Guest Post by Hubber Margo Bailey from UNAGB
George Demosthenous, CEO of VODA.ai, was used to hearing about leaking pipes and expensive repairs. Before co-founding VODA.ai he worked for a water metering company and listened to client complaints about leaks, breaks, and the money wasted in replacing good pipes early to pre-empt leaks and breaks. Demosthenous knew there was a better solution to this problem–previous prediction methods didn’t consider all the variables that led to pipe deterioration–and he wanted to create a better predictive tool.
It was not until later when he met his co-founder, Jim Fitchett, in a Harvard innovation course that the idea started to take root. Jim had previously led a company in the health sector using predictive algorithms that could foresee things like heart attacks and strokes. Fitchett thought the same thing could be used for pipes. Together they built a talented team and created VODA.ai’s signature predictive engine, daVinci, that pulls together a variety of variables to predict pipe breaks before they happen.
His company, VODA.ai has been based out of Impact Hub Boston for over two years now and works around the world, including the U.S., Israel, Ecuador, the U.K. Argentina, and Peru.
Can you explain VODA.ai’s value proposition for businesses and for society? For businesses, our technology is three times more effective in predicting pipe breaks because we consider metrics like pipe age, location, depth, size, weather, soil, seismic activity and much more. This leads to great savings for the governments and businesses we work for. Our clients also benefit from the reduction in greenhouse gases since it takes a lot of energy to process water.
In addition to the reduction in greenhouse gas, our technology simply makes more clean water accessible to people. This technology could be used to save more than half of the clean water lost in pipe leaks and breaks around the world. If you are living through a drought in California or trying to get clean water in Turkey, the water savings is tremendously valuable.
There are many targets within SDG 6, which of them do you focus on? Our work most closely relates to the following Sustainable Development Goal Targets:
- 6.1. By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
- 6.4. By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
- 6.A. By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programs, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
What is your second-favorite SDG and why? SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure because piping infrastructure is key in supporting clean water and sanitation.
Any calls to action? How can our readers make your work more impactful? We need to share with more people how technology can be harnessed in these unique ways. AI leads to efficiencies that can help us save time and natural resources… and that will be critical as we face the current climate crisis.