Dan Shaver of Real Tech Inc. talks about the trend towards real time monitoring, its multiple applications and benefits, and how it saves money over time.
Todd Schnick: We are coming to you live from Dallas, Texas. This is day one of AWWA ACE 2012 and Water Online Radio. I am your host Todd Schnick, joined by my colleague Todd Youngblood. Todd, we are off and running.
Todd Youngblood: I thought they were going to save the good guests for towards the end of the show but we have one of the superstars.
Todd Schnick: I want to welcome Dan Shaver, who is the VP of Sales with Real Tech. Welcome to the show, Dan.
Dan: Thank you for having me.
Todd Schnick: Thank you for making the time to join us. Before we get started, Dan, will you take a second to tell us about you and your background?
Dan: Sure. Real Tech is a Canadian-based company. We are focused on the analytical side of the business. We deal with monitoring water quality as far as drinking water standards, wastewater effluent quality, and really helping plants to optimize their process by monitoring and taking control of their water testing.
Todd Youngblood: Dan, when I think Real Tech I think North America. Have you guys expanded a little more internationally than that? What is your focus now geographically?
Dan: Predominantly we do a lot in the U.S. market, but really our technology is all over the world. We have sold in 35 different countries. Australia and New Zealand are big markets for us.
We have recently seen a lot of expansion into the European market. We have done some shows over there in the last few years. We are really seeing a takeoff around the world and we are excited about what is going on.
Todd Schnick: Dan, why should people consider Real Tech over the competition?
Dan: We have some core technologies that we have patented, our measurement technique when it comes to monitoring water quality. Those patents actually allow us to optimize the processes. We really take care of a lot of the inefficiencies that come with monitoring water quality that have been present in traditional technologies and parameters. We take those inefficiencies out of the process and we are left with an excellent piece of technology.
Todd Schnick: Dan, I am kind of a bottom line guy here. Talk about how your technology can help folks save money.
Dan: When it comes to the actual treatment process, whether it is UV disinfection, filters, membranes, or coagulation, plants are putting in our technology to really help optimize those treatment processes.
By actually monitoring in real time what their water quality is doing and how it is changing, they can optimize those treatment processes, which results in cost savings — whether its energy cost savings, chemical consumption — really optimizing that process to get the best bang for their buck out of the treatment process and a return on their investment when they buy an instrument from Real Tech.
Todd Schnick: Are there any new products coming to the market? Are you demonstrating anything here at ACE 12?
Dan: Yes. We have a new analyzer that has been on the market recently. We are really trying to push it. It is a spectrum analyzer series which gets into measuring multiple wavelengths for detecting other contaminates — not just organic matter, which we have been focused on in the past — but our new spectrum analyzers really take us to the next level as far as identifying other contaminates and really correlate to some common quality parameters that are out there on the market today.
Todd Youngblood: New products are cool, but new applications are cooler than that. Are there any new applications or talk about the geography; are there different applications that you are using in different parts of the world?
Dan: I think a big reason we are around the municipal market, it has been a big chunk of our market over the last few years. What we are really seeing is that there has been an expansion into the industrial segment. Getting into anywhere that the water is being used or water is being dumped back into the environment, there is a need for real time continuous analysis of water quality.
Getting into the food and beverage industry, looking at ballast water treatment is a big market, semiconductors, really any kind of process control when it comes to using water in a process, we can really take advantage of putting in a piece of technology for that.
Todd Schnick: How are you reaching out to those people? I know all of the municipalities know all about you guys. Some of those other arenas, you are kind of an unknown quantity.
Dan: You have to do a lot of targeted marketing and targeted advertising. Shows like this are a great venue to go out and meet people. A big part of what we do is networking with other companies here who are doing those treatment technologies.
We can meet some excellent partners at shows like this that are getting into those new markets and we can prove our technology to them and they are going to adopt it and bring it to those customers at the same time, which really benefits us.
Todd Schnick: Let’s shift our thinking for a second and go up to 10,000 feet and look at the market in the next 3-5 years. What trends do you see coming down the pike in the industry?
Dan: The trend is really moving towards a real time analysis when it comes to getting your water quality data so it’s not good enough anymore to do those lab tests that are sampling once a day or once a month.
People want to know what is happening now. People want to know when their water quality changes instantly. They want to have technology in there that tells them instantly.
If that is going to result in added costs that it takes to run whatever treatment process that they have in their facility, they want to know immediately when their water quality has been compromised so that they can make a change. Again, it comes back to cost savings.
Todd Schnick: You say real time analysis; that makes my brain leap over and say there is a lot of IT work that needs to be done to collect all of that data and do that analysis to report it. What kind of things are you doing in that arena?
Dan: Our technology works extremely well with a lot of systems that are currently in treatment facilities. Taking our instrument and making it part of a package is something that is very common.
Where our instruments would go into a facility they would tie that into their overall project and the signal and the data that comes from our analyzers would just be built into that treatment process and they basically take the data that comes from our instrument, the signal that comes from there, and they use that to make adjustments on the fly as they need to.
Todd Schnick: Dan, this is a question that is really important to our Water Online audience; what is one or a couple of things that plant operators can do to begin saving money?
Dan: I mentioned this before, but there is this shift in moving away from lab samples or sending out water samples for reporting purposes. There is a real shift to putting in technology for that continuous analysis, that real time data.
With treatment plant operators, I think there is a hesitation to make that investment in technology, but the customers that we have — and we have a lot of amazing references that can speak to this — if they make that investment into technology and say that water quality monitoring, continuous monitoring is important to my facility and I am willing to make that investment, they have to spend 5, 10, or 20 thousand dollars on a piece of technology. What a lot of them don’t realize is that it can actually save them tens of thousands of dollars in the long term.
So it doesn’t take long to pay off a piece of technology, if you are putting it in. We see customers who are paying off an instrument from Real Tech in a few months. Those are some very happy customers and they do a lot for building our brand in the industry.
Todd Youngblood: This is a complex industry to begin with. I am just reflecting back on some of the comments that you have made. We have talked about engineering, IT, finances, there are a lot of moving pieces. How do you deal with these complexities such as the collaboration, the partnering, what kind of things are happening there?
Dan: There are a lot of hands in on every deal. There are the consulting engineers, the treatment guys, and the operators. A lot of it is just getting out there and trying to use the team that we have to build our brand as best as we can. We do a lot of education with the engineering community to try to get them aware of the technology that is out there.
There are a lot of smart people in the industry and they know what it takes to optimize their processes and they just want to look for the best technology that is out there.
They are looking in the best interest of their customer too. We just try to get out there and reach as many people as we can — at shows like this, with more marketing, advertising, or whatever we have.
Todd Schnick: Dan, we are out of time. Before we let you go how can people get in touch with you and where can they learn more about Real Tech?
Dan: www.realtech.ca. We are exhibiting at the show, booth 835. Visit our website — there is a lot of great technology and good case studies and application notes. They can find us on the web and at all of the industry shows; we are usually participating in them.
Todd Schnick: Dan Shaver, VP of Sales at Real Tech, it was great to have you.
Dan: Thanks a lot, guys.
Todd Schnick: That wraps up this segment. On behalf of our guest Dan Shaver, my co-host Todd Youngblood, and all of us at Water Online, I am Todd Schnick. We will be right back with our next guest.