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Northern Powerhouse European Union

Energy experts team up for intelligent buildings project

Two Greater Manchester companies have joined forces to collaborate on an innovative project which marries energy efficiency and renewables with ‘Internet of Things’-based AI automation technology.

The Overview

The £2.2 million government-funded R&D project, ENERGY-IQ, is led by Qbots Energy - a Manchester tech start-up with extensive experience in Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and data analytics.

The project will demonstrate smart energy services for office buildings, retail, hospitality, data centres and light industrial sites in Greater Manchester and beyond, benefiting at least 35 businesses by 2020.

Paul Goucher, Managing Director of Open Control Solutions Ltd

Vijay Natarajan, co-founder and COO of Qbots Energy


Along with large project partners such as property company Bruntwood and Manchester Metropolitan University, Qbots was looking for a collaboration partner with expertise in communications and monitoring systems, and found one in Open Control Solutions (OCS) - a Salford company which designs and installs building energy management systems that monitor, track and control energy use.

The two companies are members of GC Business Growth Hub’s Low Carbon Network, an online community of green tech firms in Greater Manchester.

Vijay Natarajan, co-founder and COO of Qbots Energy, said: “This project provides validation for our data-driven digital approach for accelerating carbon emissions reduction in buildings. Open Controls team’s timely support on installation of hardware gateway and integration really helped us, and we have now started working together on more building sites.”

Paul Goucher, managing director at OCS, added: “Qbots is an exciting company developing ground-breaking solutions to some of the UK’s toughest energy challenges, so it’s great that we can lend our expertise as a fellow Greater Manchester business.

“Having seen how we can support Qbots in their project, we’re now keen to continue using our expertise in comms to support other IoT and digital transformation projects.”

‘Perfect example’

As Low Carbon Network members, Qbots and OCS have both engaged with GC Business Growth Hub’s Green Technologies and Services team to drive their businesses forward.

OCS has benefitted from support to streamline its quoting process, establish a new marketing campaign and implement a new sales management system, which has led to the creation of two new jobs and £500,000 of new sales in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Qbots has been able to access a specialist market intelligence report on regional battery storage, commissioned by the Green Tech team.

“It’s fantastic to see two of our Low Carbon Network members come together to collaborate on such an innovative project,” said advisor Daniel Dickinson.

“The partnership is a perfect example of how established green tech firms can provide vital expertise to innovators in the rapidly growing AI sector, and proves that smaller companies can lead cutting-edge developments and successfully bid for major funding packages.”

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