monitoring and push notifications on mobile phones would be valued by our customers, but have been pleasantly surprised by just how popular the NightEye launch has been,” comments Randy Waldron, VP, Sales and Marketing, Liberty Pumps. “We have built a reputation as being an innovative leader in our industry. The NightEye alarm is our first step into a bigger world of IoT- connected products.”
Mechanical infrastructure, such pumps and plumbing that may operate for decades unnoticed, are often left out of the equation when people talk about smart or intelligent buildings, according to Oliver Hutaff, CFO/COO, Electric Imp. “But the great response to Liberty Pumps’ NightEye product illustrates just how powerful IoT can be at all levels. IoT done right can reliably collect massive amounts of data and drive smart actions that cut losses, improve service and deliver to manufacturers new and highly valuable insights into their products.”
Bringing IoT expertise to Capture Pump Usage Data
Liberty Pumps touts the value of real-time data, given that customer pump usage can vary greatly. For example, many customer’s pumps may run every 30 seconds while others only operate a few times per year, a vendor statement relates. Liberty Pumps turned to Electric Imp to supply the system and software expertise required to capture real-world details of machine use and performance through IoT, according to the statement.
“Creating an IoT-connected product was definitely outside our comfort zone,” comments Caleb Peterson, Design Engineer, Liberty Pumps. “We excel at making mechanical pumps that work for decades under extreme conditions. To get into electronics and software and then deliver a great, secure product within a 12-month period is something to be proud of. Electric Imp’s platform made that fast time to market possible through IoT connectivity that is simple to deploy while also making it so much easier for consumers to use.”