EnOcean eyes the consumer market

November 20, 2014 // By Julien Happich
From its inception in 2001 as spin-off from Siemens AG, EnOcean's main focus has been to market and sell its energy-harvesting switches and sensor solutions to OEMs active in the building-automation and industrial sectors, where maintenance costs and energy savings can be cumulated on a grand scale.

But today, no company pitch would be complete without having a go at IoT, trying to grab some attention from the app-driven consumer market. Hence, despite its 150+ manufacturing partners and over 350 EnOcean Alliance members deploying products across hundreds of thousands of buildings worldwide, the company is now eyeing the consumer market, seeking new sales channels.

One way to do this is to encourage engineers and hobbyists to think of new use cases, for example through design challenges such as the “Forget Me Not” competition run within the element14 Community.

The competition which ran this summer was inviting engineers to come up with consumer-oriented home monitoring and automation ideas, offering real-time updates on “to do” check lists via a smartphone or a tablet.

Among the 15 selected competitors to receive an initial design package was the grand prize winner Frederick Vandenbosch who got himself an all-expenses-paid trip to Electronica as well as a product bundle valued at more than $20,000 for its “Master Switch” and its “IoT Pet Care System”.

While the “IoT Pet Care System” collects data on the feeding habits of users’ pets and dispenses food and water rations according to those patterns (tracked through a mobile app which can also open or close windows for the beasts to come and go), the “Master Switch” system comes in the shape of a single, mountable wall switch that quickly disables all appliances or electronics not requiring a constant power source, when leaving home (the pet care system being excluded).