‘World first’ £1m deal to install Internet of Things in thousands of homes
Renfrewshire Council is to install Internet of Things (IoT) technology in its social housing stock which measures temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels and provides early alerts on issues such as problems with ventilation and potential dampness.
Scottish tech innovator iOpt was awarded a tender worth up to £1 million to install real-time monitors in the properties.
Supported by the Scottish Government, the partnership is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe, if not globally.
The two-year project, which will begin when lockdown restrictions are eased, will see sensors fitted into selected empty properties being prepared for new tenants, who will also be supported with energy efficiency advice and guidance.
The small sensors feed back information in real time to an IT and data management system. This enables the council to spot potential health problems and take preventative action to protect and improve homes. High humidity and low temperatures could suggest a tenant may not be heating their home efficiently, while high carbon dioxide could point to issues with ventilation.
The initiative has £150,000 support from the Scottish Government’s ‘CanDo’ Innovation Fund.
Minister for trade, investment and innovation, Ivan McKee, said: “During these unprecedented times it is hugely encouraging to see Scotland continue its proud tradition of world-leading innovation.
“iOpt’s pioneering IoT technology, being delivered in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, is a fantastic example of how innovation and collaboration can help people live healthy lives at home, supported by remote monitoring.”
iOpt managing director Dane Ralston said: “We believe the contract with Renfrewshire Council has made IoT history and shows that Scotland is a world leader in the field.
“The technology we have developed is cost-effective, will deliver savings for local authorities at a time of financial uncertainty and help some of the most vulnerable tenants maintain a warm, healthy environment in their own home.”
iOpt’s lead investor is Mactaggart & Mickel Investments, the investment arm of one of Scotland’s major house builders. Corporate investors include Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, plus a US IoT technology leader.
Linda Hanna, MD of Scottish economic development at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scottish Enterprise’s support for the development iOpt’s solution – via the CanDo Innovation Challenge Fund – is a great example how we can drive business opportunities and innovation through partnership working across the public and private sectors.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the benefits of this being realised and continuing to support the growth of iOpt, an innovative, Scottish-based technology business as it exploits this growing international market.”