By Eva Yoo
Electric, water and gas have quietly fueled business needs for decades, and now new technology is available to provide data on exactly how much energy is being used every day.
With the growing need to access usage data and understand energy expenses, the Chinese government installed 80 million smart meters each year from 2010 to 2015, according to the 12th Five-year Plan.
Current energy-saving startups in the market are Uninano and LifeSmart. Uninano provides nano-porous thermal insulation material to adapt to steam pipes, which is popularly used in chemical and power plants. LifeSmart is an IoT company providing smart home hardware and software for home automation and energy saving.
While these two startups are positioned for industrial use and family use respectively, WeSmart looks to embrace two markets by providing an energy usage reporting tool and an IoT reporting tool for temperature, air quality, humidity, pressure and other data from sensors for medium and big companies. WeSmart is expanding its operations with financing from the China-focused fund China Materialia LLC, gathering investors like Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation, Johnson Controls Inc., Samsung Group and the municipality of Shanghai.
A user can set up an account with the help of the WeSmart team, then the company collects the data for real-time access to user’s energy consumption. Users can access interfaces, intuitive dashboards and community features which engage other people to compare the usage and save energy.
“We focus on software and customer service, then partner with integrators who install the meters and configure them,”China Director Florian Bohnert said. “Among all the energy sources, the biggest expense is from electricity.”
Currently WeSmart has clients like Novotel, Carrefour, Peugeot Citroën China (Dongfeng group), Legrand, Michelin, Mann+Hummel, Decathlon Group, and the People’s government of Luojing. Carrefour supermarkets in Taiwan currently use the service to measure and compare the electricity consumption among their stores.
Many of these companies use WeSmart technology as a reporting tool for managers to set individual consumption targets on each measurement point and manage them from multi-site dashboards connected to the main control centers. “We’re targeting retailers, hotels, offices and factories. Then we’re looking to serve any entities like international corporate or governments that want to cut their energy costs,” Bohnert said.
Customers receive service through yearlong subscriptions based on the number of metering points. “Costs are completely dependent on the size of the project. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification-issued buildings require that the building is equipped with meters, so it is much cheaper to start monitoring them over traditional buildings,” Bohnert noted.
He mentioned that other energy monitoring companies such as ABB and Schneider Electric are focused only on offering industry engineers details on energy use, but WeSmart systems give every employee the opportunity to reduce costs. “They provide technical tools for engineers, not for the community,” Bohnert stated. “We want all employees and even top managers who are not always aware about energy to be active participants in saving energy every day.”
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Source:: WeSmart: Complete Energy Monitoring From China