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FFEM: A Simple Device to Crowdsource Water Quality Data

Akamai has been a strong advocate for water conservation by supporting early-stage innovations. This World Water Monitoring Day (September 18), we present the inspiring work of one of our innovators -- Foundation For Environmental Monitoring (FFEM), based in Bangalore, India -- that is working on developing open source devices to monitor key environmental parameters such as water and soil. 

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A user testing the water contamination level through the mobile application

FFEM is working on building an affordable water testing kit to help build public involvement and awareness regarding water resources by ensuring that citizens are empowered to carry out standard monitoring of their local water bodies. FFEM's hypothesis is that reliable data on water quality can lead to informed decisions on improving the state of Bangalore's lakes. Concerned citizens are at hand to help collect this data, and FFEM is working on this tool to empower them.

The development of the water testing kit started in April 2020, supported by Akamai's CSR Trust with the launch of the Accelerator Program. As part of the program, FFEM received catalytic funding support to take its working prototype to a state of a viable product. They are now building the citizen test kit to measure four key water quality parameters -- pH, fluoride, total iron, and nitrate.

This is how the water testing kit works:

Step 1: Preparation of the solution for testing

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WaterQualityBlog3_9.17.20.jpgWaterQualityBlog4_9.17.20.jpgStep 2: Testing the solution through the app

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The mentoring partner of this program, the International Centre for Clean Water (ICCW) at IIT Madras, has been providing key mentorship support toward the different stages of development. They have closely worked with FFEM to break the stages into manageable tasks and are now guiding them to achieve the established milestones. In FFEM's words, "It's been particularly valuable to receive mentorship support on specific domains of water contamination and understanding the larger product market fit with a strong emphasis on the user testing."

FFEM understands that open source projects often fail due to poor design. However, with support from Akamai's UI / UX team, product usability has become one of their key priorities. They have started putting the product in the hands of users to understand user experience at an early stage of product development.

Akamai in its own unique way is attempting to address the deepening water crisis, and this endeavor supports innovation toward water security.