The Choice to Lead w/Emilio Vargas

Emilio Vargas is interviewed on the podcast show Shaping Freedom. In this podcast host, Lisane Basquiat talks to inspirational leaders that will teach you how to create the change you want so you are empowered to author a life story you love to read.

The quality of the world that we live in is a compilation of the choices we make on a day to day basis.  These are often based on what we believe about ourselves and how we perceive the experiences that we are presented with. Today on the podcast, retired Army Colonel Emilio Vargas shares a fascinating process of decision-making that has taken him on a journey through military and corporate leadership to co-founding Intellecy, an organization that develops smart home technologies to monitor, manage, and reduce water waste.

WATER EFFICIENCY: The Key to a Sustainable Future

by Emilio Vargas II
Every March the EPA promotes “Fix-a-Leak Week” to raise awareness throughout the nation. Household leaks waste 1 trillion gallons of water annually, nationwide. To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent to the annual water consumption of the households in San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston, and San Antonio combined.

If that’s not enough to convince you that leaks are more than a once a year problem, consider that 40 out of 50 states expect a water shortage in the next 10 years. Even thoughCalifornia is officially free of drought after more than sevenyears, we don’t know how long we’ll be drought free.

If you were one of the 40% of U.S. households that filed awater leak insurance claim last year, you know all about theinconvenience and the financial hit. Whether or not you’vediscovered a water leak, most people in North County are wondering why their water bills are so high. Unfortunately, many leaks go undetected for years because the source of the leak is not visible. Research shows that the typical home loses 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water annually from leaks.

Almost every leak starts small, and many remain unnoticed until a pipe bursts. Obviously, a pipe burst is very noticeable if you’re home. If you’re not home, your household goods and irreplaceable keepsakes can get ruined, and depending on the extent of the damage, you may be forced to move out during repairs.

There is a solution in water conservation. Water conservation is the least expensive source of new water supply per cubic meter. In Westminster, CO, residents avoided a 91% rate increase through water conservation.

How much money you save will be determined by how diligent you are. Check your home for leaks at least twice a year. Start by turning off all your water outlets. Don’t forget to shut off your refrigerator ice maker, your irrigation system, and any other automatic water outlets. Next, check your water meter. None of the dials should be moving, and if any are, even slowly, you have a water leak. Before you hire a plumber, it’s important to note that plumbers check for leaks visually,just like you do. If you can’t find your leak, chances are yourplumber won’t be able to either. Instead, try a leak detection professional, who uses ultrasonic or thermal graphic devicesto find hidden water leaks. Once they’ve found your water leak, you can hire a qualified licensed plumber to fix the leak.

To prevent leaks, keep your water pressure at 80 PSI or lower, even if this pressure is lower than code allows. Weak points such as joints and older pipes are at greater risk of leaking when water pressure is too high. If you don’t have a pressure reducing valve (PRV), it’s important to get one installed, as some water utilities deliver water at pressures exceeding 150PSI. At almost twice the recommended pressure for pipes, it’s only a matter of time before yours bursts.

Consider using smart technology to notify you of a leak in progress. Some available options include placing moisture sensors under appliances and sinks, and placing a whole home detection system at your water supply line. The most advanced systems shut off your water when leaks are detected.

Water conservation not only makes sense financially, it’s arelatively quick way to avoid a potential catastrophic crisis in the coming years. If every American reduced their current water consumption by 25%, our country would save 2.8 trillion gallons of water annually.

Originally published in the July/ August 2019 issue of E.P.I.C. Empowering People, Inspiring Community Conscious Living Magazine

Military & Veteran Appreciation Discount

The Military and Veteran Appreciation Discount is for ALL US Active, Reserve and National Guard Military and Veterans.

We want to demonstrate our appreciation to you by offering you a $100 Military and Veteran Appreciation Discount. We want all of you to understand that we appreciate your service.

How can you take advantage of this

  1. Just send us an email requesting your discount code from your .mil account.
  2. If you do not have a .mil email then email us a copy of your LES, DD214, or VA ID card.
    Note: if sending us an ID, LES, or 214 please blacken out your Social Security Number and any other personal information. We will safeguard your email and will not use it for anything else.

We will send you the Military and Veteran Appreciation Discount code via email.

Send your email to sales@intellecy.com to receive the discount code. 

