This post is part of our new Future of Energy series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Peter Davies, CEO & Founder of Verv.
1. What’s the history of Verv? Where and how did you begin?
PD: After University, I founded a LabVIEW software consultancy, Austin Consultants. During this time, I worked on multiple projects in different sectors like formula one and aerospace, acquiring data at extremely high frequencies and disaggregating this data for multiple applications.
One of the consultancy projects I took on was in the energy space which is where I realised how dated the technology within the energy industry was and saw the opportunity to provide much more granular data. At the time, one sample of energy data, every 30 minutes, was considered innovative and what we were doing far exceeded this.
So, I founded Green Running and started out with a range of commercial energy monitoring projects supporting hotels and restaurants in the hospitality industry to lower their energy bills, encourage behavioural change among their employees and achieve sustainability targets.
As the technology advanced, it became clear that there was an opportunity to tackle energy at its very core by targeting each individual home and democratising data for consumers in order to generate positive social impact.
At the time, Smart meters were being rolled out across the domestic market but the information they provided was not detailed enough to encourage the long-term behavioural change in the home that would ultimately lead to lower energy bills and increased efficiency. Hence Verv was born.
2. What specific problem does Verv solve? How do you solve it?
PD: Verv is a smart home product that helps consumers to save money on their energy bills, reduce their carbon footprint and keep their homes safe. 60% of people don’t understand their energy bills and what we do is unscramble vast amounts of data from electricity usage and hand it back to the user in a form that actively helps them to change their behaviour, create positive change and save money.
But Verv extends beyond this – helping consumers to protect their homes and their families by notifying users if they’ve left an appliance on, or if there is activity whilst they’re away on holiday. It also provides a non-intrusive way of keeping an eye on elderly loved ones and note any changes in their daily routines.
This type of data can even tell when appliances are becoming inefficient or are about to break – letting consumers make informed decisions about replacements and avoid coming home to a freezer full of spoiled food and water damage. Not to mention the value for third party manufacturers should consumers consent to sharing this type of data with them.
3. What’s the future of energy?
Prediction #1: A smarter and more flexible energy system.
Prediction #2: A shift towards a low carbon energy economy.
Prediction #3: Peer-to-peer energy trading.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you're seeing in the energy industry?
Trend #1: AI/Machine learning.
Trend #2: Blockchain.
Trend #3: Energy storage technologies.
5. Why is the energy industry ripe for disruption?
PD: With the rise in energy prices and the environmental impact of fossil fuel energy sources, there is a clear need for innovative technology to drive a big transformation in the sector. With reduced pricing of renewable energy, we’ve reached a tipping point which makes a low carbon economy a viable one. Teamed with other technology like battery storage and artificial intelligence, the opportunity for really impactful change is finally tangible.
About Peter Davies
A serial entrepreneur with an engineering background and a degree in computers and electronics, Peter also founded Austin Consultants, the UK’s highest certified LabVIEW Consultancy specialising in automated measurement, analysis and control systems for the likes of Rolls-Royce, a leading FormulaOne race team, Caterpillar and the Julich Fusion Reactor.
Co-founder of the European Workshop for NILM technology and organiser of the London LabVIEW user group, Peter was also a finalist for the Rising Star Award in the Energy Innovation Awards in 2014 and then went on to win Innovator of the Year at the 2016 Business Green Technology Awards.