Gilles Gaudreault is an entrepreneur with an impressive background. He’s also the founder of AKWA Technologies Solutions. After a storied career with Bell Canada, Mr. Gaudreault founded a division dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2018. This is when he developed his first leak detection and prevention system. Thanks to his entrepreneurial vision and professional experience, he was able to quickly understand the needs of clients and provide them with an extremely reliable product that helps them save time and gain peace of mind. As an exclusive partner of HydroSolution in Quebec, the AKWA* system has been a huge success in both Quebec and North America.
HydroSolution sat down with him to find out the secret to his success.
What is your entrepreneurial background?
I began my career in the telecommunications industry, at Bell Canada. I jumped on the first business opportunity that came my way by specializing in recycling phone systems for businesses and individuals. This initiative quickly gained track in Canada and the U.S. As an experienced entrepreneur, I also oversaw activities abroad in the manufacturing, industrial, tech, and aerospace sectors. But I’ve always been passionate about electronics and telecommunications.
How long ago did you found AKWA Technologies? What business needs did you aim to meet?
AKWA Technologies is a spin-off of a company specializing in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies, barcodes, and traceability solutions. In 2018, we launched a division dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT) and created our very first leak detection and prevention system. At the time, insurance costs associated with water damage were exploding.
What is your expertise when it comes to detecting leaks and in the water tech industry as a whole?
Our products were developed by engineers specialized in fire alarm systems and high-precision flow meters. I want to mention that because the electronics in a water alarm system differ greatly than those in a leak detection or smart home system. An alarm system needs to be autonomous, reliable, secure, and able to detect false alarms. Driven by the need to innovate in our market, we launched several products including a water detection ruler that can easily be inserted under an appliance, motion detection sensors, as well as a master valve with a quick connect mechanism for easy installation and removal.
What challenges came up when you were developing your product?
The main challenge was to create a product able to work in any building regardless of its size, construction materials, or ambient temperature. In terms of the telecommunications aspect (notifications, system status updates), we needed to make sure we avoided signal losses to guarantee visibility and constant zone monitoring. This is especially essential in office towers and large housing complexes. That’s why AKWA Technologies integrates LoRa technology (low frequency, high range) and can transmit a signal that won’t be hindered by physical objects such as concrete or steel structures.
Are your products made in Quebec? If so, why did you choose to manufacture them here?
Our products are proudly made in Quebec. We wanted to support the local labour force and retain 100% control over the finished product. The pandemic was a good example of how risky it is to rely on an international supply chain like our competitors do. We never had any supply issues, and our services were never interrupted.
How can you make sure you have a high-quality product with unmatched reliability?
Ours quality assurance process is stringent. It assesses and validates the performance of each integrated component in an automated way. These processes also involve our engineers (software, material, telecom), technicians, and product certification experts. Moreover, we work in collaboration with an internationally renowned company with 130 years of experience in inspecting and certifying products. In fact, AKWA Technologies has all the certifications required to guarantee products comply with the highest standards.
Why did you pick HydroSolution as your exclusive distribution partner in Quebec?
Founded more than 70 years ago, HydroSolution is able to rely on a skilled team to provide the highest quality turnkey services in the province. With a satisfaction rate of 97%, HydroSolution guarantees excellent services to clients. AKWA Technologies shares the same vision as well as a dedication to delivering an impeccable customer service.
Have you heard from clients who have benefitted from your product? What do they say about its effectiveness?
Our system generated more than 6,500 alarms over a single year – preventing damage and significant costs. For instance, one building in Quebec City protected by our solution had quite a complex problem. Every unit differed in terms of its main water valve and bathroom installations. Thanks to our customizable solution, we were able to provide a bespoke protection system for each unit. Our products therefore eliminated any risk of water damage. In addition to the cost savings and peace of mind, our clients in this building were able to maintain their insurance coverage and avoid an increase in their premium for the first time in years!
How is your product different from the competition’s products?
The AKWA Technologies product is the only one of its kind to be entirely developed and made in Quebec. That means we can adapt it for specific, non-standard installations. It’s easy to use, reliable, and the only one that can be installed in any building of any configuration. We’re also the only company with a pre-detection algorithm that can manage false alarms. Moreover, we have the widest range of sensors on the market. They’re able to detect water, monitor the temperature (to prevent the risk of freezing), and send a notification if a sensor has been moved. Our system is scalable and compatible in time, making it an excellent long-term investment.
To learn more about how AKWA products work, visit our page https://www.hydrosolution.com/en/leak-detection-system/
How do your products support condo association managers?
Condo association managers who install our product greatly appreciate how it helps them save time and provides peace of mind. Our AKWA Concierge online platform provides a centralized management system for a building or multiple properties and displays the status of every zone, unit, floor, and building. The “pre-alarm” function prevents condo association managers from having to travel to a location for a false alarm and thereby saves clients from a frustrating situation.