“The KETOS platform utilizes robotics with several advancements in cross-functional engineering disciplines to provide continuous real- water quality data at your fingertips. Users can access the system anytime and anywhere,” says Meena Sankaran, founder and chief executive officer at KETOS. The California-based company has designed a fully integrated solution for remote, on-demand and on-site water analysis. The technology has major potential for the greenhouse and vertical farming industry where water quality can make the difference between a healthy crop, conserving millions of gallons of water with reuse and one suffering nutrient imbalances or pathogen transmission.
The KETOS solution is a comprehensive hardware and software solution. The hardware is installed alongside the irrigation system to analyze the quality of water coming into the facility (i.e., municipal or well water) and leaving the production area. The software platform allows users to analyze real-time and historical data, schedule tests, generate reports, set alerts and use predictive analytics.
“Looking at the current state of the industry in terms of water quality analysis, everything depends on labs and manual assessments. Growers spend a lot of money for lab tests and wait for 8-10 days for results, depending on where you are, which makes it a static, labor-intensive and reactive process,” says Meena.
30+ parameters in the palm of your hand
In 2017, KETOS began by analysing three parameters. In March 2022, the KETOS solution can analyze 33 parameters. By 2023, that number will be 38. The 33 parameters currently integrated include environmentals (e.g., TDS, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, ORP), inorganics (e.g., alkalinity, fluoride, hardness), heavy metals and nutrients. In the pipeline are potassium, nickel and potentially microbial parameters.
However, users do not need to test all of these parameters every time. Rather, they can select which parameters to analyze. Also, users have the “consistent monitoring” option for the environmental parameters which allows them to collect data every minute. All other tests are scheduled, with the frequency chosen by the user. As Meena explains, KETOS’ clients in the vertical farming space analyze their water quality an average of once a day, with many opting for 15-60 minute intervals on select parameters.
“I initially thought that our industrial clients would be the highest frequency users, but our indoor farming clients have everyone beat. They change nutrient solutions often, and labs can’t keep up with them,” says Meena. “Also, using KETOS helps them save water by facilitating effective dosing and reducing the need to dump all of their water.”
KETOS present a “transformative business model”
Aside from bringing water quality analytics and results onsite, KETOS has also revolutionized the traditional lab testing pricing model by doing away with per-test pricing. Instead, KETOS adopts a $0 capex model wherein company only charges an annual service fee which includes:
- 24/7 monitoring
- Flexible Testing across 30+ parameters
- Data warehousing
- Actionable analytics
- Interoperable with 3rd party systems
- Integration of 3rd party data
- Unlimited user licenses
- Unlimited testing frequency
This subscription-based service model helps with the adoption of KETOS’ technology and makes it accessible to a wide range of growers.
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