SensorSuite Closes Investment from Greensoil Building Innovation Fund to Power Growth

IOT company specializing in Smart Buildings to aggressively accelerate sales, marketing, and execution of product roadmap

Toronto, ON – SensorSuite® Inc., an Internet of Things (IoT) company that develops and sells innovative wireless monitoring and energy saving solutions for commercial and residential buildings, has closed a strategic venture investment from GreenSoil. This investment will provide capital as well as opportunities to leverage Greensoil’s broad real estate network to expand and accelerate the deployment of SensorSuite systems.

The Greensoil Building Innovation Fund (Greensoil) is a growth equity fund investing in companies that provide products, services and technologies which make real estate and infrastructure more productive, efficient and sustainable.

“As asset managers face rising energy prices and challenges associated with older buildings, the need for systems that are smart enough to save money without human intervention and reduce operational risks have become an important part of their strategy,” said SensorSuite CEO, Robert Platek. “SensorSuite empowers property owners with scalable digital building solutions to address their sustainability needs now and in the future.”

The financing builds on an exceptional year for SensorSuite which saw a rapidly growing roster of clients, key executive appointments, and market momentum in the growing areas of energy management and IOT technologies for buildings. SensorSuite was also named one of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies on the 2017 Startup 50 in Canadian Business magazine.

“After following SensorSuite’s progress in the market for some time, our team is pleased to launch this formal partnership that will help our investors and affiliates improve the management of their assets using SensorSuite’s best-in-class wireless technology,” said Jamie James, Managing Partner of the fund. “The smart building technology market is evolving quickly, and we are confident that SensorSuite has the expertise, solutions – and now the capital – to deliver cost effective solutions to asset managers, particularly in the high-rise residential market in the near term.”

SensorSuite is also pleased to announce Jamie James will be joining the board of directors. Jamie brings a wealth of experience in the smart building industry to SensorSuite.


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About SensorSuite®

SensorSuite®, an innovator in smart building technology, has created the first affordable enterprise-level smart building solution.

SensorSuite develops real-time building intelligence cloud platforms for reducing operational risks and improving the efficiency of buildings. The company creates solutions using leading-edge sensors, cloud analytics, building controls, and software interfaces to reduce energy costs, increase occupant comfort, and allow owners and occupants to extract more value out of their respective space(s).


About Greensoil

Greensoil Building Innovation Fund (GBIF) invests in early and growth stage real estate technology companies that provide products, services and technologies which make real estate and infrastructure more productive, efficient and sustainable. GBIF’s partners are real estate owners, managers, developers and other strategic and impact investors. The fund has made seven investments to date in highly relevant real estate technology verticals, including: lighting and controls, workflow optimization and data management, energy storage, visualization and mapping.

For more information, please refer to


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What are the financing options that should be considered to make building energy efficiency retrofits possible?

Mario P Iusi EVP at SensorSuite Inc.

Energy efficiency financing along with rebates, incentives and grants are just some of the finance options.

A building assessment is the first step in the process, gathering building information that results in the creation and development of potential financing options the project could be eligible for.

A proprietary assessment will validate how much financing a project would qualify for based on the property’s valuation and the amount of owner equity, as well as the financial performance of the company.

The second step is to define how energy is being used by the building. Defining the sources of wasted energy, the types of heating /cooling and lighting systems, and how the building is operated. Water usage is another utility to consider during this audit process. Reviewing 2 to 3 years of utility data to look for patterns or changes in building utility usage provides great insights.

The third step is to determine the available technologies to eliminate waste, and finally provide specific recommendations that would make the energy intensive operation less energy dependent and less responsive to rising utility costs.

Creating a cash flow/budget neutral project strategy is key where the utility dollar savings are diverted from the existing utility budget (assume 25% reduction) to pay down a loan for a predetermined period of time considered the payback term. Return on investment may vary from 2 to 5 years depending on the size of project, technologies applied and the utility savings opportunity.

