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“Internet of Energy” start-up named as Australian Tech Comp winner

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Sydney-based “internet of things” energy management company Wattwatchers has been named as one of two winners of this year’s Australian Technology Competition, in a ceremony in Melbourne on Thursday night.

Wattwatchers, developer of the web-based real time energy management Auditor device, took out the New Energy Award for 2016, while Melbourne-based company Independent Products won the Smart Cities Award for its ultra energy efficient air conditioner retrofit technology.

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Wattwatchers’ Auditor series

Independent Products’ technology uses the waste-water created by air conditioners to improve energy efficiency by up to 40 per cent, and can be retrofitted to most existing split system air-con and refrigeration units.

Competition organiser John O’Brien said both winners were chosen by judges for their world-leading Australian inventions combined with strong commercial acumen and significant global potential.

Judges described Wattwatchers’ Auditor as “a well developed solution for which there is a clear market need.

They also commended the company for providing data and control to its users in “a sophisticated and accessible way,” and for its credible global strategy.

Part of this strategy has been the recent appointment of 10-year smart meter veteran Gavin Dietz as Wattwatcher’s new managing director in July this year.

As we wrote then, Dietz’s appointment comes at a critical time, both for the company and for the nascent Australian market for the “internet of things,” which many believe will be key to the transition to an energy market where consumers are engaged and want to make the most of opportunities to save money through energy efficiency, rooftop solar and battery storage.

“I strongly believe that if we give consumers access to real time data they will reduce their energy consumption significantly – either to be green or to save money,” Dietz told RenewEconomy in an interview.

“That’s what we expected to come out of the smart meter space, but it hasn’t broken out of the regulated space. We haven’t seen anyone truly empower the customer in that way,” he said. “All the pieces of the puzzle exist these days, but no one is putting them together.

As the ATC judges said, “It will be exciting to watch the company’s growth.”

Independent Products’ offering, meanwhile, was described by the judges as “a simple, ingenious technology” that was proven as a viable retrofit solution.

They said the global market for retrofit air-con efficiency was “significant” and that the company had developed a strong strategy to work with global partners.

The two winners will now go on to compete in the national finals in Sydney on November 2, against technologies from other sectors, at which the Australian Technology Company of the Year will be announced.

Previous winners of the Australian Technology Competition, now in its sixth year, include BluGlass, Enlighten Australia and SMAC Technologies.

Supporters and partners for the 2016 program include the federal government’s Industry Growth Centres, the NSW Department of Industry, National Energy and Resources Australia (NERA) and industry associations including AustMine, AusBiotech, AMTIL and the Facilities Management Association.

In addition, export opportunities are provided through the support of UK Department for International Trade and the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council. For further information on the Australian Technologies Competition visit www.austechcomp.com  

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