I spoke recently with Cary Knapton, Non-Executive Director of 2 Save Energy Ltd – who looks after strategic development of the well-known ‘Owl’ brand that already sells into over 30 countries around the world. Cary shared a really interesting presentation and updated us on their new product family the OWL Intuition.
Cary says that “the OWL Intuition is a modular, Internet connected monitoring and control system that can manage all of a home’s main energy usage – electricity supply, solar PV generation, central heating and hot water.”
OWL Intuition-h is designed for residential system boiler control – an example of a product targeted on the market opportunity we examined in Delta-ee’s HEMh multi-client study – and consists of three main components: a Network OWL gateway, a Room Sensor and a hot water Tank Sensor. The family of products can be seen on the OWL website.
Owl has been developing Intuition over the last four years and is now bringing it to market. “It’s been tested over the last 2 years and customer savings are up to 20% or greater depending upon building occupation, consumer interaction and boiler type.”
“We’re currently in discussions with some major energy suppliers, manufacturers and retailers”. It is possible to self-install the product although Owl recommend a professional install and have an agreement with a major ECO provider to provide an install service for UK customers.
What’s really interesting is the clear business model that Owl have adopted. There is a simple one-off fee to purchase the product (the Intuition-h retails at £219.99) but there are no subscription charges. The business model is data-centric: the OWL gateway feeds the data back to their cloud servers and it is this data that will be the basis of longer term revenue growth. OWL ‘owns’ this data unless the customer opts out and pays is an annual fee.
I see two interesting possibilities for this data-centric business model:
- playing into growing demand response markets. An average 60 second sampling of home energy management data is provided by Intuition. “Demand response can be planned and achieved today with the right analytical tools. It’s early days but our vision is that OWL will be able to provide a service to network operators and be an enabler for demand response”
- the OWL thermostat becomes the gateway into the ‘smart’ home of the future. This is akin to the NEST business model, a product which has had such a flying start in North America and Delta-ee expect will be available in Europe soon. “The OWL product is different in that the intelligence is in the gateway rather than the thermostat unit. This resolves any issues with needing power on the wall and makes the install process much easier”.
Delta-ee see the opportunities around ‘smart’ heating and it’s great to see new products like the Intuition coming into the market. The role for energy within the “connected home” and “internet of things” is rapidly evolving, and Delta-ee is currently developing new research to help companies understand the latest developments and their opportunities – contact me to discuss.