Geasy is your (and your short-term insurer’s) answer to rising costs
Geysers are responsible for between 30% and 50% of household electricity and are by far the most energy-hungry device in your household. Geysers are also responsible for a considerable amount of household claims from insurers.
The question is: How can your home insurance policy help you save on your monthly electricity bill?
In a world where everything is becoming increasingly technologically driven, disruptions are becoming part and parcel parts of our daily lives – slow internet, load shedding, water restrictions and traffic jams, to name but a few. Whether you are managing your household budget or that of a big short-term insurance company, the basics stay the same: be pro-active and keep costs down.
A Stellenbosch University start-up named BridgIoT, a remote intelligent and control solutions business, develops smart internet-connected devices that track water consumption, detect leaks, and monitors water usage – assisting proactive users in bringing their costs down.
Arno Scholtz, CEO of BridgIoT, says one of their star products is the Geasy (from the word Geyser), a smart geyser controller that is connected to the internet with a cellphone-based (GSM) connection. “Geasy allows for remote heating control and/or scheduling and temperature control through the BridgIoT platform. In doing this, Geasy could drastically decrease the use of electricity in your home – as much as 30%,” said Arno.
“Starting at R 1 750 you can buy this smart solution that could substantially decrease your electricity usage and pay for itself in a matter of months.”
Value-add for the short-term insurance client
For short-term insurers, keeping costs down through pro-active measures is a priority. It requires out-of-the-box strategies to improve their claims management without sacrificing quality customer service.
Arno says Geyser-related claims constitutes a considerable part of a short-term insurer’s total claim portfolio. Call it Murphy’s law, but geysers burst at the most inconvenient times – in the middle of the night when you are asleep or when you are at work. By the time you can attend to this household tsunami, your geyser claim is now no longer a single line item – it had become a claim for new floors, cupboards, ceilings and the odd piece of furniture or electronics that were also underwater. A typical nightmare-claim for any insurer.
“Short-term insurers, however, can turn this disaster into an opportunity by rewarding its policyholders. By offering a smart geyser controller (such as the Geasy) as a value-add service to a policyholder. The insurer installs technology that will reduce their risk and costs while adding significant convenience value and financial savings for the homeowner, allowing the homeowner to amortise some, if not all, of the cost of their insurance” says Arno.
“Insuretech partnerships is one of the most significant trends in the insurance industry. Insurers need to ensure they can deliver tangible and highly differentiated value propositions to the already cash-strapped customer, while achieving greater operational efficiencies simultaneously,” said Arno.
Make a difference
“In 2013 ESKOM estimated that there are about 5,4 million geysers in the country, which is responsible for a load of approximately 2,940MW (similar to the usage of Durban). As our controller is cloud connected and controlled from a central point, one could use all of these geysers as a sort of hot-water battery, heating when energy is in surplus and preventing unnecessary heating during peak times. Typically, geysers have around 3kW elements, which means ~16 000MW could potentially be managed on the platform. For each stage of load shedding, ESKOM sheds an additional 1 000MW off of the national grid. Thus, for each stage, ±330 000 geysers need to be managed in order to mitigate load shedding, in practise a number larger than this will be required. It does make for quite an exciting moonshot though,” explains Arno.
Arno says by investing in energy and water-saving devices; we can all make a difference in lowering the overall carbon footprint and become more energy efficient. “By lowering your electricity usage, it may have the larger societal impact of reducing strain on the struggling ESKOM grid. By switching off your geyser during peak periods is one of the most effective ways to reduce pressure on the national grid.”
Take it easy!
Geasy is one of the products BridgIoT markets under TechITEZ (pronounced tech it easy), which provides turn-key solutions for business-to-business clients in the insurance industry wanting to provide value-added service to their clients.
Where it all started
Prof Thinus Booysen and his team of students at Stellenbosch University’s Electrical Engineering Department started working on BridgIoT’s technology back in 2010. Innovus, SU’s university-industry interaction and innovation company, registered BridgIoT in 2015. The company was the culmination of years of research conducted by Prof Booysen and has since then found its incubating home at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University’s LaunchLab.
Apart from Geasy, BridgIoT’s offering also includes the Dropula, which is a wireless water meter that detects bursts and monitors water usage. Dropula water meters work by transmitting consumption data to a user-friendly internet application, and notifying users of any unexpected usage patterns via SMS and email.
BridgIoT installed 350 Dropula water meters at schools in the Western Cape as part of the #SmartWaterMeterChallenge, a Shoprite initiative in 2017. This challenge resulted in an estimated 720-million-litre saving (about 2% of the Steenbras Dam) valued at ±R50 million over two years. This money is now available to be spent elsewhere.
Another product, their Sigfox Flooding Sensor, sends an alarm via SMS and email to you when your home is flooded by a burts pipe, leaking connection or act of god when you are not home. This device is a small set-and-forget device which can last up to ten years.
If you want to know more about the Geasy or any of TechITEZ’s B2B solutions, go to www.techitez.co.za or contact email@example.com. For consumers who are interested in Geasy, which can be installed along with new geyser installations or retrofitted to existing geysers, an electrician and/or plumber are needed to install the controller. To read more about BridgIoT and its products, go to www.bridgiot.co.za or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826