Countdown begins to Innovation Awards
Members of this year's first round judging panel (from left): Pat Daly, Teagasc; Colin Sainsbury, Byrne Wallace; Dr Ruth Freeman, Science Foundation Ireland; Ann O'Connell, PwC; Prof Frank Roche, UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School; and Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland. PHOTOGRAPHS: DARA MAC DÓNAILL AND CYRIL BYRNE
President Michael D Higgins at last year's Innovation Awards.
Three finalists in greentech category of ‘The Irish Times’ InterTradeIreland awards are profiled this week
The shortlisted finalists for this year’s Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards are preparing for their presentations to the final judging panel.
In the coming weeks we are profiling the select group who have made it through the first round of judging and a panel including Colin Sainsbury (Byrne Wallace), Dr Ruth Freeman (Science Foundation Ireland), Ann O’Connell (PwC), Prof Frank Roche (UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School) and Aidan Gough (InterTradeIreland).
This week we look at the three finalists in the greentech category.
Sometimes the most interesting products are also the most useful. The Climote Home Heating Hub is a device that allows you to remotely control your heating through your mobile phone.
Made by a start-up of the same name, the device is built to be as simple as possible. It replaces your existing timing switch on your boiler so you can turn on and off your heating system, set your heating schedules or control your hot water through a web interface or a mobile phone.
Although it can be controlled via a smartphone app, the device doesn’t require access to a wireless network. Instead, a sim card is installed in the hub which gives you the choice of either using the smartphone app or simply sending a text message to the sim number instructing it to turn on your heating.
If the heating system is zoned, you can control each of the zones separately.
The idea is not only to make it easier and more convenient for consumers to manage their heating, but also help save them money by reducing energy wastage.
Climote was spun out of Smart Homes and began operations in January 2011.
“As a consequence of some of the consumer problems with regard to understanding how to programme heating, the team came across an opportunity,” says Eamon Conway, managing director of Climote.
Although the initial RD work was part funded by Smart Homes and State agencies, Climote has won funding from angel investors.
“Our route to market is primarily the energy companies. It takes some time to make the right connections and business models.”
The product was first unveiled in March last year, but the past few weeks has seen it heavily marketed.
Just under a year later, the firm has signed up Electric Ireland and Power NI, and is in talks with other utility firms to sell the hub to their customers.
Climote has already achieved its targets for the first year, and is ahead of schedule from a customer uptake point of view.
“Electric Ireland was first out of the blocks from an Irish utility point of view,” says Conway. “We’re on track against our business plan.”
The company is already eyeing international markets outside of the UK.
“Our short-term plan over the next two years is to get traction in the Irish and UK markets, and in tandem with that explore international markets,” he says.