(Video took place as a Facebook Live event on February, 16th 2017)
Patrick: All right, we're now live. Thank you for joining us. My name is Patrick Beatty, Marketing Specialist for YSI, and we're coming to you live through the power of the internet from our offices in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Today, we're being joined by two of our most eminent product managers, in the left corner, Laura St. Pierre, and in the right corner, Dr. Stephanie Smith. And they're going to help me answer a question today that we get pretty often through our website, "What's the right water quality monitoring platform for me?” Is it Laura St. Pierre's ProDSS system, or is it Dr. Stephanie Smith's EXO platform? Now, before we get started into answering that question, and to allow some more people to trickle in, let's just do a quick round of introductions. Laura, since you're the senior employee here, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself, and how long you've been here?
Laura: Sure. I have been working with YSI instrumentation for about fourteen and a half years, I count half years still, because I'm a teenager. And I started out in tech support, inside sales, and application support. And I just felt really good about coming in and working with a company that makes such high quality, high-end scientific instrumentation for field use. My background's environmental science, and so I always pictured that I'd be the one in the field collecting data and studying the environment. So when I got a job inside, it wasn't quite the career path I had in mind, but the fact that I could support the people that were doing outdoor field work made me feel really good. So after tech support, I moved into product management, and I've been doing product management for about 11 years now for YSI.
Patrick: So you can really say that you know this product from cradle to grave, because you've worked at so many different departments in the company.
Laura: Yeah, absolutely. And that it really is a well-knit organization. It's super cross-functional. Every product we build involves pretty much everyone in our two buildings at the facility.
Patrick: Thanks, Laura, and Dr. Smith. And just full disclosure to anyone watching right now, Dr. Smith is my boss. I do work on the EXO product line almost exclusively, although I do help occasionally with the ProDSS. So, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself, Dr. Smith?
Dr. Smith: Happy to. So, unlike Laura, I've only been here less than a year, actually. I've only been full time at YSI for about six months, and come from a really diverse career path that spans from academia to contract research to my time here at YSI. And I wanted to come to YSI because, as a practicing scientist for years, I was a trained microbiologist, so I've worked in the lab, I've worked in the field. I've known YSI's products virtually my whole career. I mean, ever since I was an undergraduate even, we used YSI products. So I was very excited to come here, because I really love the Xylem mission of solving water, and I decided really about eight or nine years ago in my career that I wanted to do something very fulfilling that dealt with water, because as a natural resource, nothing's more important, and it's something that's becoming very limited. So that's kind of the path that brought me to Xylem, I wanted to do something for a great company with great products that was aligned with what I care about.
Patrick: And you even owned your own business for a period, where you grew algae samples, is that true?
Dr. Smith: Well, so we worked a lot on water quality issues that were related to algae. So in my business, we were working with harmful algal blooms such as have plagued Lake Erie, such as you see in our coastal environments with red tides, brown tides. So that's an area of expertise for me, and is another reason that I have a very acute awareness of the issues facing water quality around the globe.
>>> Read, Harmful Algal Blooms | Everything You Need to Know written by Dr. Smith.
Key Features of the ProDSS and EXO
Patrick: So thank you both for joining us and for sharing your experience. You both have a ton of knowledge and experience. So hopefully we're going to get into a lot of that today. Just again, for anyone who's just joined us, we're comparing today the ProDSS handheld system with the EXO platform, and to that point, Laura, would you please just hold it up to the camera, and just take a minute or two to talk at a high level about some of the key features that the ProDSS offers.
Laura: Absolutely. So I do have the YSI ProDSS, and you know, it's funny, a lot of our customers don't know necessarily the models of our products. A lot of times, they just call it "My YSI," or "Our YSI" if they want to share it with their co-workers. But this YSI is the ProDSS. DSS stands for Digital Sampling System, and I just removed the probe guard. So the guard goes over the sensors to protect them during deployment. But the ProDSS itself is really kind of compact in size. So you can see any sensor can fit into the port...oh, sorry about that...any sensor can fit into any one of these ports. You can measure up to 17 parameters out in the water. It's designed for creeks, rivers, streams, coastal applications, groundwater...anything dealing with water. Aquaculture, you name it. If you need to measure water quality parameters, the ProDSS can help you. It's compact, and one-hand operation. So it's really designed to be portable. The idea is that you go out and spot sample with this product. So you're always with the instrument while you're out collecting data. So, lot of versatility in the number of parameters, compact, simple, easy to use, and designed for the field. Super rugged, with military connectors, long warranty, drop testing, and waterproof. Really designed for the field.
