IoT: Turn your home into an energy-efficient Den
Yasser Khattak is a 19 year old entrepreneur who could save the UK economy £1.7bn through evolving one of the most-used appliances in our homes; the power switch. His innovative platform, called Den, is starting off by connecting the humble power switch to the web. Once connected, Den will enable users to intuitively power on and off other devices as and when needed via a series of sensors.
A conscious-effort was made to evolve the technology behind the traditional switch, but not re-invent its fundamental design in order to reduce the learning curve.
Impressively, Khattak was just 15 years old and still studying for his GCSEs when he launched his first business after being given £100 from his father with which he imported headphones, glasses, air fresheners, and iPhone cases from China. From this early-venture, he made just under £20,000. It got him thinking about how he could start making money from inventing products which could solve everyday problems, "similar to what Dyson did with the Hoover."
Den is an idea which Khattak says started small, but snowballed into the game-changing product it is becoming today. From his initial lightbulb moment, where he had to get out of bed to switch off the light after a late-night reading session, Khattak just wanted to make people's lives a little easier. Now the product has become a platform which has "grown into an entire information system" with safety benefits for the elderly and young children, as well as its environmental benefits.
The story of Den will be likened to Nest, the IoT company which was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion earlier this year. Nest, like Den, started off with a single game-changing product which helped to make lives easier and reduce ongoing energy costs. When asked whether he sees the IoT reducing or increasing energy costs in the future, Khattak says: "With the Internet of Things, we are more able to monitor energy consumption and act upon it and create a more-efficient environment."
Although not officially endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust at this point, Den has got the organisation's attention for its potential wider-impact in reducing our global energy consumption. Richard Kay, Communications Manager for the EST, says: "We've calculated that £1.7 billion worth is being wasted through leaving appliances on standby, and that accounts for things like old TVs and consoles which people have left on in back rooms for no other reason than to just have them there."
Den will enable users to intuitively power on and off other devices as and when needed via a series of sensors.
A conscious-effort was made to evolve the technology behind the traditional switch, but not re-invent its fundamental design to reduce the learning curve. Khattak says, "Some people don't want the high-tech side of the switch, so we've designed Den to incorporate the exact same interface as a traditional switch. You can still switch it off by hand as we always have, but if you want, you have the choice to use it as a home automation system."
Den is entering an emerging market which is yet to have a dominant leader, but there is always the danger that a player with an existing reputation - like Nest - could become a serious competitor if they were to release a similar solution. Khattak seems unphased by this, and makes it clear he has more ideas in his notebook (which never leaves his side) to expand Den further.
"We want to provide a complete and efficient ecosystem within the home, beyond switches and plug sockets. However, before we do that, we want to first make sure what we're offering is the best they can possibly be," Khattak says
He continues: "The features we're showing to the public is not all that's in the pipeline for Den, we have some great plans to move forward..."
Den is looking to raise £300,000 via the Seedrs equity platform to fund its plans.
What do you think about Den and the future of home automation? Let us know in the comments.
To learn more about the Internet of Things visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London's Olympia, December 2-3, 2015.
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