Personal View: Water innovation and technology is key to the future of our region – Crain’s Cleveland Business

Smart technology has made it so consumers can control nearly everything about their homes from their devices, including locks, doorbells, cameras, lights — all products that help make them feel safe, offer convenience and provide peace of mind. However, a lot of consumers aren’t aware that water damage is five times more likely to occur than theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and water is one of the most-used resources in our homes. Managing it remotely and simply is critical for homeowners.

Businesses that are water-specific, like the Moen brand, focus on helping preserve and protect our planet’s most precious resource — water — while improving how people interact with it in their daily lives. This includes developing innovative products that not only deliver water beautifully but also help customers better manage and protect it. Quite simply, innovation drives product development and impacts customer adoption of water-smart goods and services.

The research found that today’s customers are more educated, more connected and more interested than ever in many aspects of water in their homes, including water conservation, water quality, water control, water usage data and more. That’s why forward-thinking companies stay laser-focused on developing innovative products that enable consumers to better control, conserve and manage their water.

As a company devoted to staying at the forefront of water innovation and technology, and to take advantage of a broad range of ideas and resources, we joined the Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA), a nonprofit organization that brings together the public and private sectors to leverage technology to drive economic development and spark innovation around water in Northeast Ohio.

CWA fosters ways for entrepreneurs and inventors to access a company with the size and scale like Moen to co-develop ideas, test prototypes, conduct consumer research and more. At the same time, Moen benefits by gaining access to innovative ideas at a much broader scale working with entrepreneurs, inventors and universities who partner with CWA. It’s a win-win for companies and innovators alike, as well as for Cleveland and the surrounding region.

The Cleveland area, because of its proximity to Lake Erie, is a hub for a thriving water economy, boasting a vast network of academia, public utilities and private companies, all in the water sector. Cleveland is already globally recognized as a center for medical care and research. It is not a far stretch to see connections and possibilities for Cleveland as the recognized leader in the water economy with all of these assets at its disposal.

Moen is excited to be a part of this innovative city and effort, which is key to the future of our region.

Schum is vice president of product development at Moen and a member of the Cleveland Water Alliance.

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