Patrick: Thank you, Laura. And now, Dr.Smith, you get your chance to tell everyone a little bit about EXO.
Dr. Smith: Sure. And I'll use sort of what we consider the Cadillac product of the EXO line. This is called the EXO2 sonde. And, as you can tell immediately, it's a lot larger than the ProDSS, and that's because it's really made for completely different applications. First of all, it's really made for long-term deployment, to be placed in a water stream for up to 90 days, depending on what you're measuring. It has data logging capabilities internally. It can be used with a hand-held device similar to what Laura was showing you. But very often, it is connected to another data logger or other devices for use in long-term deployment. The other thing that you might notice is that it can contain more sensors than the ProDSS platform does. And that's the case of the EXO2 sonde.
Now, we have a smaller sonde that has fewer sensors (EXO1), but the EXO2 sonde actually has seven ports, and typically is used with six different sensors, and then a central wiper that will help keep those sensors clean during deployment. So this is a really beautiful model for doing long-term deployment for water quality monitoring in just about any water environment you can imagine.
Key Similarities Between the ProDSS and EXO
Patrick: Thanks Dr. Smith. So for anyone who may just be joining us recently, we are comparing two of our key products, the ProDSS hand-held, and the EXO water quality monitoring line, trying to address a customer question, "Which one is right for someone who may be on a limited budget, and can only choose one?" And to that point, let's just start with an open-ended question. What are some of the key similarities, since they are made by the same manufacturer, between ProDSS and EXO?
Laura: Sure I'll go ahead and field that question. There are actually quite a bit of similarities between the two product platforms, starting with the sensor measurement technology. If you notice, the sensors are very similar. Both platforms use titanium welded sensors, so super ruggedized for the field. But the actual electronics inside, and the principles of operation around the measurement theory itself are identical. So the data between the two systems are very comparable. In fact, a lot of people will use both platforms, one for spot sampling, and one for deployment, because the data is so comparable. And a lot of times, the sonde will be deployed, in a stream, or out in a reservoir, maybe on a profiler, on a floating platform, buoy type of thing. And they'll go and they'll take the ProDSS out there with it, and sample around where the sonde is deployed, to verify that the readings are correct, and then maybe nearby, too.
So, because the sensor technology is the same, the data's very comparable. Where the sensors are different is in the connector themselves. The ProDSS uses a standard LEMO connector that's not wet mateable, where the EXO platform uses a different connector, that is wet mateable. And a wet mateable connector does exactly as it says. You can connect them while wet. And so with the wet mateable, you don't have to worry about moisture in the port or contamination in the port affecting your readings. So you can change out sensors fast, without having to worry about a little bit of moisture getting in that connector. Where with the DSS, when you change sensors, you want to have a chemwipe there, you want to orient the probe in such, or the bulkhead, in such a way so water falls out, and not in that port. So you have to be a little bit more careful with field changing here than you would with something that has wet mateable. Another big difference, if I may, is the handheld itself. The new handheld for the EXO platform is very similar to the ProDSS handheld. Just a couple color changes on the keypad, and a few different menu options because of the advanced capability of the EXO. But other than that, the user interface is almost exact between the two platforms. So what's great about that is you don't have to learn two different systems. You don't have to learn two user interfaces. Both are very menu-driven, and so similar that if you learn one, you can easily pick up the next.
Key Differences Between the ProDSS and EXO
Patrick: So thank you for that, Laura. And I like that you've noted that in an ideal world, someone would be able to use both, and they serve slightly different functions. And we know of course that not everyone lives in an ideal world, and they may not be able to purchase both. So, Dr. Smith, could you tell us perhaps the key difference, or differences, in your view, between the two, that might help someone make that decision?
