TLDR: Bought an IoT-based water purifier from OCEO that has a unique pay-as-you-consume business model and liked the experience.
Water purifiers or RO purifiers are a must-have in metro cities like Bengaluru where water comes from questionable sources. I was recently looking to purchase an RO purifier for my home and it was an interesting experience that led to this post.
The usual top brands in the market include the giants like Aquaguard, Kent, Livpure and all have a very similar business model where the hardware is priced at Rs. 8,000 and above and comes with the usual 1-year warranty/service. From the second year on, most of these brands charge an AMC of about Rs. 4500/year for two maintenance visits to replace the filters.
This means I would pay at least Rs. 12,500 within two years of owning the most basic RO water purifier. This felt slightly more expensive than necessary to me and reminded me of how car dealerships make money on car service than selling the car itself in the long run.
The common thread in the reviews of these purifiers was the lack of service and the lack of response from these companies when it comes to installation or issues
I came across DrinkPrime and OCEO and Livpuresmart while looking for disruptors in the space. These startups claim zero ownership cost, zero maintenance cost and the consumers only pay based on the water consumed from the purifier.
While the consumer gets the hardware for free and pays per liter or purchases a monthly subscription package similar to a cellphone plan or a cable connection, the company is responsible for its scheduled maintenance.
From a quick calculation and on checking with a few friends, I estimate that my household of 2 could consume about 100-120 liters a month. With OCEOs’ pay-as-you-use model instead of the ownership model, I could consume enough water for about 7 years!
I went ahead with OCEO most because of the lack of negative online reviews compared to the others and my gut feeling than anything else.
While I wanted to support the startup ecosystem that is aiming to disrupt the market, I had my own reservations before I pulled the trigger
- Am I willing to put my family’s health at risk to support a startup?
- What if the machine is of subpar quality and I come home to a flooded apartment?
- It looks like a functional prototype, not an aspirational look
- What if it is a scam with no filter inside!?
Their low one-time installation cost of Rs. 499 helped seal the deal for me. Either I get what they promised or it is a good story to tell. 🙂
I pre-ordered the device on a Thursday and the installation was completed by the following Monday as I upgraded my booking on priority by paying an additional Rs 500.
The whole process of the installation went smoothly with the Oceo support co-ordinating through Whatsapp and the technician helped me understand the machine better after doing a neat job installing it. He mentioned that there is a massive pre-order of over 30k customers which is impressive!
The hardware itself was slightly bigger than expected (wish they had more real photos on their website) and the gripe of it looking like a prototype was more pronounced when it was laid on my counter!
There are two taps, one that is fit for drinking which goes through the whole reverse-osmosis (RO) purification process and the other that goes through fewer stages and is recommended for cooking purposes. The internal tank capacity of the former is about 4 liters and the latter is 2 liters.
The display covers the real-time TDS reading and has indicators of the health of the filters. As this is an IoT device, it is connected to OCEO where they can monitor the health of the machine remotely and send out replacement filters when it is time.
You can easily replace the filters yourself and you get some water credits for doing it, you can also request a technician from OCEO support.
If you are in the market to buy or rent a RO water purifier in Bangalore, I would definitely recommend checking out OCEO the “Water Purifier as a Service” startup that seems promising!
If you have any questions about my experience with the product, let me know in the comments below and I would be happy to help!