Clevernet cements deal to run smarter buildings

Irish tech start-up led by Bitbuzz co-founder Shane Deasy partnering Canada's BrainBox AI

Bitbuzz co-founder Shane Deasy is back in business with an Irish tech start-up called Clevernet, which has developed a platform that enables commercial buildings to be run more efficiently.

Clevernet has partnered with a Canadian company called BrainBox AI, which has developed software that can manage building systems and energy consumption to reduce a building’s carbon footprint. The technology uses the “latest remote sensor technology and deep learning” to generate the efficiencies across a building’s management systems.

According to Mr Deasy, this can achieve cost savings of between 20 and 30 per cent a year for building owners.

Clevernet has signed a licensing agreement with the Canadian company to use the software in Ireland and other European markets. Mr Deasy said the company had been ready to launch in the spring but this was delayed by the Covid-19 restrictions that locked down the economy.


“The partnership with BrainBox AI makes perfect sense,” he said. “Its advanced platform is complementary to our own service, and together we expect to create a dynamic offering.”

Cost savings

Using wireless technology, Clevernet makes its money by taking a slice of any cost savings generated for the owners. There is no capital expenditure required from the building owners to set up the system.

"In Ireland, we're trying to get about 10 properties up and running in 2020. Some of those are hotels and some are offices," Mr Deasy said, noting that it already has five Irish customers signed up. "Next year we plan to work with resellers in the UK, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands to distribute it across those territories.

“A lot of the buildings in Ireland and the UK are about 10 to 15 years behind in terms of the technology deployed. They are very antiquated from a software perspective. So we’ll have to do a lot of retrofitting of buildings.”

Based in Montreal with 50 staff, BrainBox has already installed this technology in buildings in Canada and New York, Mr Deasy added.

Former Google executive Gareth Morgan is a co-founder of the Irish business and a director with BrainBox AI.

“The beauty of our software is that it will highlight any issues in a building. For instance, if there’s a valve that’s coming to the end of its life, we’ll know to replace it.”

Mr Deasy sold Bitbuzz to Virgin Media in 2014 for an undisclosed sum. He has spent the past two years operating a telecoms company called Connect2Fi.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times