Dr. Smith: Absolutely. So, one of the things, the connectors that Laura pointed out are a very important point, and this is a difference in how you operate with these two systems. Someone doing spot sampling applications is typically going to load this with their sensors before they go out in the field. Whereas the EXO is for long-term deployment, and sometimes people might go out in the field and actually swap their sensors out while they're in the field, which is why that wet mateable connector is so important. And that's just one of the ways the application really drives how the technology is used.
Another reason that this is so large is because it has this very large battery case. This can be self-powered. Now, a lot of people, sometimes they want to hook it up to a solar panel, or some sort of other power source, a 12 volt battery in the field. All of that is very possible, and you can use the batteries in here as a backup, just in case you need to lengthen the deployment, or there's a failure in one of your other power sources. So, that backup power feature is another reason this is ideal for long-term deployments.
Another thing that's very different, and that is another reason this bulkhead is larger than the ProDSS, is this has a data logging capability, so, you know, the guts of this are a lot different. This actually can record your data, and then you can come back, and using the bluetooth capability in the sonde, communicate with a laptop, and/or the handheld, and download your data right off of the sonde. So the sonde has its own data logging capability.
And then the last, I think, major difference between the two platforms is there are actually a few sensors that you can get with this platform that are not yet available with the ProDSS platform. A good example of that was only recently made available is the fDOM sensor. That's one of our newer sensors, been around for a few years.
Patrick: And what does fDOM stand for? I'm sorry to interrupt.
Dr. Smith: Please, yeah. fDOM stands for fluorescent Dissolved Organic Matter. It's a type of organic matter that's a subset of what we sometimes call cDOM, colored organic matter. And fDOM is a really good water quality indicator for things like agricultural runoff after a big rain event. It's a very popular water quality indicator for that. That's one sensor that you can get with this platform that we don't yet have available for the ProDSS.
Another one that's near and dear to my heart, since I have worked with algae for most of my career, is, sometimes we call it the harmful algal bloom sensor, but it's really the TAL, the total algae sensor. And it comes in a couple of different flavors. It comes in the phycocyanin, or PC flavor, for measuring blue-green algae, or the phycoerythrin, or PE flavor, for measuring algae that are typical in coastal environments. And those types of algae...you can also measure chlorophyll with both of those sensors. So, the total algae sensor is another sensor that you can get with this platform that you can't get with the ProDSS.
Patrick: Thank you. And if I may, for anyone who may be joining us just recently, we're comparing Laura St. Pierre's ProDSS spot sampling system with Dr. Stephanie Smith's EXO monitoring system, or as we call them, sondes. And you've already sort of kicked us off talking about parameters. So perhaps we could just sort of talk about the whole sensor suite, or whole set of options people might have.
Dr. Smith: Real quick, I do want to point out one difference, another big difference between these two platforms that might help you in your decision is the depth rating. The ProDSS is rated to 100 meters, and is only available with cable lengths up to 100 meters, where the EXO platform can go to 250 meters. So if you're in a deep, what's a deep test, the deep depth application beyond 100 meters, you would want to consider the EXO platform for the best instrument for your use.
Patrick: Thank you for pointing that out, because this is, if my understanding is correct, these EXOs will often be put on larger systems like in a reservoir, and then dropped to depths of 200 or so.
Dr. Smith: That's right. In fact, they're often used...we have a group called the integrated systems and solutions group (YSI Integrated Systems & Solutions), that has a platform technology called a vertical profiler, and the sondes work beautifully with those vertical profilers, because you literally do a vertical profile by moving the sonde up and down through the water column, and you can go to depths of 250 meters.
Laura: And it's all done autonomously.
Dr. Smith: Yes.
Laura: Yep. So you program it to do it.
Dr. Smith: Yeah, it's beautiful technology.
Patrick: It's exciting stuff, I have to agree. So what other parameters that we haven't mentioned already could people choose for their system?
Laura St. Pierre, Dr. Stephanie Smith and Patrick Beatty discuss sensors and available parameters.
