Through the development of a smart connected platform to manage water and energy usage, Cork company Accuflow is aiming to grow turnover from €2m to €19m within the next three years.
Announcing details of a €1m investment in Accuflow, chief executive and founder Justin McInerney revealed ambitious plans to expand the business and increase the workforce from 10 to 40 by 2018.
The major technological development will involve using smart connected technology to create a platform to collect and analyse vast quantities of household data.
Analysing energy and water usage and other household information, the platform will be used to manage household assets more effectively, Mr McInerney says.
“Predictive analytics can be used to prevent wastage and to identify when a product is going to fail,” he says, adding that Accuflow plans to target the UK social housing market with this analytics platform.
While making the announcement on Friday, Accuflow also launched a range of smart home products, a Smartzone heating control which allows smart device users to turn heating on and off remotely.
It also opened a new smart home technology hub at its Togher facility, which is to be the first of six to be set up in Ireland by 2018.
The new analytics platform, being developed in conjunction with the Nimbus Centre at Cork Institute of Technology is expected to be market ready in 2017. Sales plans for 2018 involve a range of six Smartzone products as well as the analytics/household asset-management platform.
Set up in 2012, Accuflow began by developing and selling products for water management and heating efficiency to customers in Ireland and the UK.
With the launch of Smartzone, it now aims to become a major player in the smart home technology market, which is expected to be worth €90bn in Europe by 2018 and to increase to €122bn in 2020.
Mr McInerney, who previously founded and sold two heating and plumbing companies, started Accuflow with two product ranges.
“Guardian is a filter which keeps heating systems running efficiently and Flowsave is a patented valve, specially designed for the UK market, which reduces water and energy wastage,” he says.
Sourcing a contract manufacturer and recruiting a team of four, he launched in the UK and Irish markets in early 2013.
Now Accuflow sells directly to more than 2,000 plumbing and heating contractors around Ireland. In the UK, where it has an office and a subsidiary company, Accuflow targets social housing agencies, non-government agencies that own and manage some 7m houses.
“We now sell to 16 social housing agencies, including Affinity Sutton which has 60,000 houses and A2 Dominion which has 35,000 houses,” says Mr McInerney.
Sales in Ireland and Britain are fairly evenly divided and the company also sells, through distributors, to France and Italy. The newly launched Smartzone heating control is, according to Mr McInerney, the first multizone control to go on sale in the UK and Irish markets.
“There are products which can be used to control one zone, but the Smartzone product can control several heating zones and can be used to achieve savings of up to €300 a year.”
He says the new Smartzone Hub in Cork is the first such dedicated hub in Ireland. Through the hub, Accuflow will now sell its products directly to consumers and arrange installation through approved suppliers.
At the end of this month, Accuflow will start work on its massive data-gathering project, putting sensor technology in 600 social housing units in the UK. The company has invested €1m in the new developments using funding from an EIIS investment scheme as well as private investment.
Mr McInerney expects to double company turnover to over €2m this year. By 2020, he plans to move in to the European market with a view to capturing a slice of the market which by then is expected to be worth €122bn.
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