A number of features make Pool Cloud unique and set it apart from other pool apps out there. I'll cover the great additional features later, but first I'd like to explain how our app works - how it does what it does. To do that we need to dive into the nitty gritty behind service plans & the calculation engine itself - so without further ado, let's get started:
The basis of every user's pool maintenance experience centers around their service plan - it's the final selection you make when you first load the app, and it's shown in navy beneath the "Start Service" button each time you return to service your pool. And it comes pre-packaged with a few attributes, namely:
- Pre-determined treatments by day-of-the-week
- Required chemical test readings
- Pre-populated "ideal ranges" for each reading
- Chemical responses to simultaneously normalize all measurements
- Additional services that are custom-tailored to that particular plan
The service plans are created by stringing together a set of "recipes", or building blocks, that ask you for several measurements (think Total Alkalinity or pH) before grinding through the math to balance all of the measurements at once. It's worth noting that since you're comparing against a range, even if your numbers are slightly out-of-line, you won't necessarily get a recommendation to drop a ton of chemicals in your pool. Instead, say your pH is low but not unsafe to swim in, you'll notice the app might just leave pH alone & let it drift naturally higher over the period of time until your next service.
Now - back to the recipes. Some services consider only basic tests (we call these the "Big 3" recipes if you look at the custom service plan beta option in the left-hand menu!) while other times you're expected to do a complete set of measurements comparison (here's what we named "Big 6", it's all the major testable chemical properties for a pool maintenance regimen). This is where the math is actually done, but the service plan encompasses much more than just the mathematics (we'll get back to that later). Instead, service plans also know when to push-notify you that your pool service is coming up on a certain day; service plans know (or will know just as soon as we roll out the next few plans) what type of pool you're using & how you want to measure the health of your body of water. For this, think bromine spas or copper ion maintenance techniques instead of free chlorine measurements.
All this to say that the service plan selection when you're first loading the app is sort-of a big deal. But have no fear - plan selections can be updated for any of your pools at any time. Unfortunately for now, this requires clearing our your measurement data - but we hope to fix this where chemical charts are plan "agnostic" in the near future. More on that in another blog post & app version update when we get to it! For now though, let's move on to the other major "How...?" question around Pool Cloud's operation:
The Calculation Engine
The recipes mentioned above are designed in such a way as to coordinate their suggestions to give proper pool maintenance instructions, but to do it without accidentally "double recommending" the same chemical, or completely overshooting one measurement while trying to "solve" another item. In essence, we're aiming for a single set of instructions where the effects of adding one chemical, when they actually alter multiple test properties, are known when computing the other pieces of chemical advice.
Phew! So now that those two pieces are out of the way, let's move on to some other super interesting features that we think are cool but that don't actually answer "how does this work?" but really "what makes this cool?". We think you'll agree with us so here's a little bit about our other features...
Most websites and blogs give you general rules of thumb or a spreadsheet print-out that guides you along as you do the math yourself. Pool Cloud, on the other hand, makes a single, actionable list of steps that you as an owner should take to properly treat your pool consistently & in a timely manner.
Pool Sharing Functionality
No, we haven't yet figured out how to let you virtually share your actual pool with your friends & family, but we DID figure out how to sync your historical maintenance data & your trend graphs & your service plan selections to your fellow Pool Cloud users. Almost the same right?! Right? No.. Ok, well, hey at least your pool data syncs with your buddies & co-pool-maintenance folks, even if your actual pool pool doesn't... We'll get to work on the other option soon but for now this will have to do ;)
Here's a big one! So our end-game with allowing users to create custom service plans & share them to others using Pool Cloud is that user-generated advice is typically more thorough, more updatable, and more trustworthy than any advice you'll receive from a wide range of other sources - including us! We may be building out these initial couple service plans to get the ball rolling, but once we really nail the "Build Your Own Service Plan" option, we're certain user participation will take off & you folks will help one another with pool maintenance instructions better than we ever could. The beauty of this method is how it necessarily navigates us away from all the typical tendencies found in a big box pool retail service, where suggesting high priced chemicals is directly beneficial to their bottom line. Instead, don't listen to us or any pool company at all for that matter - listen to your peers, the people who own pools & use Pool Cloud alongside you day in and day out. We truly believe that this model (as is already becoming the standard model of pool care discussion) is the best long-term solution to the uncertainty faced by the average pool owner - so we hope you'll take this journey with us (and help develop service plans with us once we roll out the feature, coming soon!).
Phew, an easy one after that novel of a bullet point. Pool Cloud gives you a heads up each time your pool needs servicing. If you've shared your pool's data with another user, then these would disable if your pool's been served that day (or that hour) already. Otherwise, you'll hear a friendly reminder every time you need to perform some maintenance.
If something has happened to your pool, or you want to log some readings but not necessarily immediately take actions to correct those numbers, our special scenarios have you covered. Tap the "+" in the upper-right hand corner from the main "Start Service" screen & you'll be presented with a list of options to help you take care of any & every thing that could go wrong with that body of water of yours.
So that's it for now! Hope this brought you up to speed (with just WAY too many words) on how our app works & why we think it's unique. We hope you love servicing your pool with our app & as always we look forward to providing help or commentary on any & every thing you can mention to us in an email. So reach out to us from our Contact Team page & we'll get back to you as soon as possible!