Laura: I'll just kick this off, because I'm really excited about the ProDSS. I have been working with sampling instruments and the EXO and 6-Series platform for a long time. And we had this idea of the perfect sampling instrument in our head, and we finally got it. So, it has dissolved oxygen with an optical-based sensor, you get pH, you get redox, or ORP (oxidation reduction potential), conductivity and temperature, which allows for a lot of calculated parameters, like salinity. The biggest thing, the biggest breakthrough for the DSS though, was adding turbidity to the small package, as well as a depth sensor, and an optional GPS for the handheld. So those are all new parameters in this smaller portable package.
Dr. Smith: And obviously, as I mentioned earlier, you can get those same parameters with the EXO platform, plus a few other sensors, like the fDOM and the harmful algal bloom, the total algae sensor.
Patrick: And so, with whatever one they pick, they know that they're going to get a very similar set of technology, that's run through the same standards, the same set of research, and it seems to me, if my listening skills are working correctly, the primary difference seems to be in intent of application, so if you're someone who is going to go around and check a few sites over the course of a day, you don't need something weighing you down, perhaps the ProDSS is the right choice. If you're someone who wants to monitor a stationary area, whether it's through a large system, or a buoy, or any, a number of other things, the EXO might be the correct choice. Did I listen well
Laura: Generally speaking, that's exactly right. I think there's only one exception to what you're saying, and that is that occasionally, people will want to do spot sampling for some of those sensors that you can only get with the EXO. And a lot of times, the smaller sonde, the EXO1 sonde, is a good option for that. Because it has a lot of these features we've been talking about, like the backup power, and, you know, so you could go out with...
Patrick: The data logger.
Laura: ...the data logger power. And it has a smaller sensor suite. It has basically only four sensors that can go into the bulkhead. However, if you want to do spot sampling for fDOM, or total algae, this might be a better option for you than the ProDSS. And that's probably the exception for a spot sampling application, is if you want those types of capabilities.
Patrick: And it's maybe important to note that we're not covering every last piece of minutia on what might inform someone's buying decision, and so there may be levels of detail that we're going over.
Ruggedness and Accuracy of the ProDSS and EXO
Patrick: So we invite people to call, we have applications experts who can ask you about your specific application, learn more about what you're trying to do, and help guide you in making an informed decision.
So, again, for anyone who may be joining us, this is Dr. Stephanie Smith and Laura St. Pierre, product managers here at YSI. We're comparing the ProDSS handheld to the EXO sonde, trying to ask, answer rather, a customer question, "Which one should I choose for my application?" And on that point, could you please, either product manager, just let's talk about ruggedness and accuracy. Take it away.
Laura: I'll start. One of the things that I'm really proud about with YSI instrumentation in general is the accuracy specs of the sensors themselves. Through development, through manufacturing, through beta testing, we've really ensured that the sensors live up to the specifications that we publish. So we do engineering verification testing in the early stages of development, we do design verification after development, and we do pilot verification after we start to build it, before we launch it. And we're really stringent with ourselves on the specs. So when you see our accuracy spec, it's typically over the entire measurement range, and over the entire temperature operating range, because we want you to be confident that the data that you're getting, no matter where you are in the measurement range, or where you are in the temperature range, is as accurate as we're telling you. You don't need to dig through our specs to find out, "Oh, well not at 25 degrees I don't have this spec." We're really honest and open, and can defend our specifications. So, it gives you accurate measurement, so you can make data-driven decisions. You know, I have lots of friends in the consultant business, and consultants rent equipment a lot for their projects. And I know for a fact that when they go to pick up their rental for the day, they have a little bit of relief when they know they're getting a YSI, because they know they're going to have less difficulty in the field getting meaningful, accurate measurements.
Dr. Smith: And I think the other part of your question is really about ruggedness of the equipment, and that is one of the amazing features about this. It amazes me to think that this can sit out in the water for three solid months and deliver data as accurate on the 90th day as the data you collect at day zero. That amazes me. And one of the reasons is because the way this is designed, obviously it's very rugged to pressures, and it doesn't leak, right? So, and we have special procedures for assuring that during the manufacturing, and for testing that before it's delivered to you.
Patrick: I've seen that. They put it inside of a giant pressurized chamber and really...
