A bunch of IIT-B graduates are taking social entrepreneurship to the next level. With Faclon Labs — their brainchild for remote monitoring and regulating water resources — they aim to weed out inefficiencies in water management, thereby creating a sustainable solution for utilisation of the water resource.
The startup aims to bring the monitoring and controlling of complex water distribution system of any city, town, housing society and educational institution with the help of a few clicks on its mobile and web apps. “People don’t realise that water scarcity is a big issue. They take water for granted,” said Rishi Sharma, Co-founder Faclon Labs.
Barely an year after graduating from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Ankit Parashar, Archit Naraniwal, Rishi Sharma and Utkarsh Narain Srivastava have put together Internet of Things-based (IoT-based) water management systems that have been deployed in a village (Ganeshpuri) about 100 kilometres away from Mumbai. Besides, Faclon Labs’ end-to-end solution comprising sensors, transmitters and software has also been installed in two hostels at their alma mater IIT-B.
The seeds of the concept were sown a few years ago when the quartet went to Maharashtra’s Parbhani district as part of their educational curriculum at IIT-B.
Sharma said that during the four-month-long project they were appalled by the inefficient or non-existent systems to optimise water distribution in the district.
“The process of generating a schedule for water distribution is very complex. The first step is to map the consumption. In those four months, we couldn’t even do that. Thus, we realised how big a problem it is,” Sharma said. “Even municipal authorities that had the wherewithal to organise water distribution weren’t able to take a decision because they weren’t aware of the possible solutions,” he added.
Faclon Labs realised that the infrastructure for water distribution is age-old and there is a need to make the system dynamic and responsive. Thus, it installed sensors, transmitters, actuators and flow meters in water tanks and existing infrastructure that could normalise water distribution in the district.
Sharma said that an enormous amount of water, energy and man hours can be saved by making water distribution network smart. “The key to scalability is least human interaction. In government systems for water management, there is a big gap between the number of people required and the number of people present.”
The idea of remote water systems management appealed to Mumbai-based startup incubator thinQbate and it decided to take Faclon Labs under its wings. “Water was one of the spaces we were looking at closely. Though social entrepreneurship isn’t as prevalent, there are sectors in it which have immense potential if channelized in the right manner. They (Faclon Labs) are a young team and they’re doing magical things,” said Pranav Marwah, Co-founder of thinQbate.