Ensuring water quality through machine learning.
The adventure of co-founders Naysan Saran and Nicolas Fortin St-Gelais began in 2017 when they participated in the AquaHacking Challenge. The competition aimed to develop solutions for sustainable water management. Much to their surprise, CANN Forecast won the challenge, which marked the beginning of what started as a trial to become a full fledged startup.
Poor water quality and infrastructure management have a direct impact on the health, quality of life and activities of citizens. New technologies such as artificial intelligence can greatly help municipalities in their strategic decision-making. However, managers who want to innovate face several major obstacles: lack of expertise in artificial intelligence, lack of time and lack of budget, even if the necessary data are often available within the city.
CANN Forecast works with city managers, currently providing solutions to two water related crises. The first being that traditional laboratory processing methods for water quality require 24 hours for completion, consequently beaches are closed too late, already exposing swimmers to waterborne diseases.
The second crisis is that it is estimated that 850 water main breaks occur in North America everyday, wasting 2 trillion gallons of water every year, for a total repair cost of over $3 billion per year.
Currently CANN provides two solutions addressing the water-related cises stated above: 1) InteliSwim is an innovative predictive model that leverages machine learning, to reliably predict the concentration of Escherichia coli density in urban watersheds. CANN provides clients with real-time beach advisories and help identify the source of contamination, to avoid such situations early on; 2) InteliPipes, is an AI-based algorithm that can be trained with the water network data of most municipalities to help them identify at-risk pipes before they break. In doing so, InteliPipes helps reduce water waste and the associated rehabilitation costs.
“Building and scaling a startup in watch-tech is very rewarding because it allows us to develop solutions that have a positive impact on the environment.” – Naysan Saran, Co-founder and CEO, CANN Forecast.
CANN Forecast is now working with 10 cities in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, as well as Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.
The founders surrounded themselves with a team of experts in programming, computer science, mathematics and water quality. A dozen people work for CANN Forecast, and more hires are planned in the short term. The Government of Canada provided 50K in funding as part of the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions Fast Forward Challenge.