Dr. Smith: Yeah, it's...and that's, and we're the only ones that have that technology. We designed that technology for our testing, to make sure that you get the best product. So, it's really amazing, and, in terms of operation, the other thing that is so superior about our equipment is really this antifouling wiper brush. Which I don't know if it's very apparent what that brush looks like, but it basically can go around and wipe these sensor heads with any periodicity that you need it to do. And, as you know, if you have a boat or anything else, if it sits in the water, a biofilm is going to grow on it. This wiper keeps these sensor heads clean, so that the optics in the sensor head continue working day after day, month after month. And that's why you can get these super long deployments.
And then we have other things. We have guards that help protect the sensors that you can leave on them in the water. And some of these guards even come in a copper alloy, so that things can't colonize the guard, things like barnacles. We've pulled these out of the water where the body of the sonde is just crusted with stuff. But the sensors are just as clean as they were the day you put them in the water. And that is really a testament to the quality of the design of the technology.
Patrick: Thank you.
Laura: And we pick really, really strong materials. You know, we pick metal, excuse me, metal military spec connectors. We have a two year warranty on our field cable, longer than anybody else in the industry. Titanium sensors, metal on metal connectors. The handheld itself is waterproof, at the connector level, that's waterproof. The battery compartment is waterproof, so with or without the battery compartment, and drop rated to one meter on concrete. So we really kind of pick the most rugged options we can to get to a truly field-worthy instrument.
Dr. Smith: Don't you even have situations where customers have like dropped this behind their truck or something, and it continued, it worked after they dragged it?
Laura: Yeah, yeah. They were spot sampling at various ponds, and they went, were going from one pond to the next on an ATV, on kind of like a four-wheeler on a gravel road, fell off the back of the ATV (while the cable was still on the ATV), and they didn't realize it for about a mile, when they stopped at the next sampling site, realized what had happened, picked up the instrument, and the rubber overmold on the case had been torn up by the gravel, and that was all torn up and kind of scratched into, but the instrument turned on, it powered up, the sensors provided data, they were able to use it and calibrate it, and continue on with their measurement.
>>> Read Rugged, Field-Proven Water Quality Meters | 3 Real Life Examples written by Patrick Higgins
Dr. Smith: Yeah, it's pretty amazing.
Laura: So we have a lot of examples of this, you know, truly being designed and field-worthy.
Patrick: Do you have any similar anecdotes about the ruggedness of the EXO platform?
Dr. Smith: I think the key one...the key anecdotes regard the length of deployments and what I was mentioning earlier. We have been able to put these into extremely high bio-fouling environments. And in some cases, we even redesigned sensors to make them work better in those environments. I think one of the great examples of that is what we call the CT sensor. That stands for conductivity and temperature. And the sensor I have on this sonde is called the wiped CT sensor, because it has a channel that allows that wiper brush to pass through the sensor, so that you still get that measurement. Typically, CT sensors don't have that channel like that, so if you look at a CT sensor on the...
Patrick: Do you have CT on there?
Laura: I absolutely do, yeah. So it has a chamber, more, right? So, it's not open channel like that one, so...If I can get up. I'm sure I can walk still...It actually has two holes here, so the conductivity electrodes themselves are in this chamber. So you have to make sure you have sample going in there, and then out through the hole in the side.
Dr. Smith: So that's where the design of this sensor is fundamentally different, and contributes to the ability to support these long deployments, and to the ruggedness of the technology. And we've seen this deployed, for example, in the Gulf of Mexico, there are some very, very high sediment runoff areas, related to things like the dead zone, where just that grit and sediment really can destroy other technologies. We've tested other technologies side by side with ours. But not the EXO, and the ability of that...and the CT sensor is so important, because so many other measurements are corrected for temperature in particular. So that's an example of built-in ruggedness in the technology.
EXO sonde with antifouling wiper and wiped CT sensor shown on the left kept clean during a high fouling deployment. (Note all the other sensor tips are clean as well to provide high-quality data.)
Patrick: Thank you. And for...
