“Will I get water today?” – well, that’s precisely a lot of Indians ask everyday and frankly, there is no predictability with a basic need like this.
NextDrop provides households with accurate and timely information about local piped water delivery, over cell phones already widely in use in India. This information comes from water utility employees who call NextDrop’s interactive voice response system when they open valves to distribute water.
These reports are used to generate real-time water availability updates and notifications 30-60 minutes in advance of water delivery. In addition, NextDrop uses crowd-sourcing to verify the accuracy of utility reports and create a feedback loop, introducing much needed visibility for engineers in the water utility.
How NextDrop Works
- Valvemen: Utility employees in the field use their cell phones to call NextDrop’s interactive voice response system when they open neighborhood valves and “feeder valves” which must be manually opened to enable local water delivery. These reports are used to generate text message updates for local residents and live data on water delivery outcomes for engineers at the utility.
- Engineers : Updates from valvemen are turned into streaming visual data for utility engineers, using a web-based dashboard that leverages Google Maps. Using this tool, engineers are able to track the status of valves throughout the city in real-time.
- Residents : Residents receive SMS updates 30-60 minutes prior to water delivery and in real-time indicating that water is available through the piped network.
Today, NextDrop won $375,000 worth of funding in a contest organized by Knight Foundation media innovation, which further reinforces the opportunity that they have at hand .
» Technology meets utility – we hope such ventures inspire geeks to build more ‘useful’ services than pure web2.0 products. What’s your take?