Here’s ADAM…

Let me introduce you to ADAM.

Some of you will have heard me mention my ‘other’ work outside of my Business Analysis consulting duties in recent weeks. In fact, some of you might have heard me going on & on about it for years! Well [drum-roll please … this is a real “Water Cooler Moment”]: Flowdaq launched ‘ADAM’ this week at the “WaterCoolers Europe” Trade Show.

ADAM (which stands for Aqua Data Auto Monitor) is an invention designed from the ground up to do one thing: watch the bottles on Water Coolers. Here you can see ADAM at work on the side of an Oasis water cooler (although ADAM is designed to easily fit onto any water cooler).


ADAM actively monitors bottles and tells Distributors, Facilities Managers and Customers when a bottle is used & replaced. In a nutshell, ADAM makes it easy for bottled water Distributors to plan Logistics & Deliveries in the same efficient manner as a Point-of-Sale or Retail supply chain.

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The original idea for ADAM came when I was Lecturing in Computer Science at Maynooth University. I watched a delivery Driver turn up at the University, load 5 * 20L bottles onto a trolley and drag it up to the first floor. I’m not sure if he used the elevator or the stairs but, either way, it was a strenuous effort (i.e. dragging 100Kg at least 500 metres). On arrival, he saw that there were already almost 10 full bottles present and he had no room to leave the extra bottles – so he turned around, swore like a Sailor, and took the 5 full bottles back to his delivery truck.

Now, while I had every sympathy for the Driver, I also realised, as a former Transport Manager, that this was a wasted journey, wasted fuel, wasted staff hours and wasted opportunity (i.e. those 5 bottles could have been delivered elsewhere instead). I also realised that anyone with any ‘domain knowledge’ should have know that a University in August is not likely to be a hive of activity. Someone should have known that usage would be low. Someone should have known that delivery attempt would be – at best – unnecessary and – at worst – completely wasted.


Fast forward approximately 5 years, through various ideas, prototypes, technologies and trials, to October 2018 and the launch of ADAM. This custom-designed Device, with supporting file & data transfer, APIs, Web Service and User Interfaces, means this scenario should never need to happen again. And that’s just the start of the benefits for bottled water Distributors.

ADAM means a bottled water Distributor:

  • Has almost real-time knowledge of how many bottles are at a Customer’s location. This includes both full and empty bottles
  • Never wastes time attempting delivery where none is required.
  • Never has to make a loss-making delivery.
  • Never has to call or email Customers to query Order requirements.
  • Can prevent Customers ever running out of water again.
  • Never misses out on Sales due to Water Stocks running out between deliveries.
  • Only carries what’s required for Customers on a Route
    • Never needs to send Delivery vehicles unnecessarily overloaded
    • Can reduce fuel use and environmental impact

 As you can imagine, there’s a whole load of additional benefits but, since most of you reading this are (probably!) not bottled water Distributors, I won’t bore you with any more of the detail. Of course, if are a bottled water Distributor – or know one – feel free to get in touch 😊

ADAM is available now & is surprisingly cost-effective (there’s lots of permutations so I’m not going through pricing here). ADAM transmits data using Sigfox’s secure, global IoT platform. This means data is secure, reliable and cheap. The ADAM device itself is also very cost-effective when bundled with Data subscriptions in a sort of hybrid Hardware-and-Software-as-a-Service. There are lots of cost savings and revenue maximisation opportunities made available using the data provided by ADAM. Basically, with even a little bit if business intelligence applied, ADAM should save a Distributor probably twice as much as it actually costs to run.

We are also in the middle of developing a fully-functional Web & Mobile application for Distributors & Drivers to maximise benefits from the data produced by ADAM, including:

  • Almost real-time knowledge of number of Bottles on each Delivery vehicle.
  • Easily identify location of geographic area to collect large number of Empty bottles for urgent orders.
  • Provide multi-site Facilities Manager with almost real-time knowledge of number of Bottles & Bottle changes at a specific individual Cooler or sub-site.
  • Easily identify which Coolers are more / less used, to maximise throughput.
  • Configure notifications when a Cooler, Location or Customer reaches a configurable delivery threshold.
  • Identify surplus Bottles nearby when required:
    • Where a Customer requests extra stock out of sequence, Distributors can identify nearby surplus and have these delivered.
    • Where a Customer thinks they are running out of water but there are bottles at other Coolers in the same location or even at other Locations.


With ADAM, bottled water Distributors now also have the ammunition to identify scenarios that could cause Brand damage but could never have been answered previously in the past, including:

  • Identify where Water Coolers are being used by competing Distributors to supply water, without having to provide Water Coolers.
  • Identify where Bottles are being refilled with tap water.

Finally, ADAM makes it easy for Distributors to monitor and prove:

  • Compliance with Contractual SLAs (e.g. minimum Stock level per Location).
  • Compliance with Tender requirements.

So, 5 years after that poor delivery Driver dragged 100Kg of water up to the Computer Science Staff Room at Maynooth University, and then back down again, he might be the inspiration for a device that makes such a journey unnecessary in future!


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