Glasgow's iOpt nets pioneering council tie-up to improve tenants' lives

Glasgow-based tech innovator iOpt has won a tender worth up to £1 million to install real-time monitors in social housing stock – in a partnership “believed to be the first of its kind in Europe, if not globally”.

From left: MD Dane Ralston, head of tech Jack Slater and operations boss Stewart Carruth. Picture: Marc Turner.

The firm said the tie-up with Renfrewshire Council, and supported by the Scottish Government, aims to help tenants while cutting property-management and repair costs.

iOpt said its “groundbreaking” Internet of Things (IoT) technology measures temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels in properties, providing early alerts on issues such as problems with ventilation and potential dampness.

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The two-year project will begin when lockdown restrictions are eased, and will see sensors fitted into selected properties being prepared for new tenants. The initiative has £150,000 support from the Scottish Government’s CanDo Innovation Fund.

MD Dane Ralston commented: “We believe the contract with Renfrewshire Council has made IoT history and shows that Scotland is a world-leader in the field. The technology we have developed is cost-effective, will deliver savings for local authorities at a time of financial uncertainty, and help some of the most vulnerable tenants maintain a warm, healthy environment in their own home.

“More than ever, the world is changing at great pace, and we see remote asset monitoring of this kind as a key addition to any energy efficient home. To date, our studies have shown savings of approximately £190 per year per property.”

iOpt said it beat competitors from Sweden, Holland and Ireland to secure the deal, and is in talks with local authorities and housing associations across the UK.

Investors

The firm’s lead investor is Mactaggart & Mickel Investments, the investment arm of the Scottish housebuilder. Corporate investors include the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, plus a US IoT technology leader.

Ralston said the firm is embarking on its next round of funding to accelerate growth plans, aiming for investors in the property, data and tech sectors who can add value and expertise.

He added: “We have a scalable and sustainable business model and an IoT-driven solution that tackles a global problem – one which improves the lives of the people and protects valuable housing assets. Healthy properties equate to healthy tenants.”

Linda Hanna, MD of Scottish economic development at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scottish Enterprise’s support for the development iOpt’s solution – via the Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund – is a great example of how we can drive business opportunities and innovation through partnership working across the public and private sectors.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the benefits of this being realised and continuing to support the growth of iOpt, an innovative, Scottish-based technology business as it exploits this growing international market.”

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