With the highest respect and sincere appreciation,

Emilio Vargas II
Veteran
Intellecy CEO & cofounder

Intellecy Featured on Forbes: “Plumbing Sensor That Listens For Leaks Can Pre-empt Emergencies, Conserve Water”

By Heather L. Whitley, Senior Writer and Digital Producer, Forbes

People waste it and fight over it, while globally more than 840 million still struggle to even get access to it.

BluView detects when these signals fluctuate and alerts homeowners of potential leaks via their smartphones.

BluView detects when these signals fluctuate and alerts homeowners of potential leaks via their smartphones. ISTOCK

In the United States, 40 of the country’s 50 states are expected to suffer water shortages by 2023. Meanwhile, household leaks are wasting 900 billion gallons of water annually nationwide.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that entrepreneurs like Emilio Vargas II, president and CEO of San Diego-based Intellecy, Inc., are developing new smart home technologies to monitor, manage and reduce water use.

“Our thought was to come out with a product that was environmentally friendly and environmentally conscious,” Vargas explained. “It would help people change their behaviors by providing them with real-time data on how much water they are using, wasting or consuming.”

Getting A Clear View

By the end of 2016, Intellecy had developed its first prototype of BluView, a sensor that fits onto a water pipe. The system’s water manager continuously measures and monitors water flow based on the sounds and energy signals that are created when water moves through pipes and faucets.

BluView detects when these signals fluctuate and alerts homeowners of potential leaks via their smartphones. The sensor is like having a video camera all around the home to guard against intruders.

The BlueView app that’s being developed by Intellecy would allow users to compare water use to conservation goals.

The BluView app that’s being developed by Intellecy would allow users to compare water use to conservation goals. BLUVIEW

“We’re watching every single corner of your plumbing for a leak,” Vargas said.

Confident in the product’s abilities, Intellecy launched a campaign for BluView on Kickstarter. Although the company fell short of meeting its financial goals, Vargas said the online platform provided some useful insight.

“We learned so much from all the people who were asking us questions about our product,” Vargas recalled. “The overwhelming interest was, ‘You guys can find a leak, and now you’re going to tell me I have a leak. Why can’t you just add something to turn off the water?’”

Based on that feedback, the Intellecy team went back to the drawing board and added a motorized water valve to the BluView system, which allows customers to remotely turn off their water from their smartphones if a leak is detected. Early testing has proved successful, and Vargas said the updated product is expected to go to market early next year.

In addition to protecting against leaks, BluView addresses the larger issue of water management and conservation, Vargas noted. The real-time data provided to homeowners quantifies water-use patterns, so they can adjust their habits and reduce consumption.

“I think that’s a much bigger benefit for our country and globally,” he said.

Tech As Part Of The Team

Staying on task and managing the development of a new product would not be possible without technology, according to Vargas. From basic communication and collaboration tools to cloud-based, computer-aided design platforms, these programs allow Intellecy to run efficiently and effectively, he said.

“We have one person working about 80 miles away out of his home office,” Vargas said. “And when he designs stuff, we can see it almost instantaneously on our end as if we were looking over his shoulder.”

To track the development cycle of BluView, Intellecy uses product roadmap software that Vargas said is the perfect way to capture and prioritize customer requests and comments.

“It really does save time. It improves communication. It creates a record and really keeps us organized,” he said. “And I think it really has allowed us to do a lot of stuff with fewer people. So, it actually becomes part of our team.”

Intellecy has been accepted to three incubators that focus on water conservation, blue technology and smart home solutions. Vargas said the exposure has garnered interest in Intellecy’s technology from city governments and water utilities as well as businesses in which water plays an integral role, such as breweries and bottling companies.

But no matter where the company’s path may lead, Vargas said he will continue to embrace new software and technologies that will boost the efficiency of his small business.

Originally published August 17, 2018 on Forbes.  Original article>>

The Story: ‘Why the Product’

I’ve been asked several times, “Why / How did you come up with BluView?”  The quick answer is because I’ve experienced 3 major water leaks throughout my life. Each time, I was out of the house when the leak occurred so you can imagine how bad the damage was. All three times, I questioned why there wasn’t a way for me to be made aware of the leak. So as you can imagine, the development of BluView is personal.

