Rossmont, as you may know, is the company behind the revolutionary, controllable, AC powered wave pump called Mover. At the MACNA 2017 show in New Orleans, the Mover was joined with its return pump counterpart, the Riser. The two products, Riser and Mower, are completed by Rossmont’s own Wi-Fi enabled control hub, the Waver (you have to love these names). Waver is more than a simple control platform for the pumps, instead, it has some neat features that enhance its value and makes Rossmont stand out as a truly unique manufacturer.
I had a great time talking to both Mr. Mattia Montin, the company’s president, and Mr. Patrick Foster, the US Sales representative. They both are very informative people that talk about their products with true passion. I was able to learn a few things about the pumps themselves, as well as the hidden features of the Waver and Rossmont’s plans for the nearest future. Without further delay, here’s the transcript of our chat at MACNA in New Orleans. Enjoy!
Me: Hey guys, nice to see you again, a year after our last meetup in San Diego.
Mattia&Patrick: Hey Marcin!
Me: Here we are, a year after you first showed your AC controllable wave pump and you already have another product. Tell me something about that new pump…
Patrick: Thanks! So, this year, we are coming with the world’s first controllable AC return pump called Riser. You can see it right here [showing me the pump, see picture below]
Riser has a dual set of anti-vibration pads- there are standard pads on it, like every pump has and then it has these super flexible upper sets of pads. They kind of look like a bubble head and help absorb the very subtle vibration the pump can make, making it extremely quiet.
Me: Excellent. I assume it AC powered, like the Mover…
Patrick: Yes, it’s AC, just like all our pumps are. You plug it into the wall, it works just like any other pump does. Plug it into controller, now it is fully controllable. You can vary the flow up and down and with two of those Riser pumps, you can actually create a wave in the tank. We also have a feeding mode that you can go to.
Me: How do you get access to the programming part?
Patrick: We have an app we’re coming out with soon and one of the coolest things about it is it has a voice activated feeding mode. You walk up to the tank and say “fish food”- and that’s because Mattia is Italian and it got lost in translation [laughing], we’ll change the command to something like “feed mode” later- and the pump goes down to its minimum setting.
Me: That is quite an amazing feature…
Patrick: That’s not all. The minimum setting I just mentioned, you can program that. When you set up the pump, you go to the app, it has a slider which you can adjust to whatever you like. There’s a built in timer, the pump will automatically go to its normal setting after 5 minutes, or whatever you set it to be in the app. You can also break the feeding cycle by simply saying “max power” and it will go back to its normal operation immediately.
I will let Mattia take over at this point, he’ll be able to tell you in detail about the new features of Waver and the Riser pump.
Me: Cool- Mattia, how would you describe the new return pump in your own words?
Mattia: Last year, we introduced world’s first AC controllable Wave pump and now we are also bringing you an AC controllable return pump, the Riser.
Me: Tell me, why AC?
Mattia: Well, the question is, what’s the difference between an AC and DC pump? What’s the advantage of one over another? Many people are looking for a DC pump nowadays for its novelty and control features. However, an AC pump is more reliable because here is no power supply that can fail. Our pump is plugged directly into the wall outlet and it will operate normally at a fixed flow rate. We are the first company that was able to drive an AC powered pump.
Me: I don’t even know how you achieved that. I have a background in electrical engineering and I find it puzzling how you’ve been able to vary a small AC motor speed like that.
Mattia: Indeed, it was a very hard goal to achieve. We did two years of research and hundreds of hours of testing, but at the end, we succeeded.
Me: Patrick told me that the next big thing is the app…
Mattia: Yes, we’re coming out with a new application very soon. It will be released for IOS, Android, and Apple Watch 2. It will be very easy to use. You can tap twice on any point in the graph [see below picture] to change the pump’s speed at a given time of the day. You can add, delete and modify points as you wish. Obviously, we’ll have some presets available, like the Tap Wave…
Me: What’s a tap wave?
Mattia: A tap wave is a real time effect. You simply follow your pumps running, you set a minimum and maximum power and then you just tap on the screen and observe the wave in the tank. You can save that as your own preset later.
Me: That’s very intuitive. What about the voice control?
Mattia: So we are the first company in the world I think that offers voice commands to operate a pump’s controller. This is quite amazing because, for example, when you work around your tank, you get your hands dirty or you may have food in your hands- if you wear Iwatch or have the app open, you simply say “fish food” and the pump slows down [and indeed the floor display duo of pumps slowed down in reaction to Mattia’s voice command]. When you’re done and you want to flush any of the food items that may have settled on the rocks, you can say “Max power” and the pump will go into its maximum settings to stir things up for a set amount of time.
Me: That’s so cool!
Mattia: I also want to mention than in a couple of weeks we will have slave [Waver] units ready and so you will be able to add an unlimited number of slave units to one Waver Master. You can control two pumps for each Waver, so with, for example, one master and four slave units, you can control up to 10 pumps, Riser or Mover. All with one application.
Me: How many voice commands can a user give?
Mattia: We are going to develop a set of new commands for Waver very soon. So far, we have “Max Power”, “Fish Food” “Switch Off” [these voice commands will be modified at release, as Patrick mentioned]. We are planning to add new commands like “Cycle for 15 minutes” or “Storm from 5pm till 7pm” and others. It will be extremely easy for the Waver to recognize your voice because we are not developing our own voice recognition software, we are using Android and Siri as language recognition.
Me: That’s a great approach because, in my case, Android voice recognition is amazing already. Even with my obvious accent, I am using it to compose text messages to my boss as I am driving and it works 99% of the time.
Mattia: Exactly. I think nowadays speech recognition is perfect.
Me: Can you talk a little bit about pricing?
Mattia: Sure. What we set out to do is offer all this functionality at an affordable price point. We have 8 models of Mover pumps, the smallest retails at only $49 for 900gph of flow. The largest one is 4100gph and a set of two of those babies retail at $209. The controller is sold at $199. So at $408 you end up with 8200gph of controllable flow. Riser will be sold at $99.
Me: Riser consists of a single model, right?
Mattia: Yes, one model. We will probably produce a larger model in the future though.
Me: What’s the flow rating for the one you have now?
Mattia: It’s 850gph and 110” of maximum head pressure. It is perfect for small to medium size aquariums or even for larger ones if you have Movers to create the flow.
Me: I understand you can use Riser without the controller if you so wish, right?
Mattia: Absolutely, that’s the point. The real advantage is that you don’t have the power supply, no flow rate decrease over time and you can plug the pump straight into the wall outlet.
Me: One final question- how does the controller communicate with the pump?
Mattia: So the pump is plugged into the controller, so instead of plugging it into the wall outlet, you connect it to the controller and controller to the power supply.
Me: What about the Waver, is it using a Wi-Fi signal?
Mattia: Waver communicates with slave units via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is used for communication with the app. Bluetooth is used for all communication between Wavers or, in the future, with other products: webcams, power bars…
Me: Cool, so you have plans to come out with more products!
Mattia: Yes, indeed, there’s more coming in the future [smiling]
Me: Can’t wait. Thank you Mattia!
Mattia: Pleasure is mine.
Check http://www.rossmont.com/us/for more info and stay tuned for my in-depth review of the Mover and Waver!