Wednesday, May 7, 2008

DBLive Team Talks about Solving the Landscape Irrigation Water Waste Problem in the U.S.

Chris Eckhoff and Tom Fairey of DBLive talk about saving a huge amount of water in the U.S. with their predictive landscape irrigation control technology, and give their fast pitch.

What is your offering?

DBLive has a technology that enables its Irrigation Decision Device (IDD) which retrofits existing irrigation controllers and reduces water use by predicting future soil moisture based on 31 current and forecasted environmental variables such as precipitation, soil type, wind conditions, cloud cover etc.

What do you have that is unique?

Automated, global, point weather forecast. It enables weather-aware devices. For years weather forecasts have been given to people, but now we have them going directly to devices so the devices can make decisions about the future without human intervention.

There are five levels of technology in our software engine, each building on the one before. Together they represent a significant barrier to replication by our competitors.

1-Automatic, global, weather-forecast engine
2-Point forecasts for the actual latitude and longitude
3-Scaled up to more than 70 on-demand five-day forecasts per second
4-Ability to overlay weather forecast layers on any electronic map
5-Point-forecastfor soil moisture

You can see a demo of the Point Forecast technology at It presents a Google map that lets you find your target point anywhere in the world. Move or zoom the map and left click on any point to receive a five-day weather forecast for that point.

What is your target market?

Our primary target market is the 25 million home sprinkler systems in the top 100 metropolitan areas of the U.S., and it is addressed through water distributors like major city utilities and municipal utility districts.

What is the hardware unit?

It’s called the Irrigation Decision Device (IDD) and can be installed on existing irrigation system controllers in ten minutes. The unit makes a decision each day whether to allow or suppress the irrigation system’s watering schedule using a small amount of proprietary data broadcast via satellite or FM wireless from our data center.

Are you in pilot tests?

For more than two years. We completed tests at Southwestern University where we did a 4.5 month side by side comparison with an industry standard “ET Smart” irrigation system and our solution saved over 43% against that system. We did pilot tests at Sun City in Georgetown and we saved 83% of their usage, a number higher than usual because of an unusual amount of rain last spring, and the fact that they don’t adjust their water usage based on current or forecasted weather.

What about the city of Austin?

The city of Austin has adopted 20 strategies to build, over ten years, to a 10% peak day water savings at a cost of $1.14 per peak-day gallon. They are uncertain about the ultimate success of some of these strategies. If Austin mounted a rebate strategy on DBLive’s IDD, it would save the same 10% at a cost of only $0.44/peak-day gallon. That’s a huge cost savings. Austin is still giving away toilets. The IDD would save 4 -5x what a toilet exchange saves. The staff of Austin’s water utility worked hard to identify and obtain council approval for their 20 strategies, and they are not anxious to revisit the issue. The elected officials are concerned that we need to save more water and are beginning to understand that an IDD rebate program could produce the desired savings at one third the cost of the 20 adopted strategies.

How many units have you sold so far?

In addition to those purchased by Southwestern University, Harris County Water Control and Improvement District #132 has bought 50 units to start installing in the 264 residential sprinkler systems in their district. We have only received our first production units from our out-sourced manufacturer this month. Eleven more MUDs have added the IDD to their list of conservation devices approved for existing rebate programs.

What’s the biggest issue?

The sales cycle to large cities is slow. They can take up to 2 years to make a purchase decisions. There are more than 400 Municipal Utility Districts in Harris and Montgomery Counties alone (Houston area). They have much shorter sales cycles, and they are our first adopters.

How much does each unit sell for?

$125 per unit in quantity. The IDD’s installed cost is comparable to that of rain accumulators, which are required by law in 15 states, and for which there are established rebate programs. The professionally installed cost of an IDD is comparable to that of a rain accumulator.

Can we hear your FastPitch?

DBLive has the ingredients to become a $300M company:
1) A team of achievers: diverse, experienced, and determined to make it happen,

2) A breakthrough technology with significant barriers to competitors. A complex technology, but such a simple first product that the man on the street understands it in seconds,

3) A market exceeding $3 Billion,

4) A plan to make it happen,

5) An exciting, green product. The population is growing like bacteria but the water supply is static. The best way to make supplies last is effective water conservation.

In two years of testing, this device has saved no less than 40% of water used by expensive competitor systems.

It retrofits existing sprinkler controllers, forecasts soil moisture, and suppresses watering if there are wet conditions ahead.

Its $125 price fits city rebate programs, enables wide spread adoption.

It’s already manufactured and sold.

The public is ready for this green product – and this green company.

Come and join the fun

Best regards,
Hall T.

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