Laura: You know, I've been working here a long time, and I remember when we first came out with anti-fouling technology. It's really expensive to do site visits, right? And, we had one customer, and specifically an estuary customer, who deployed continuously, and they went from having to service their sites every two weeks to every two months, all with anti-fouling additions. No other sensors, no other external third party devices, just the anti-fouling accessories that we provided to them. And the pictures speak volumes.
Dr. Smith: Yeah, they do.
Lab to Field Accuracy with the ProDSS and EXO
Patrick: Thank you both. And for anyone who might just be joining us live on Facebook, again, this is product manager Laura St. Pierre, with her ProDSS handheld, part of our Pro Series line of instruments, and Dr. Stephanie Smith, with the EXO2 sonde. It's more of a water quality monitoring platform, often times held in a stationary place, rather than taken around. So we have a number of subjects still to cover. One I think that might be useful is lab-to-field, or that is to say that, and correct me if I'm off base, but there is a general assumption that an instrument that is kept on the desk of a lab is said to be more reliable or more accurate than something that is out in the field. And I have an anecdote, if I may, if you'll permit me. The company sent me about a year ago to a foreign country. They wanted me to introduce a treatment center to the EXO2. We took it there, and they did a surprise test on us. They had benchtop meters, they had a sample of a known solution, they ran that through the bench top meter, and then they took my EXO and shocked me and decided they were going to run the exact same test there. And I said, "Whoa, this is not...I don't remember this being part...but okay, let's..." and I had to just keep my fingers crossed, because I don't know. And they came back, I can't speak their language, obviously, but they were all smiles and thumbs up. So, I can only assume that we met their standard. So, do you have any similar notes?
Laura: Yeah, I actually make that comment all the time, you know. YSI makes instruments designed for the field, but are accurate enough to take in the lab, if you need to get pH-DO measurements, whatever the unit can measure. Where a lot of our competitors do something a little bit different. They take their bench top, just slightly ruggedize it, by maybe putting a secondary case around it, and say, "Sure, go ahead, take it to field." So, the paths to the outdoor customer are a little bit different. Where we start in the field, but make the data accurate enough to take to the lab, where a lot of, you know, other instrument manufacturers will make something for the lab, and be like, "Sure go ahead. Take it in the field."
So it doesn't quite have the same characteristics to live up to drops on rocks. You know, I mean, we have people lasso these out in the middle of the river.
Patrick: Not that we recommend it, but we...
Laura: You gotta get it out there somehow.
Patrick: ...if they want to, if they want to.
Dr. Smith: Do what you gotta do. Do what you gotta do.
Patrick: It's a hard job.
Laura: Yep. It is.
Patrick: Do you have any similar lab to field sort of comparisons that you may want to share?
Dr. Smith: So really, I think Laura pretty well covered it, that you get the same accuracy out of the sensors in both environments. The only thing I might add to that, which is also kind of related to the last thing we talked about, is the fact that you kind of can get continuous measurements with this. And that's a big difference, the ability to get continuous measurements instead of discrete individual measurements, even in how you might operate in the lab. So this can be set up to where you're getting measurements every 15 minutes, and that way, you don't miss events that might be going on in changes in your water quality that you're monitoring.
Laura: You know, that's a really good point. So you could take the ProDSS out to the river every day at 4:00 and take a measurement, and your DO, temp, and connectivity readings are great. They're great every day at 4:00. But what happens at 2 a.m.? You don't know unless you have something like that.
Dr. Smith: Right.
Laura: So if you need that higher resolution data, and want to make decisions based on what the 24 hour clock (diurnal cycles), or month, or 2 or 3 month clock is doing, it's definitely going to be your best option.
Dr. Smith: It's the classical scientific question. How many samples do I need, to really I understand my system, right?
Patrick: I'm glad you bring up samples, because I want to just make sure we add a disclaimer to this, because we're talking about the lab parity with our field instruments. I'm assuming we always recommend people follow their standard operating procedure, collect actual grab samples, and do bring that back to their laboratory and test them with their instrument.
