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AI: Putting the ‘smart’ into smart homes

Back to the Future

As we reach the end of 2017, our CEO & Founder Peter Davies has written down some thoughts on the ‘smart’ home and the important addition of AI and Machine Learning for delivering a personalised solution, tapping into untapped data and delivering a future-proof roadmap…enjoy!

We all remember the scene in Back to the future where Marty’s girlfriend’s thumbprint is used to open the door to her house in 2015. With us now being 2 years ahead of what was then considered to be a futuristic world, it’s interesting to look at how technology has evolved and in particular what the smart home actually looks like now as we head into 2018.

In reality, the smart home revolution started over a decade ago with the advent of fast, reliable internet and a boom in software advancement. And the number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices being developed for the home has increased exponentially since then – from connected doorbells to, yes, even fingerprint activated locks.

But while there are some really cool and innovative technologies being developed for the smart home, products that make a real difference in the way people live and manage their homes are still relatively few and far between. Artificial intelligence and machine learning open up new opportunities to create truly smart homes that unlock big data, such as utility usage, and then deliver it to the consumer in a way that’s understandable and can create positive behavioural change. In addition, machine learning creates homes that can learn as they go, offering a more personalised solution.

Connecting the dots just won’t cut it

Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be around 20.8 billion IoT enabled devices in the world. Out of this staggering total, 12.9 million of those connected devices are expected to be used by consumers, including within the home.

Currently, there are a number of benefits that connected devices can bring consumers and the wider community, from connected fridge cameras that can help to minimise food waste to connected doorbells with integrated cameras which provide increased levels of security.

However, while these devices provide more insight into the home than before, in reality they fail to address real consumer pain-points. Most of these ‘smart’ devices require even more steps than the traditional method. Take connected lights for example – homeowners are required to unlock their phone, find and open the right app, select the room they want and then press a series of combinations to turn the lights on or off. More often than not, this takes more time to do than simply standing up and turning the light on! These devices may create ‘connected homes’ but they certainly aren’t smart.

Artificial Intelligence is the ‘smart’ in smart home

What is needed to drive mass adoption of smart homes is integrated technology which addresses both time-saving and money-saving, with added support from machine learning to tailor experiences based on individual consumer behaviour. One of the biggest barriers to smart home adoption is the unnatural environment connected devices create. AI removes this barrier by adding an extra layer of intelligence to the home.

This extra layer of intelligence is what allows big data to be turned into tangible insights into how the home is being run, helping out the consumer and manufacturers (with permission to use said data) alike. Without these machine learning algorithms analysing the home data at great speeds, really valuable information is sitting there, untapped.

Take electricity consumption – one of the biggest frustrations is that you can never tell how much each appliance is costing you or which ones are draining energy. With AI-enabled smart devices, such as Verv, energy consumption can be analysed per appliance, and relayed back to homeowners in real-time via a mobile app. And as Verv learns your home, consumers can be alerted if appliances are deteriorating before they actually break down, whether they’ve left something on by accident and whether they should replace an appliance with a more eco-friendly one. For the first time, this hands real intelligence about energy usage and the health of their home back to the consumer. Not only can this help to bring down utility bills and improve existing home efficiency, it creates a truly smart home. One that delivers a personalised solution using information based on behavioural trends. Critically, AI-enabled smart devices learn over time, analysing behavioural trends and constantly improving its algorithm based on user choice and feedback.

Looking to the future, AI-enabled smart products like ours can also be combined with other technologies, such as blockchain, to drive even more innovation in the home. And that’s exactly what we’ve done in order to create a peer-to-peer energy trading solution which brings rise to the prosumer and ultimately will bring new meaning to smart cities, as well improve access to low carbon electricity which is at the core of our mission. And being able to deliver a solution like this to our existing smart home product via a simple software update is what makes it so game-changing.

AI is the missing link in today’s smart home puzzle and I look forward to seeing it infiltrate more and more aspects of the market in order to create a home that is truly personalised

By Peter Davies, CEO & Founder, Verv

Business Green Tech Awards: Verv is officially the technology of the year!