When developing these types of projects, the top of mind question for a CFO to ask is “how can these energy and water efficiency upgrades be funded to meet our company’s available capital and financial performance objectives?” 

Taking a cash flow/budget neutral approach as described above is redirecting available capital in an efficient yet effective way to reduce utility waste along with upgrading your building systems with new technologies to continue to rein in rising utility costs.

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Your building is ready to talk. Are you ready to listen?

From the earliest pyramids to the tallest skyscrapers of today, the world’s buildings are symbols of progress for our civilization.

In this spirit, humanity continues to evolve when it is tested.

With growing demand for resources like electricity- coupled with the side-effects of climate change, “listening” to our buildings has never been more important.

Today, our buildings have been challenged with finding economical ways to look after the people inside them while acting as a responsible steward to the world outside its doors.

In the case of multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), the stats are alarming.

Key Findings

·        24% of Ontario’s multi-unit residential building (MURB) stock is electrically-heated.

·        Our initial market study has found evidence that electricity consumption for heating MURBs that are electrically heated is huge. 13% of annual electricity consumption for all multi-unit residential properties in Ontario is just for electric space heating.

·        1921 GWh/year is the total electricity consumed for space heating in the MURB sector.

·        Electric resistance baseboards are the most common heating equipment found in electrically heated MURBs.

·        On average, 42% of electricity use in electrically heated MURBs is for space heating; and as much as 65%.

Are you still there?

Are you listening?

SensorSuite ( is in a unique position to unlock the promise of the internet of things by making it possible to communicate with keys building components all at once.

Connecting traditionally unconnected equipment and machines- monitoring, analyzing and controlling processes without much human intervention, will lead to:

·        The improved management of buildings.

·        Happier occupants.

·        Improved profitability.

·        Increased building valuation.

Our solutions make it easy to retrofit existing building equipment and assets- giving them a voice.

Imagine the possibilities if your building could tell you:

–      That your boiler is leaking water.

–      That your air conditioning unit has stopped working.

–      That your electric baseboard heaters are all online being monitored and temperature controlled with your smartphone, tablet or PC?

Find out more about how your building could benefit from our unique internet of things initiatives by contacting us at

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Boiling Over Cap and Trade?

How BoilerLink Will Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Cut Costs in Apartment Buildings

On January 1 st , 2017, the Ontario Government introduced a Cap and Trade program.

The Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act (Bill 172) is a central part of Ontario’s solution to fight climate change.


FACT: The Province of Ontario is responsible for less than one percent of world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but is one of the largest per capita emitters in the world. 1

THE GOAL: Decrease Ontario’s emissions by eight to ten megatonnes by 2020. 2


According to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, a Cap and Trade program is a proven way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fight climate change by giving polluters an incentive to cut emissions. 3

It creates a price on carbon emissions by limiting the amount of GHG pollution that can come from the economy and then allowing those covered by the cap to trade among themselves in a flexible and cost-effective way.

Cap and Trade

What exactly does this mean?

The plan is to cap the amount of GHG emissions that Ontario homes and businesses are allowed to emit, intending to lower the limit over time.

Funds generated by this program will be used to promote low-carbon energy solutions throughout the Province as we move towards a greener and more accountable economy.

Pricing carbon emissions in this manner is arguably one of the most powerful tools that governments have to encourage companies and households to change course; polluting less by investing in cleaner technologies and adopting greener practices.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

As it relates to Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs), conservation incentive programs have existed for quite some time.

In addition, other provinces (British Columbia and Quebec) and the State of California, have already implemented Cap and Trade initiatives of their own.

Each year, the Cap is lowered-leaving stakeholders in the MURB sector with few options:

a) Invest in green technologies.

b)  Incur additional costs to buy emission credits (depending on emission benchmarks).

c)  Pay added fees to fuel distributors (for those that emit below 10,000 tonnes of pollutants).

Under this system, the price to pollute sets the strength of the economic signal and determines the extent to which green choices are encouraged.


