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Quantify specializes in efficiency and waste reduction in the manufacturing industry through the ability to measure and interpret data on a large scale, regarding the use of water, and various other environmental resources. This data is retrieved with monitors and collected using the Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT), which is then used to derive various statistics with respect to resources in a production plant. Quantify’s innovation is evidently seen to drive solutions to the United Nations SDGs, more specifically referring to goals numbered 6, 7, 9, and 14.
Dave Fox and Quantify have set out to tackle two interrelated Sustainable Development Goals that face businesses and the resources they use. Manufacturing firms use and sometimes waste a great deal of resources through their operations. Quantify’s innovation - their hardware & software data collection equipment - allows companies to optimize their resource use, cutting down on their environmental footprint, and the costs associated with it.
The problem Quantify is solving is a lack of transparency into manufacturing plants. Managers don’t currently have a way of monitoring their equipment - to know if it’s working too hard, using too much water, or on the verge of disrepair. With the monitors set up on the physical machines in the plant, they send performance data on a wide variety of metrics: temperature, vibration, pressure, flow, etc. This data is compiled and stored in an easily accessible platform where managers can analyze it to see how they can improve their operations.
The benefit to this innovation is two-fold. For one, it lowers the operating costs to businesses who can use the Quantify technology to reduce their utilities. As well, it reduces their environmental impact, aiding in the climate effort. Due to the vast number of stakeholders affected by each of these benefits - it’s tough to measure Quantify’s exact impact on making the world a better place.
The primary UN SDG that Quantify addresses is “industry, innovation, and infrastructure” – the hardware and software that Quantify offers to businesses uses new
technology and the Internet of Things to reduce resource intake to only what they need. By doing this, Quantify also impacts SDG 7 “affordable and clean energy”, SDG 6 “clean water and sanitation”, and SDG 14 “life below water” by helping businesses reduce the use of natural gas and, in turn, pollute less.
Throughout his past work experience, Dave noticed three significant factors that all played a role in the creation of Quantify Environmental. He had witnessed how Canadian manufacturing companies have been losing to competition due to their dated processes and technology. What contributes to this issue is how many organizations are not using resources such as electricity, utilities, and natural gas as efficiently as they could. As we see today, this overuse has an extensive negative impact on our environment. Additionally, he has seen how sustainability projects to fix these types of issues are not typically the type to engage employees and have them want to take part. In an effort to address all of these issues at once, Dave created Quantify Environmental to promote effective and sustainable use of resources, and in turn, saving money for the client. This would allow companies to regain their competitive edge by using new technology to monitor their utility use and save money on wasted resources. In our interview, Dave discussed this as closing a market gap, saying “there is a very big lack of [the Internet of Things] in the industrial space, so that’s where we started Quantify. Basically, we knew the service was needed, and there was a big market gap for it, so the only way to fill a market gap is to start a company and start offering that service.” Reducing their resource usage or finding ways to reuse them will also help the planet by only taking what is needed, and nothing more. This process can also be gamified by delivering the collected data in a way that is easy for employees to access and understand. During our interview, Dave gave examples of ways that competitions can be introduced to motivate employees to contribute to energy saving: “if you have a hotdog plant in Saskatoon and a hotdog plant in Toronto, let’s have them compete against each other. Why is one more efficient than the other? The only way you can have them compete is if you’re comparing apples to apples, and so if they’re looking at the same data sets, that is something we can do.” Not only would this increase participation in Dave’s vision, but he said it also would positively affect the wellbeing of the workforce by adding a new and enjoyable aspect of healthy competition to their everyday work life.
To begin, the overall impact of the innovation in the short term is that Quantify can deploy IoT sensors which allows clients to feel empowered. It creates unique opportunities for the client allowing them to be aware of critical data. Overall, employee wellbeing at the client is positively influenced through an indirect way. Employees in supervisor and management roles will be conscious of the data collected via the installed sensors, and the critical information can trickle down to the frontline employees. In other words, it allows the team to focus on day-to-day operations and not be consumed by the critical inputs and outputs where the sensors are equipped. This falls under a short-term effect.
Moreover, Quantify’s technological innovations can help employee productivity. It allows productivity to be maximized via the data that can be made accessible in alerts. This allows any issues that could potentially arise to be resolved as early as possible; thus, it can regulate productivity in an advantageous way. Because of the connectedness provided by Quantify, businesses can minimize resources (both time and money) spent that would normally be unexpected. This would be accomplished by leveraging Quantify’s innovations. This easily creates new services that were not present before which is a definitive impact of the innovation. Resources (including time and money) will be saved both in the short and long term, but more significant savings will likely be noticed the longer the client has these sensors equipped. Finally, the longer a business has these onsite measurements and observations, the better in the long term they can be because of this continued recognition.
Because Quantify incorporates real-time data through the power of IoT (Internet-of-things) devices, Quantify possesses a beneficial innovation for the company itself. Quantify helps create a whole new market which was not in existence before. This is amazing because it allows for other companies like Quantify to enter the market which will overall improve the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals mentioned later in this story.
Quantify also creates several products and services with their operations. According to Dave, Quantify offers three different parts to the product: the hardware/software (via the Internet of Things), installation/integration, and project management/consultation based on the data. These products all go back to the original innovation discussed in this story, and it enables Quantify to continue its operations with its existing client base through the usage of project management and consultation.
Thus, the innovation demonstrates a direct benefit to Quantify through enabling other business ventures.
The innovation also allows Quantify to partner with other companies who have similar innovations in nature. As David suggested, there are companies out there that specialize in what specific area. It is ideal for Quantify to partner with those businesses because it further opens the horizons of who Quantify can do business with through the usage of referrals.
Quantify’s innovations are their hardware and software data collection equipment. This innovation has a huge impact on society and the environment. Firstly, most of their contracted customers are big factory plants that operate enormous industrial boilers. Some of these manufacturing plants require the usage of up to 4 boilers that use up to 60 million gallons of water per day. Quantify’s sensors allow them to gather data on the water usage allowing them to suggest changes to reduce the usage of water. Reducing water usage not only cuts manufacturing plants costs, but it is also beneficial to the environment as it requires energy to filter, pump and heat the water that the plant uses. This in return reduces their carbon footprint, benefiting the environment.
This innovation also benefits society in the form of protecting their water supply. The sensor can predict when equipment will fail. Quantify can take data collected from the sensors and calculate when a pipe is going to fail. This allows the company to do predictive maintenance instead of letting the pipe burst in the middle of the night. Eliminating the risk of pipes bursting and wasting water, hence helping the community protect their water supply.
With the hardware and software they provide, Quantify is addressing the ninth UN SDG “Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure” by working towards target 9.4, which discusses upgrading infrastructure in industries to make them more sustainable and increase resource-use efficiency. By doing so, Quantify consequently addresses SDG 7 “Affordable and clean energy”, and SDG 6 “Clean water and sanitation” by improving energy and water use efficiency, and reducing any dumping of hazardous chemicals or materials in water.
Quantify Environmental’s main goal is to help businesses reduce their environmental footprint by consulting them on how to reduce their water and electricity usage. This benefits both the society and our environment.
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Dave Fox, Principal and Founder
Quantify Environmental Ltd. offers internet-connected sensors that can be installed at a business’ plant or location to monitor utility use. From analyzing the data that is collected from these sensors, they offer consultations discussing how utility use can be reduced or where these resources are being unknowingly wasted. They provide easy and accessible ways for multiple users to see real-time data on utility, process, and equipment insights. Quantify works with businesses from a wide variety of different industries.