Dr. Smith: You know, that really depends on what they're measuring, though. You know, if you had asked me that question 10 years ago, I might have said, "Yeah, that's true. You always need to back up your sonde data with other measurements," depending on what it is. But kind of to Laura's point about the excellence of these sensor technologies, for some of the real basic water quality sensors, pH, temperature, we kind of find you don't need to do that kind of validation anymore. Where it really matters is if you see something unusual, that's where, for instance, you have this deployed and there's been a big rain event, where there's been a lot of runoff, and maybe you get a spike in turbidity.
Well, you might want to go out with a ProDSS and make sure you see that, and other parts of your site. You might want to grab a sample, and validate some turbidity data in the lab. So, it really depends on your application and your need, but what we find is the lab data really align well with what you get off of the sensors. So it really depends on what it is you're looking at. I would say though, one possible exception to that is the algae sensor, because the lab methods that are used for measuring chlorophyll for example, are so completely different than what is actually happening in this sensor. And that's something we may do a future discussion about, to explain that difference.
Patrick: Thank you.
Laura: Yeah, I would say 90% of the parameters are good to go with the data you're getting for the field, but if you want to tweak anything for more accuracy, it would be the algae readings, and a TSS correlation. But other than that, your readings out of your sensor, if you followed a good calibration protocol, you're good to go.
How Much Does the ProDSS and EXO Cost?
Patrick: Thank you both. And again, for anyone who has just joined us recently on Facebook, we're trying to answer a customer question, "Which of the YSI instruments is right for my water quality application?" Is it the ProDSS handheld, here held by Laura St. Pierre, or is it the instrument, the EXO sonde line held by Dr. Stephanie Smith? I think now is the appropriate time to address the elephant in the room. The one question that everyone is gonna ask, no matter who they are, "What is pricing on these, and what affects pricing?"
Dr. Smith: Well, I guess I'll start, because there's really a range of pricing. As you can tell, these two sondes have different sensor loads, they have different anti-fouling capabilities, and therefore probably different deployment capabilities, and if you compare that to the DSS, it's really, you pay more for application, and this really represents the gradient of cost. And cost is going to be driven not just by the instrument itself, but also by the sensors you're using. There's a wide variability in the cost of the sensors. So obviously, the EXO2 is the most expensive of these three instruments. The EXO1 is somewhere in the middle, and the ProDSS is by far the most affordable instrument. But, you know, like anything in life, there are tradeoffs with that, right?
Patrick: So, it's just fairly easy to remember. The smaller it is, the lighter it is, the cheaper it is, and as you go up, it gets a little bit more expensive.
Dr. Smith: It kind of works that way with these, yeah.
Patrick: Mm-hmm. That's easy for me to remember.
Laura: And then, at each intersection, too, there's going to be price ranges per option, depending on the sensors that you picked to install on them.
Dr. Smith: Right.
Laura: So all that kind of goes into it. As we were standing there holding this, I thought about another, a differentiation may be we should mention.
Dr. Smith: One's heavy.
Laura: Keep holding it, keep holding it, Dr. Smith.
No. But seriously, all kidding aside, we take some of this information for granted, because it's so ingrained in us. But I just want to point out quickly, with the DSS, you have to use a handheld. There's no getting around it. You have got to get this handheld.
Patrick: Good point.
Laura: With the EXO, you do not have to get the EXO handheld. You can communicate directly to a laptop PC computer, no problem. So you can bypass this step.
Dr. Smith: Yep.
Laura: Just want to bring that up.
Patrick: Thank you both very much. Now, we have a number of...I think they've covered both of these instruments pretty well.
Laura: Yeah, I do, too.
Dr. Smith: Yeah.
What Values Do Our People Bring to Their Work?
Patrick: So, we're going to take just a few minutes here to just talk about our values, and what you guys bring in to work every day. For those of you just joining us, we've been covering the difference between the EXO sonde line and the ProDSS handheld. So, just an open-ended...yes, please.
Laura: This one. If it's right for you.
