By Eric Schechter
The number of things people can do with a smartphone is rapidly increasing and there are no signs of it slowing down. Today, more consumers are using their mobile phones not only to stay in touch with friends and family, but to also pay bills, make travel/entertainment plans, check weather forecasts and even play games. In fact, sales of these mobile devices (e.g. iPhone,® iPad,® BlackBerry, ® and Google Android™) are measured in millions per month.
In addition to gaming, weather tracking, social networking and GPS navigating, the trend of having instant information at your fingertips has also filtered its way into the swimming pool and spa industry by helping both consumers and service professionals maintain water quality.
Pool people jump in
The pool industry is keeping pace with this rapidly growing trend as there are now a number of ways pool/spa owners can use their smartphones as part of a standard water maintenance program. In fact, a study recently commissioned by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) documents a related trend, which shows people want products that are self-maintaining in every area of their life.
To understand what this means, take for example what is involved in an oil change for a base model, middle-range, or luxury vehicle. When servicing a base model car, for instance, the owner or service professional pulls the dipstick and takes a visual reading of the oil level, while most middle-range cars feature a check-engine light, and luxury vehicles, with more sophisticated diagnostic systems, will calculate and display how many more kilometres can be driven before it is time to change the oil.
Similarly, many pool owners and operators manually dip test strips into pool/spa water to read sanitizer and pH levels by visually comparing the colour of the test strip pads to a card or guide on the bottle.
For those who want a little more technology in their pool water maintenance regimen, the industry now offers smartphone-compatible test strip readers, which present a slick, yet, basic upgrade to using test strips in a traditional manner. And, similar to a middle-range vehicle, pool water care systems, which monitor water chemistry, are now capable of transmitting useful and specific water parameter information to a computer, smartphone or tablet. There are also high-end systems, which allow remote adjustment of some chemical levels by using both a monitoring system and a salt chlorine generator, chemical feed pump, or other automatic chemical dispensing system.
The following is a closer look at some of the products and systems available, which represent different ways of using mobile devices or computers as part of a swimming pool water maintenance program.