In the UK, owner of energy supplier British Gas, Centrica, has purchased an IoT start-up to adopt its technology to pinpoint leaky water pipes.[quote] The utility is looking to attract its customers back following a considerable drop-off and is therefore exploring new technologies including a push into the ‘connected home’ space.
Apart from its recent acquisition, Centrica also purchased FlowGem, a London-based early stage company developing ‘unique and innovative technology to remotely detect water leaks.
The company also recently pledged £500 million for an IoT investment plan to bolster its Hive Connected Home system.
Under the programme, Centrica offers a wide connected home product range including smart thermostats, and remote-control plug sockets and lights.
Furthermore, in 2015, Centrica bought smart home company AlertMe for £44 million – a smartphone-based system which triggers boilers to send notifications when they are malfunctioning.
Commenting on the FlowGem acquisition, Nina Bhatia, managing director at Centrica’s Connected Home business, said: “This acquisition will enable us to expand what we can do to help customers manage their homes more effectively using technology, and will enrich the offer from our existing services businesses.
“We are very excited to be extending our capabilities in this new area of leak detection, as we look to 2017.”
Last year, energy and home services provider British Gas announced that it will invest GBP500m in its connected home business over the next 5 years.
Following its latest quarterly report, the Centrica company will be expanding its connected home Hive Active Heating product family, which includes Hive Active Plugs, Hive Motion Sensors, Hive Window and Door Sensors and Hive Active Lights.
Nina Bhatia, commercial director of British Gas, said: “Today we’ve fulfilled our promise by launching five products that help people control their entire homes – not just their energy from the palm of their hands.”
Iain Conn, CEO of Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, added: “We believe connected home offering will become increasingly important.
“We already have products in the market and have built high-quality, end-to-end capability in this area, with operating platform design and operation, hardware and software development, data analytics, installation and maintenance.”