Sutro’s device has changed a lot since the company appeared as a contestant in our Hardware Battlefield way back in 2015. But who hasn’t, really? The startup happened to be in town as TechCrunch paid a visit to SSV’s Shenzhen headquarters. Turns out it’s a good place to be six weeks ahead of your product’s commercial launch. There are always plenty of kinks to be ironed out ahead of product, after all.
The heart of the product is the same, of course: a floating connected device that can continually measure the chlorine, pH and other levels of a pool’s content. The final version of the device, however, is cylindrical, with, thankfully, fewer wires hanging out than the previous version. Honestly, it looks a bit like a floating travel mug.
With a new production partner announced way back at CES in January, the company says it’s now six weeks away from shipping the product for those who purchase it directly through the startup’s site. Some point soon, it will also make the device available through pool stores and other online channels. For now, however, it’s direct purchase only.
At $699, the device isn’t cheap. Though the Bay Area-based startup believes that the nuisance of regularly monitoring pools will be enough to convince those with deep pockets to take the plunge, sop to speak. And the company’s already seen a fair amount of interest from potential customers since it started talking up the product nearly half a decade back.
A planned second version of the device will make things even more convenient, with plans to add a system for releasing chemicals into the water in order to automatically regulate the water’s make up. That bit certainly sounds appealing if a ways off.
Hardware is just the first step for the company, though. Sutro believes that with enough devices out in the real world, it can create useful datasets for water quality. While plenty of monitoring systems exist for reservoirs and aqueducts, a lot can happen on the way to the hose or faucet. Flint is, sadly, a recent example of this, as river water corroded aging pipes, causing lead to enter the water supply.
The company plans to use data from this and future products to build what it deems a “water genome,” offering rich information on water quality across the world.
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