By Ronnie Garrett
WORCESTER, Mass. — When Bob Bean, founder of Blustream Corporation, sees a problem, he works on fixing it. So, in 2011, when his prized $4,000 Taylor guitar was ruined due to the extremely dry conditions of an especially brutal New England winter, he set out to make sure it didn’t happen again.
He identified a need for a connected sensor and smartphone app that would have warned him before the damage was done. He assembled a team of engineers, software developers and expert advisors to help him develop a solution and bring it to market, and three years later Blustream brought to market a low-energy Blutooth sensor designed to protect guitars and violins by monitoring the humidity, temperatures and impacts these instruments are exposed to.
The efforts first caught the attention of Taylor Guitars and D’Addario, which understood the need for more advanced protection of fine musical instruments. The company then caught the attention of the cigar aficionados, who sought a means of protecting cigars by monitoring humidity levels in humidors.
Now, Bean has partnered with RV Insights to look for applications for this technology in the RV industry. The product has been in testing with RV influencers since last spring, and is being introduced to the RV industry at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, this week.
Bean sees applications for this technology in several areas, but particularly in pet protection, as more than 60 percent of RVers travel with their pets and must leave them unattended in their motorhomes at times.
“If they have to leave their pets, there is always a concern if an air conditioning unit breaks down,” he said.
In addition, during winter storage, if the unit freezes or thaws, mold can grow at an accelerated rate. Though the units are packed with desiccated packets designed to maintain humidity at safe levels, if these packets lose their effectiveness, humidity levels can grow to levels that allow mold to proliferate.
Blustream sensors let RVers “know when the dessicated material is no longer working so owners do not wind up with interior damage,” he said.
Finally, the sensors also monitor motion so if someone tries to break into a unit, they will receive a notification on their smartphone. While Bean is careful to stay “this is not a security system,” he does state it is a “low-cost way to ensure coaches are protected when you are not around.”
Not only that, but Bean points out it helps owners “prove they took good care of their RV,” which can help in terms of resale value.
The $50 sensors send information to the cloud where the information is downloaded to Blustream’s free app, available for in ITunes and Google Play. On this app, users can see the humidity, temperature and motion that the RV has been exposed to over time. In addition, push notifications are sent directly to their smartphones every time this goes above or below the parameters set by the motorhome owner.
The app can receive data from as many sensors as the motorhome owner puts in place, and the information can be sent to as many phones and tablets that they want. “You can be as connected as you want,” says Bean.
The sensors collect information every half hour and have batteries that last approximately two years before they need to be replaced. “They can last forever as long as you replace the battery,” Bean added. “If you are away from your cellphone, they can collect and hold up to two weeks of information.”
Bluestream began shipping sensors in the RV industry a couple months ago. Learn more about how Blustream Corporation can protect RVs from the harmful effects of humidity, temperature and motion at http://blustreamcorp.com/rvs/