Patrick: And let me thank everyone behind the cameras and the lights today who have made this possible. You can't see it from your perspective, but we have a great marketing team, even people from tech support, who have come over to make our first Facebook live event possible. We're hoping to do more of these in the future. If you're watching live right now, there should be sort of a subscribe button down there, a sign up, follow button. If you want to hit that, we're going to be doing more of these hopefully in the future. Nothing fixed yet, but we're thinking walks through the park, talks about different stuff, maybe a tour. So if you like it, check it out. All right, so let's just go back to just some fun questions, now that we've covered all the business stuff. So, what values do you feel that you share with our customers?
Dr. Smith: One of the things that was so exciting for me about coming to YSI that I alluded to at the beginning of our talk was how much I care about water as a resource, and how much I decided that water was what I needed to work in. And you and I have had this conversation when we're not on a camera, you know. You know that I'm very passionate about it. And, aside from the technology, the best thing about this job is our customers, because they share that passion, or they wouldn't be doing the work they're doing with these instruments. I mean, we have people working on the most important topics of the day. People studying the dead zones in the Gulf, people studying the recession of water level, people studying the Great Barrier Reef, and how nutrient runoff is even reaching the Great Barrier Reef, and impacting that ecosystem. I mean, these are the big topics in water quality our customers are doing, so, to me, you know, I'm not the one out in the field doing that...
Patrick: I also like coming and feeling like what we're doing can make a difference, somewhere at some level. It's important to me. And Laura, I want you to share, too. We're going to have to wrap up after this, I think. So, I had whole a lot of fun questions, but for next time, right?
Laura: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Patrick: So, what values do you think you share with a customer?
Laura: You know, as I mentioned earlier, I studied environmental science, and I had a lot of business major friends, say, "What are you gonna do with that?" And my serious answer was, "Save the world. From people like you." The second part was a joke, but the first part wasn't. I was super passionate about the environment, which is why I went into environmental studies, and understanding the human relationship with the environment. So I spent a lot of time studying human geography, and that's really where I thought I'd be, was out in the field, using equipment like this. I used it in college. I thought I'd use it in my career. I just thought I'd use it out in the field.
But, coming in here, I hold my head so high. I am so proud of the solutions that we develop, that we design, and the great team of people that we have here, and knowing that we are providing outdoor water professionals in science with the best tool that they can have to make their job efficient and the data they collect accurate and defendable. It's really important to me.
Patrick: And now more than ever with all the things going on in the world, we need to redouble maybe our commitment to monitoring the environment, and taking these things seriously. So, once again, Laura St. Pierre, Dr. Stephanie Smith, product managers at YSI. I'm Patrick Beatty, marketing specialist for YSI.
Just a couple of notes here before we conclude. If you go on our website, you can download a copy of our latest magazine, that we're very, very proud of. It's called "Mission: Water." There are two stories in this most recent issue that are relevant to these products we've discussed today. We have an application story about a sinkhole catastrophe in Kentucky, that the EXO was used to monitor the water quality there, and what caused that sinkhole. And in addition, there is a, I think, fantastic story that the Pro Series was used by...and hopefully you can see this...Brandon, am I close...let me just, yeah, please, hold it up. A group of monks in Nepal and Bhutan used Pro Series instruments to monitor water quality at the top of the world. It's a really exciting story we did with Waterkeepers in conjunction, so...
Dr. Smith: And I want to interrupt you.
Dr. Smith: Since I'm his boss, I want to, I want...
Patrick: I can't say, "No."
Dr. Smith: ...I get to interrupt you, but also, I want to commend Patrick for the work he did on this magazine. When you look at it, it's really, really beautiful. Patrick is a wonderful graphical artist, and is responsible for most of what you see in there. So his role in that should be recognized.
Patrick: I appreciate that. And let me just add to that that it was, obviously, you know this already, but it was a massive team effort, and we really appreciate everyone who worked on it as well.
Dr. Smith: And that's freely available to you, and it's a way for you to learn about what other customers like you are doing, and how important your work is.
Patrick: So again, if you like this, follow us, like us, all those usual things you hear on online media. Check our YouTube page out, we're going to post it there. We're going to follow up most likely with some more content. We're working on a physical guide for both of these instruments. So keep an eye out for that, and thanks for your time. We appreciate it.
Laura: Thanks everybody.
Dr. Smith: Thank you. Have a good day.
We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to submit any questions you might have!