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Manchester-based health technology startup Howz has won the EDF Energy Pulse Award for Connected Home and Business. The award is for their connected home solution that lets families know friends and relatives are safe and well.

Having completed a ten-week development programme with the company’s innovation accelerator, Blue Lab, Howz was crowned the winner at EDF Energy’s Innovators’ Day in Central London. It followed a morning of live pitching to an expert panel against four other finalists from the UK, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands. Howz will now receive a £30,000 grant and continued support from Blue Lab’s panel of experts to look at potential ways to trial and promote the product to EDF Energy’s customers.

The Howz connected home system measures a household’s usage of electricity and combines this with information from a series of sensors that detect door movement, temperature and light levels in a person’s home, to build up a pattern of daily behaviour and alerts family members if the user’s normal routine is broken.
The system uses statistical principles and machine learning to identify unusual activity or trends and notify a person’s care network, using predictive analytics and a knowledge of frailty and functional decline to give early warning of trends that could develop into a serious situation. Predominantly aimed at elderly people typically living alone, the system has been created to empower the individual to let their care network know they are safe, warm and well.

Jonathan Burr, founder and CEO of Howz , said: “The past ten weeks have been such an eye-opening and valuable experience for the Howz team. We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity and to the other finalists who were so open and honest, it became a real shared experience among us all. Working with the Blue Lab team has been phenomenally beneficial to us; having the opportunity to work with a company that cares about developing ideas for people is something that really resonates with the values of Howz, and we look forward to working more closely with EDF Energy in the future.”

Jean-Benoit Ritz, Director of Innovation and Blue Lab commented “Howz links energy and people and this principle is at the heart of our mission as an energy supplier. Developing solutions and services to help people with energy is really powerful. Howz really took on board all of the help and advice on offer at EDF Energy’s Blue Lab and I would like to congratulate them on their deserved success. We look forward to working with Howz and seeing how we can help customers together.”

Stuart Marks, Chairman at innovation partner L Marks said: ““Our main goal for Blue Lab was to find startups with disruptive, innovative solutions that could really make a difference to EDF Energy operations. What a result! The Blue Lab team have worked with five teams who are all working on fantastic ideas. Howz provide a solution that resonates with us all, the market potential here is huge. They are definitely one to watch.”

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About EDF Energy

EDF Energy is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity, meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand and supplying millions of customers and businesses with electricity and gas. It generates electricity with eight nuclear power stations, more than 30 wind farms, one gas and two coal power stations, as well as with combined heat and power plants.
The company provides gas and electricity for more than 5 million customer accounts and is the biggest supplier of electricity by volume in Great Britain. It offers innovative energy systems for commercial customers and digital innovation for customers at home. EDF Energy has also launched its own innovation accelerator, Blue Lab, which focuses on making customers’ lives easier.
EDF Energy’s Blue Lab aims to make customers’ lives easier through innovation and brings together people with skills and expertise from across the business, and beyond, to help accelerate innovation. This new innovation accelerator aims to generate ideas from employees, external businesses, consumers, startups, academic and research facilities and turn them into reality. The best ideas are developed using a rapid 100 day ‘proof of concept’ approach underpinned by a strong emphasis on collaboration and co-working. More information can be found at www.bluelab.uk
The EDF Energy Pulse Awards, a competition to crowd source innovative ideas to address key challenges facing the energy industry, was launched in August 2016. More information can be found here: https://www.edfenergy.com/pulse-awards

About L Marks

L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and early stage investor. They build bridges between large corporates seeking to innovate more quickly with young companies with disruptive technologies, products and services. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, they run bespoke start-up partnership programmes across industry sectors, supporting rapid innovation and connecting them with the best start-ups.
They work with clients such as John Lewis, BMW Financial Services and International Airlines Group, to identify where they believe the challenges are in their businesses and then turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners and create real opportunities for start-ups to test and grow their product with a major partner.
Find out more: http://www.lmarks.com/