How Pool Cloud Works

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:

Service Plans

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...

Step-by-Step Instructions

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 ;)

Unbiased Advice

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!).

Push Notifications

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.

Special Scenarios

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.

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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!  

 

Ssshh... Soft Launch

Good news! As of today, we're officially available in the iTunes App Store.

Of course, this is only the first step on our journey, but it is an important one. After several months of hard work, creative thinking, and a truly insane number of iterations, we can proudly say that this app is truly our best work. If you want to be a part of history and get serious about maintaining your pool, go download the app here (it's free!):

Our Logo

"Wait, is that really your logo?"

App_Icon.png

Our logo is a trident in a cloud, and people react to it. We create tools that empower people to manage bodies of water, so the symbolism of a trident (the tool that King Neptune used to control the seas) was the perfect fit. It's very different than anything else in the swimming pool industry, and with good reason.

So many companies here brand themselves with leisure and fun, because those are the fundamental things that people want from their swimming pool. There is a slight disconnect here though, because those aren't actually the feelings that people have when they're looking for a better pool-care solution.

I've talked to a lot of pool owners who were searching for a better pool-care solution (shocking, I know). Do you know what they all had in common? They're frustrated. Generally, most of the following are true:

- They've spent a significant amount of money just to own a pool

- It's hot outside

- Something is wrong with their pool, and the over-simplified, super-friendly-looking product they already tried did not work

At this point, all of the products covered with pictures of kids splashing in photoshopped-to-perfection swimming pools seem disingenuous and all of the "1-2-3 systems" elicit nothing but skepticism. These people usually give up and pay even more money to schedule a pool service appointment for later in the week, but now we're introducing another option.

Pool Cloud is for people who want actionable instructions they can trust. Water chemistry is complicated, and we don't simplify it -- we automate it. This is a fundamentally different approach to swimming pool care. Our app doesn't make people read long articles and become chemistry enthusiasts just to treat their own swimming pool. Instead, it quickly drives people to perform specific pool-care actions, and then it gets out of the way and lets them confidently enjoy their pool until the next service.

Our app drives users to action, and our logo takes the form of a tool to seize control of your water -- we're not sugar-coating anything, because our customers are ready to take charge of their pool!


Special thanks to Virginia Bach for helping us design this edgy logo in a friendly, modern way.

The Future of Distribution

Distributors are an essential part of any industry, and ours is no exception. Many of the best pool supply distributors are now actively looking for new ways to innovate, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re not the only ones taking notice either; Pool & Spa News just featured an article on the same topic.

The article suggests that distributors are looking for new ways to secure their position at the core of the industry for years to come. It also suggests that distributors are doing this by selling a wider variety of "peripheral pool, spa, and backyard products." This is true, but there's a lot more happening.

They’re also re-imagining how things are sold. Technology is playing a larger part in consumers' lives, and many of the retailers they have traditionally partnered with are struggling to keep up. And it’s not their fault; the task is simply impossible.

They are trying to grow their business by answering the wrong question: “How can we use technology to provide more service to our customers?” This is a sensible question for an executive to ask, and it works for the pool service industry. However, when it comes to pool supplies, something very interesting happens.

Technology empowers the customer to do more on their own, so the solution is to provide less service to them. This is not a popular opinion among retailers, but it's the future, and distributors know it. The same Pool & Spa News article suggests that distributors are already feeling pressure from “deep-pocketed online competitors.” Perhaps they're referring to companies such as Amazon.com or PoolSupply.com.

We might not be deep-pocketed, but ware creating technology that changes the system. We empower consumers with the exact amount of information and data they want. We help them quickly determine what they need to care for their pool, leaving just 1 question: "Where do I get my supplies?” They don’t want to pay a premium for someone at the pool store to also give them advice, and they don’t want to be sold anything extra. They just want the most convenient, cost-effective way of getting the supplies they need.

This is a huge opportunity for us to partner with existing distributors and provide a fresh new alternative to these customers. Our technology isn’t focused on selling customers more of any particular thing; we provide actionable information to our users, and they can choose whether or not to purchase their supplies from us. For distributors, this partnership gets them another step closer to securing their industry position for years to come.

Calling all Beta Testers!

We've been hard at work creating the best possible experience for swimming pool owners everywhere, and now we need feedback -- from swimming pool owners everywhere!

We've created amazing features for both novices and professionals, and now we're inviting you to be among the first in the world to use it! Besides helping us find bugs (there's a few) and overlooked features, we're also looking for big, crazy ideas. We've focused for a long time on solving very specific problems, and we humbly acknowledge that, with our heads down for so long, we might have missed something important. So, please, help us build something awesome by signing up for our beta-list today!

 

The sign-up link is on our home page: http://poolcloud.com

Calling all Partners!

Here's the thing.  John and I are stoked to be building a brand new app - one that we hope will revolutionize the experience of owning a pool.  We're actively pursuing ideas of how to take the hassle out of pool care, and we need you to help make us successful!

We're actively looking for companies to partner with, specifically the folks who are gauging  pool chemistry in real-time with technology, AND with the best distributors so that we can build something that pool owners really want. For more info, visit our partners' page here:  poolcloud.com/partners

Pool care is a very complex problem that we could never solve on our own. So, we've strategically chosen to focus on 1 thing: user-experience. After spending several years iterating on solutions for novices, enthusiasts, and professionals, we've finally condensed everything into a single platform. It's the most wonderful software ever created for swimming pool owners.

Together, we can make it even better!