Switchee – an introduction
Welcome to the Switchee Blog, where we’ll be sharing our thoughts on clean technology, connected devices and the rapidly changing role of the Internet of Things in our lives, and our role in tackling fuel poverty.
At Switchee, we have developed the first smart thermostat for social housing, which is currently being piloted by 15 housing associations and local authorities across the UK.
Switchee is a simple way of helping social housing residents reduce their energy bills and save money. We’re very proud to be helping families across the country manage their budgets, stay comfortable through the winter, and ultimately, avoid fuel poverty.
The idea behind Switchee is simple: it uses a number of different sensors (temperature, light, motion, humidity and air pressure) to understand when residents are at home. Each device automatically creates an occupancy profile for its home and then it adjusts the heating to save residents money. Switchee learns and continuously adapts to reduce resident’s bills. The concept we had was a device which does the work for residents: it will automatically manage temperature settings in the background. Switchee turns the heating off when the home is empty and warms the home when residents are coming back. It doesn’t require anyone to set or touch it, in order to work.
Of course, we hope residents will want to use Switchee. It has a large, intuitive touchscreen: the heating controls are easy to use and designed so that residents can use Switchee easily, if they want to, without the need for an instruction manual. Landlords can even send messages and energy saving tips directly to Switchee’s screen.
Residents of our first 15 housing associations and local council customers have already reported energy savings and we are looking forward to reviewing data after the 2016/7 heating season. At its core, Switchee takes sensory information and uses a proprietary algorithm to create heating profiles for residents that result in energy savings and the reduction of fuel poverty. As with many IoT technologies, the value lies in a combination of data collection from internet connected hardware and analysis and insight of that data to drive positive outcomes. For social housing residents, the primary outcomes from Switchee are lower fuel bills and higher comfort levels.
We also do a lot of work to help our customers – large housing associations and local councils – save money too. The sensory data is also used to provide building and welfare performance indicators, e.g. mould and fuel poverty risk. If used to trigger proactive, or better organised repairs and interventions, Switchee can optimise landlords’ maintenance and retrofit budgets whilst empowering them to create better outcomes for residents. This is a win-win situation that our current customers have already benefitted from. Switchee is just one example of how smart technology is beginning transform social housing – saving time, money and energy.
We are at an inflection point, where innovations in smart, connected technology and data analysis are creating new insights and savings, while offering the possibility of materially enhancing landlord service delivery models.
We covered some of these same themes in the November issue of Housing Technology magazine, discussing in more detail how the IoT can affect social housing.
In future blogs we will be looking at different technological advancements and showcasing what new insights we can expect to see from IoT adoption in social housing and beyond.
For now, join us on Twitter (@SwitcheeUK) using the hashtag #SwitcheeBlog to continue the conversation.