I wanted a solution that would “see” the water leak early and let me know about it quickly. At least early and quickly enough to protect my house the widespread damage. Because I was out of the house, the water ran and ran (and ran) until I came home to find a big and expensive mess.

One time, my neighbor called me hysterically to let me know that water was flowing from under the front door. You can image how that call made me feel. Luckily I had a relative who lived nearby and was able to come over to shut off my water main. Needless to say, I came home to lots of damage. My wood floors were warped, the carpeting was a giant soon-to-be-moldy wet sponge and all my wooden furniture was trashed. 

The second water leak happened while out doing some Christmas shopping. I was out all day shopping and getting in a real festive holiday mood. Unfortunately that mood quickly changed when I got home to the worst Christmas present ever…an inch of water on the bathroom floor that had also spread to the two adjacent bedrooms.

The last one was not so eventful. After a long day of work, I came home intenting to enjoy a good meal and relax while watching a ballgame on TV. Instead when I got home, I ended up looking for towels, buckets and mops because a pipe in my kitchen had burst. I then spent the next two hours cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. The end of my day was capped off by indigestion and watching the ballgame highlights on the news.

There are countless numbers of water leak stories like mine where people have lost furniture, electronics, clothing and those priceless pictures, keepsakes and heirlooms.

My mishaps led me to search for a solution that would have prevented the unpleasant messes and expensive losses. I only found moisture contact sensors. I saw that these sensors work very well but only do part of the job. To be effective, they to be placed at the “correct” spot to come in contact with the water. I thought that these limited systems were better than nothing. But because 95% of the plumbing is hidden in the wall, I knew something was missing. 

I had previously worked at a technology company that used sensors to detect problems with machinery and motors. I hypothesized that we could apply that technology as the foundation to detect water. I met with some former colleagues and we were a go.

I want to remind you that BluView is more than just a water leak detection device. 

The second reason for developing the product is in response to water scarcity and high water bills. About 1/3 of the earth’s population does not have access to clean drinking water. The bottom line is clean drinking water is not guaranteed. I believe we should all do our part to save our most precious resource, water!

We need to stop wasting water and BluView will help you do that. BluView’s water management tools will help you manage your water use, reduce your water consumption and lower your bill.

Water leaks and the inability to manage water use is what has driven both Joost and I to produce the Intellecy BluView.

Our product, BluView, detects and stops water leaks early. But equally important, it’ll help the homeowner set, monitor and act on reducing their water footprint to save water and save money. 

I am proud of our team and what we have created. It will help me to never have to deal with the messes, damages and losses that I had previously dealt with. It makes me even more proud to know of all the homes we protect and all the millions of gallons that will be saved.

Emilio Vargas II
Intellecy CEO

 

Learn about Fix a Leak Week

The Intellecy Smart Water Management System pays for itself

One of the key features of the BluView Smart Water Management System is its ability to detect a leak and stop the leak early.

Did you know that the average water leak insurance claim is approximately $9,000. Almost 1 in 2 homes (a bit over 40% to be clear) have had an insurance claim because of a water leak. Every day there are over 14,000 claims made for water leaks. With homes getting older and the rush to finish new homes faster, water damage has become the most frequent cause of insurance claims.  

Cause of Loss (2014) % of  claims
Water Damage 34%
Wind 27%
Fire 26%
Theft 2.5%

Source:   Insurance Information Institute

Plumbing fails for 3 reasons:

  1. joints fail because of poor workmanship
  2. fluctuating water pressure weaken joints and stress pipe walls
  3. water disinfectants and particles degrade the pipe.

Smart water meter pays for itself because of a leak like this

Water is very destructive. Leaks damage your property, destroy your memories and can affect your health by causing mold (and stress).

An equally important benefit that BluView delivers is water savings. Prices for drinking water have been continually increasing. Increasing demand for water and increasing maintenance costs of water infrastructure are the cause. With water prices steadily increasing at an average of 6%, the need to reduce water use and save is ever present. BluView’s water saving features can help you save between 10% and 20% on water. The real time water management helps you monitor your use closely and see when you are wasting and overusing water. 

BluView helps you save

Thus BluView is a smart water management system that pays for itself in two ways:

  1. when it catches and stops your leak early;
  2. when it helps track how well you are doing at conserving water and reducing your water waste.

Sources:   USGS, USA Today,  Circle of Blue

written by:
Emilio Vargas II