Business Green Technology awards

It’s been a brilliant week here at Verv HQ and to top it all off we’ve received a whopping 3 awards from the Business Green Tech Awards!

These were:

App of the year: For the way in which we tap into big data in the home and present it to the consumer in way that’s simple and easy to understand

Future City Technology of the year: For the peer-to-peer energy trading solution that we’ve developed for our smart home hub, Verv 2.0, in order to increase access to affordable low carbon energy and reduce energy costs. Check out our blog post to find out more about what we’re doing in this space.

Technology of the year: Our final award of the evening which recognised Verv’s game-changing technology.

These awards are a true testament to the whole team’s hard work and it was an honour to have been presented them by the incredible Robert Llewellyn from Fully Charged- what a night! Bring on 2018.

Verv recognised by Electrical Safety First for its innovative tech

Electrical safey first, award, innovation

We were thrilled to have been chosen as winners for the launch of Electrical Safety First’s inaugural innovation award at their 7th annual product safety conference.

Thanks to its advanced AI and Machine Learning technology, Verv is an ever evolving product which gets smarter the more it learns about your home, allowing it to start detecting potential deterioration in appliances and monitor their statuses. We’re really looking forward to developing our safety features further, helping consumers to protect their homes – and also expanding into areas such as product recall where we can look to improve current processes.

Verv receives £1.2 million in crowdfunding, bringing on board over 1000 investors

Thank you, investors, crowdfunding, funded

Our crowdfunding campaign has now closed and we are utterly blown away with the amazing support and feedback we’ve received. Having set out to raise £500,000 to help us to drive Verv forward, we are delighted to have achieved a staggering 147% over target thanks to the overwhelming interest in our campaign.

We can’t thank our investors enough and couldn’t be happier to have over 1000 people on board who share our vision, our passion and our excitement to revolutionise the industry. That in itself is truly inspiring and will perpel us forward as we look to make homes and cities smarter and more efficient as we pioneer a movement towards a low carbon economy.

From all of team Verv – a BIG thank you!

Verv Shortlisted for Two Business Green Technology Awards

Verv is pleased to announce that is has been shortlisted for 2 awards in the Business Green Technology Awards 2017! These are ‘App of the year’, for its home energy assistant app that gives users advanced insights into the their appliance usage and health, and ‘Future City Technology of the year’, for the blockchain based peer-to-peer energy trading solution that it has developed for its home energy assistant. The solution will be simulated across the UK following support from a government grant, with the results to be used to inform Ofgem on future peer-to-peer energy trading regulation. This solution will allow homes with solar panels and battery storage to sell excess energy to their neighbours who may not be able to afford renewables, therefore improving access to low carbon energy at optimised prices.

The awards celebrate the brightest and boldest entrepreneurs, engineers, innovators and investors from across the green technology sector. For more information about the awards, please click here.

Verv featured in City A.M.

City A.M have written a great feature about the peer-to-peer energy trading solution that we’re developing for our smart home hub that will allow people with renewable technology and battery storage to sell excess energy to their neighbours who may not have it. With support from a grant awarded to us by The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, we will simulating our solution in the UK with a view to informing Ofgem regulation on peer-to-peer energy trading as we move towards a smarter and more flexible grid. We’re excited at the prospect of being able to improve access to low carbon energy and optimised energy prices. You can read the full article here.


We are crowdfunding – Join our journey!

Verv are crowdfunding

Join Verv for their crowdfunding launch party, plus hear from a panel of blockchain experts about the future of blockchain in the energy sector.

The event will include a panel debate on the disruption of blockchain in the energy sector with speakers from UCL and Energy Unlocked

Verv is excited to announce that it will be launching an equity crowdfunding campaign on September 18th! Ahead of the launch, we are hosting a crowdfunding launch party on the 13th September at 6.30pm and we would love for you to join us!

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