Austrian startup Twingz has set out to enable people to centralise and monitor their electricity consumption for every appliance in their home.

[Pioneers15] Twingz will turn your home into a smart grid

Recent evidence shows that knowledge and information can help people to make energy savings.  Twingz certainly shares this view, given its initiative to provide users with precise information on their electricity consumption. The young Austrian company, which took part in the recent Pioneers Festival in Vienna, has developed two linked products. The first, e-coach, records the power consumption of each appliance in your home – refrigerator, air conditioner, heating, and so on – on which a small device has been installed. This means you can find out which piece of equipment consumes most electricity. You can access precise statistics, advice and alerts to help lower your overall power consumption – somewhat similar to the Gazpar smart meter, but even more precise.

Information as basis for a home-made smart grid

The second product, e-butler, goes beyond providing information and moves into action. This system will help you to lower power consumption by changing the settings on your appliances. You can use the mobile app provided to turn off a machine that is using too much electricity. E-butler also lets you regulate the power generated by your rooftop solar panels.

E-butler enables you to manage the power consumption of every appliance in your home

In fact Twingz seems to be aiming to set up decentralised smart grids, along the lines proposed by Benjamin Schäfer, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute, a concept on which L’Atelier reported in February. Under this approach, power generation and consumption in homes are rationalised at the home itself, rather than up at town or regional level.

Towards centralising the Internet of Things?

In fact the Twingz initiative is also symptomatic of another trend: people nowadays want to be able to manage their home appliances centrally. Twingz enables users to monitor their energy consumption via the app, but of course this is not the only company looking to rationalise the management of connected objects. Other firms are experimenting in related fields to do with the Internet of Things (IoT). Just as Twingz has stated its ambition to turn objects into ‘smart things’, EmoShape, a company whose representatives also attended the Pioneers Festival, has come up with a product which transforms your television into an artificial intelligence terminal.

In fact, one of the headline trends regarding the IoT is to move towards centralised management of connected objects. Given the spread of these ‘smart devices’, many manufacturers and pioneering startups are trying to develop devices that can monitor everything with a single gesture – Amazon’s Echo being a good example. Meanwhile other players such as Ray, Neeo and the Button Corporation are currently seeking to develop remote controls able to command sets of connected objects linked to the Internet of Things.


By Guillaume Scifo