Flo Technologies


Location:

Culver City, California

Application:

Smart home water monitoring system

Key Challenge:

  • Reliable bi-directional communication
  • Real-time data transfer with low overhead and latency

Results:

  • Resilient real-time IoT communication for alerts, diagnostics, and actions
  • 24/7 data monitoring to detect water leaks of all sizes
  • Remote and automatic control of water supply

Flo Technologies Uses HiveMQ’s Real-time Data Delivery to Prevent Water Damage

Flo Technologies is a Los Angeles-based IoT start-up that protects homes and businesses from water damage and waste caused by leaks and plumbing failures. They use HiveMQ in their smart water monitoring and leak protection technology. This innovative IoT solution prevents loss, conserves valuable resources, and guarantees peace of mind for Flo customers.

"Our mission is to help homeowners prevent water loss and damage, one drip at a time."

Gabriel Halimi, CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that household leaks in the US alone amount to more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually. That’s enough water to supply the household needs of LA, Chicago, and Miami for an entire year. Most of this waste is attributed to preventable leaks and plumbing failures. Backed by Moen, one of the largest water fixture makers in the US, Flo Technologies offers customers integrated products that work together to provide modern water damage protection. HiveMQ provides the fast, reliable, bi-directional device-to-cloud communication that around the clock protection requires.

Selecting the Right Protocol, Platform, and People

Flo Technologies began building its products in 2015 and one of the first decisions they made was to use the MQTT messaging protocol. HTTP was ruled out because it is not real-time and required pulling data rather than pushing data and responding to events. MQTT was an IoT optimized protocol and provided the publish/subscribe architecture they needed to build a responsive, event-driven solution.

When it came to selecting an MQTT solution, Flo compared big names as well as open-source options. The decision to go with HiveMQ was based on several key points:

  • Professional support and rapid response (particularly in the initial planning phase).
  • Flexible plugin architecture that gave Flo engineers complete freedom to create connections to backend services.
  • Full support of the MQTT protocol within a high-quality stable product.
  • Proper security with support for client certificates straight out of the box.

HiveMQ support is incredible. It took me almost a month to get a response from the other enterprise MQTT broker vendor whereas Christian (HiveMQ’s CEO) and I jumped into a call within a few days. When you are a startup, you need support, especially in the early days while you are figuring out what you are going to do. HiveMQ delivered the support we needed.” Cihan Ucar, CTO, Flo Technologies

Achieving a Reliable Real-time Bi-directional Communication Pipeline

The core elements of the Flo by Moen Smart Home Water Security System are the Smart Water Shut Off and the Smart Water Detector. Flo implements real-time communication with HiveMQ to proactively monitor the integrity of the entire water system and stream real-time data to the cloud. The Smart Water Shut Off installs on the main water supply line and continuously monitors pressure, flow rate, and temperature. Smart Water Detectors can be placed anywhere that is particularly vulnerable to leaks such as water heaters or toilets. Flo captures events from the Flo by Moen Smart Water Shut Off devices and uses HiveMQ to route data to and from the cloud. Behind the scenes, machine learning and artificial intelligence technology are used to monitor water use and determine whether there are leaks. The system is so accurate that it can identify anomalies as small as one drop per minute.

Plumbing hasn’t changed for generations. Cars have become intelligent, even our toasters are smarter. Yet, one of the most vital parts of our home, the water system, is as dumb as it was two hundred years ago! I set out with my son to solve that.” Henry Halimi, Inventor, and Co-Founder of Flo Technologies

Creating a resilient scalable system was the main challenge Flo Technologies faced. They needed the most efficient and fastest way possible to transfer data and they needed to ensure that they would never miss any messages. HiveMQ’s high-availability clustering technology supplies reliable real-time data and bi-directional MQTT communication Flo needs to stay up to date at all times. When data from a device indicates an issue, customers receive real-time notifications within seconds and can decide what they want to do. In urgent situations, to protect a customer’s house from water damage, Flo can even send an automatic message through HiveMQ to immediately turn off the water. In situations where water damage can mount quickly, extremely fast and reliable messaging is crucial. Flo counts on HiveMQ’s low latency to keep their customers protected. Together with HiveMQ, Flo provides intelligent water monitoring and water damage protection for commercial customers and B2B customers throughout North America US and Canada.

At Flo, we value strong partnerships that last a long time and look for companies that help each other. From the beginning, people at HiveMQ were extremely helpful and we believe we have created a successful partnership by helping both companies grow over the course of years. HiveMQ support has been amazing since day one; which helped us tremendously to create a stable, resilient, and secure product.” Cihan Ucar, CTO, Flo Technologies

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