How can businesses eliminate water damage with the world’s first water leak detection tape, Severn WLD, from LAIIER?

LAIIER water leak detection
Matt Johnson about water leak detection with LAIIER

Matt Johnson, the CEO and co-founder of LAIIER and creator of the world’s first water leak detection tape, Severn WLD, discusses how businesses can eliminate water damage. Read on to discover the innovative smart tech that can save you over £1 million in losses from water leak damage.

I’m passionate about the potential for smart materials and how IoT can transform the built environment. That’s why I founded LAIIER. Born out of my realisation that to be sustainable, you need to make buildings inherently smart, it’s our mission to not only mitigate costs associated with water leakage – but to monitor our most precious resource, water.

Water damage was on our radar because of its potential to cripple any business, whether you run a large data centre, a commercial gym or a block of flats. Water leaks can cost businesses thousands – if not millions. In the UK alone, insurance companies fork out over £1B each year due to water damage claims.

But the current water leak detection solutions weren’t cutting it. So, we got to work.

Assembling a team of interdisciplinary experts, we created Severn WLD, the world’s first water leak detection tape. Our wafer-thin smart sensors (AKA ‘tapes’) can be easily installed and seamlessly connected to the cloud. As they fit where other solutions can’t, they’re the ultimate solution for continuous water leak monitoring. Luckily, we’re very excited to be working with OKdo as our manufacturing and distribution partner to bring scalable smart tapes to the masses. You can read our press release here.

Could your company save thousands by adopting smart tape tech?

Most leaks are six-figure events. Some can even reach seven figures. For example, if you have a large commercial building or a big block of flats with a failure on the top floor, a water escape event can cause you millions of dollars worth of damage.

We recently worked with an educational facility which had a frozen sprinkler which resulted in around $200K of damage.

The costs attributed to water leaks fall into three distinct categories:

  1. Insurance costs – although insurance companies can cover some of the costs, that doesn’t mean that your business will escape unscathed. Many pay thousands in excesses.
  2. Business interruption – if a server is taken out by a leak, the whole office grinds to a halt. If escaped water makes its way to precious stock, this can be ruined in an instant. As well as the cost of this disruption being hard to pinpoint, these claims are not covered by insurance.
  3. Water and environmental impact – as well as increasing water bills for businesses, these kinds of events impact the environment. If your flooring is ruined, you can claim on your insurance – but what about the environmental impact of new, replacement material being created? This is something to which we’re becoming much more attuned, and this sort of wastefulness will soon become as abhorrent as littering.

Smart tapes are the future of water leak detection

The need for smart leak detection systems was reinforced by Covid-19 and the mass exodus of people in commercial buildings.

Buildings that were once a hub of activity lay empty. This human absence meant that water leaks went undetected. Toilets, fridges and pipes leaked, and nobody was there to notice.

Even when people started returning to commercial spaces, the benefits of smart water leak detection were obvious. Rather than having facilities managers patrolling buildings, many businesses saw the potential efficiency savings. By using smart leak detection systems, facilities managers can make better use of their time without needing to manually inspect buildings.

As it stands, buildings are not inherently ‘smart’. When we build new premises, there’s an underlying assumption of some intelligence but it’s normally retrospectively fitted. For example, when we construct buildings, we often use a ‘dumb’ shell and add smart nubs onto the structure. But it’s much more elegant if we transform the building itself into a sensor.

Matt Johnson about water leak detection with LAIIER

That transformation is going to be as revolutionary as the iPhone. Before the iPhone launched, we had the Blackberry, which was the market leader with a qwerty keyboard and buttons aplenty. Then, when the iPhone came out, we moved to just a screen. Now, when we refer to our handheld mobile devices, we don’t refer to them as ‘smartphones’ – the ‘smart’ part is implied.

The same is predicted to happen with buildings. Rather than fitting smart skins onto ‘dumb’ structures, what if the entire building was the sensor? We wouldn’t need to call our buildings ‘smart buildings’ – this would be implied.

How smart skins provide a better water leak detection solution

After developing relationships with insurance partners and businesses who saw the escape of water events go undetected, we created Severn WLD, the first smart tape water leakage detector.

As this revolutionary tape is so thin, flexible and easy to install, it provides a real solution for the continuous monitoring of water leaks. But it’s more than that. We like to refer to it as skin.

Why? Because skin can be stretched over a large area at a low cost, meaning that all leaks can be detected and dealt with at the source.

What makes Severn WLD the ultimate water leak detector?

It eliminates false positives

Traditional water leak detection systems can’t be customised. To use the analogy of a smoke alarm, water leak detection systems are either so sensitive that they go off every time that you make toast or not sensitive enough to alert you to a genuine fire. If it’s too sensitive, you get huge issues with false positives. These exhaust staff who must traipse across huge commercial buildings and campuses, just to discover that there is no leak. But if alarms are constantly going off for non-leaks, there’s a real risk that actual leaks will be missed.

Severn WLD can be customised based on the type of building in which it’s installed.

This means that it can service a huge number of industries and buildings. For example, a data centre must be bone-dry, to keep servers from harm, so these sensors must be highly sensitive. This is a very different requirement to that of a commercial gym’s sauna, so it’s only right that they have differing levels of sensitivity.

Both scenarios need to be protected from leaks but require very different solutions.

It’s non binary: no more guessing the size of the leak

Most systems are binary – they tell you if there is or isn’t a leak. They can’t tell you what size the leak is. So, if you have multiple alarms going off, how do you know which one to prioritise? You might spend your time looking into a leak that’s a few drops of water while a whole floor is flooded in a different part of the building.

Not only will Severn WLD tell you if there is a leak but the smart skin will tell you the size of the leak.

This means that you can rely on your systems to detect leaks and respond to them early, limiting their impact and cost.

Smart tapes: water savings, operational efficiency and cost reduction by the metre (or foot)

When the structure of buildings is smart, connecting all your systems – not just water leak detection – becomes simple. With this approach, the capabilities are endless.

If you’re concerned about leakage and the impact escape of water incidents could have on your business, we want to hear from you. Get in touch with OKdo to learn about smart leak detection tech and how you can harness the power of IoT to mitigate the real risks associated with water leakage.

Learn more about how OKdo can support your industry with smart IoT solutions here.

Matt Johnson, the CEO of LAIIER

Learn more about Matt Johnson:

Matt Johnson studied Economics at Colorado College before going on to earn a MA in Industrial Design at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. He then went on to become the co-founder and CEO of Bare Conductive, the first consumer-facing printed electronics prototyping platform. In 2021, Matt founded LAIIER and created the world’s first water leak detection tape, Severn WLD.

Curious to learn more about LAIIER?

Discover how OKdo and LAIIER can help you ensure your buildings are safe from water leak damage.

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