Scottish IoT innovators see off global competition

Glasgow-based internet of things (IoT) innovator iOpt has won a global industry award for its solution to monitor environmental conditions in social housing.

The company beat rivals from the USA, Australia and France, including industry giant Thales Group, in the Smart Cities, Government and Utilities category at the IoT Global Awards 2020.

Managing director Dane Ralston said: “We are proud to have been recognised as a world-leader in the IoT sector, especially in the Smart Cities category. It’s an incredible achievement for the team and really puts us on the map as a Scottish company providing a sustainable solution that can improve lives all over the world.”

With the support of the Scottish Government, technology developed by iOpt is being rolled out across the UK to help numerous housing providers tackle a variety of problems such as damp, poor ventilation and fuel poverty. It is of direct relevance to supporting city and rural economies.

Mr Ralston is hopeful that its success will show the immense benefit of the technology if rolled out at scale.

He said: “By spotting problems early, we are able to proactively rectify issues and begin improving the quality of people’s living conditions immediately. That means that tenants are living in healthier high quality homes, are likely to lead healthier lives and are less likely to end up living in fuel poverty.

“We know from studies that improving wellbeing in this way often means an uptick in productivity and a real boost for the overall economy. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, we’re confident that this is a scalable solution that will improve people’s lives no matter whether they are living in an urban or rural environment.”

To date, studies have shown savings of approximately £190-a-year per property through adoption of iOpt’s technology, which sends data to gateways via a LoRaWAN communications system.

Dane Ralston

Mr Ralston added: “In the era of COVID-19, there is also a twofold relationship between our work and combatting the spread of the virus. In the new norm of social isolation and lockdown, there are clear benefits for customers in remote monitoring rather than physical monitoring.

“And real-time data monitoring of temperature, air quality, occupancy levels is an essential tool in curtailing the spread of the virus as more people spend more time indoors during the winter months.

“Our systems have for some time been picking up early warning signs of the impact of lockdown. This has in turn allowed housing teams to intervene before situations get out of control in the winter months. We saw Co2 levels – the key indicator of poor ventilation that leads to the build-up of viruses in homes - increase by 40 per cent during lockdown.

“With council budgets under pressure and COVID-19 now part of our everyday lives we are seeing more forward-thinking local authority CEOs accelerate the adoption of technology.”

Mr Ralston hopes the award will help raise the global profile of iOpt as it prepares to expand outside the UK.

He said: “This market extends well beyond the UK. While there are nine million homes in the UK social and private residential rental sector, there are 40million in the US. In the Netherlands 70% of housing is social while in Singapore 78% of the population lives in publicly governed and developed homes.

“Our next round of investment will give us the ability to tackle that market, with a focus on recruiting more talent and refining our technology. We have a scalable and sustainable business model and an IoT-driven solution that tackles a worldwide problem – a solution that improves the lives of people and protects valuable housing assets, as well as contributing to inclusive economic growth.

“The hard work and evaluation has been done and now it is time for IoT adoption to be the new normal.”

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