In Toronto, MURBs represent the most significant component in the Toronto residential building inventory.


56% of the dwellings in the City of Toronto consist of apartment buildings. 39% of all Toronto dwellings are either mid-rise or high-rise apartment building of five or more storeys.

The combined electricity and natural gas consumption of Toronto MURBs is responsible for 2.5M tonnes eCO2 emissions annually.

An estimated 17% of the total GHG emissions in Toronto are associated with natural gas and electricity consumption of apartment buildings. 4

This is why MURB Property Managers and Owners need to shift from their “out of sight, out of mind” attitudes when it comes to the use and maintenance of their boilers.

Boiler issues related to efficiency, breakdowns, and premature failures, are central to why the monitoring and optimizing of these machines are more important than ever.

Commercial boiler life expectancy is also falling.

Surprisingly, many of those that should care simply accept this reality as a cost of doing business- until now.

Having the real-time ability to monitor and control the performance of a MURB’s boiler(s) has become vital towards curbing the added costs of this new government initiative.


Until recently, the remote monitoring and control a boiler’s performance was easier said than done- especially in smaller buildings that aren’t supported by a Building Automation System (BAS).

But thanks to BoilerLink by SensorSuite (, all building stakeholders – especially down-market where technology adoption is limited or absent, can now reap the benefits reserved for those that have historically had the money and resources to evolve.

Utilizing SensorSuite’s easy-to- use cloud dashboard and an internet connection, BoilerLink is able to detect small variations in boiler performance and allows users to act on them in real-time using a smartphone, tablet or PC.


After receiving these alerts, BoilerLink not only helps stakeholders maintain peak operational efficiency, but also helps in minimizing the cost of repairs- arguably extending a boiler’s life.

From a cost savings perspective, BoilerLink can clearly cut spending in a variety of ways:

Boiler Optimization – Charts and historical data logs give stakeholders the ability to optimize their boiler’s performance. These optimizations allow for energy savings and as a result, reduce expenses for a given building.

Alarm Notification – Custom alarms provide immediate notifications- so that problems can be addressed immediately.

Reduced Maintenance Time – Boilers can be remotely monitored and controlled 24/7, eliminating the need for many maintenance check-ups. Furthermore, multiple boilers in a portfolio of buildings can be monitored and controlled at the same time on one cloud dashboard.

Maintains Warranty – Eliminate the risk of a warranty being voided due to boiler misuse or neglect.

Avoid Costly Upgrades – Extend the life of a given boiler by installing BoilerLink at a fraction of the cost.


Today, as it relates to accountability, many property stakeholders are unable to generally hold anyone accountable for boiler mishaps or damage because:


1)  There’s typically a high turnover of Property Managers and Maintenance Contractors in the space.

2)  It’s difficult to pinpoint the source of a boiler problem until it’s too late.


A building’s boiler is like the human heart. It provides heat and circulation. Its works is unseen. And when it fails, the rest of the system will follow shortly thereafter.

Commercial boiler maintenance and responsible boiler use are essential in Ontario’s new Cap and Trade era.

Clearly, with the emergence of Cap and Trade in Ontario, GHG emissions will increasingly impact a given building’s operational expenditures.


Let SensorSuite help you keep your boiler healthy and building stock profitable.

BoilerLink is coming in 2017.


Learn more about how our Smart Building Initiatives make sense.

Visit: or email:

By Johnny Ramoutar- January 10, 2017




1 Cap and trade in Ontario. (2016). [online]. Last modified 19 December 2016.

2 Cap and trade in Ontario. (2016). [online]. Last modified 19 December 2016.

3 Ontario Posts Final Cap and Trade Regulation. (2016). [online]. Last modified 19 May 2016. final-cap- and-trade- regulation.html

4 Clarissa Binkley, Marianne Touchie, and Kim Pressnail, Energy Consumption Trends of Multi-Unit Residential

Buildings in the City of Toronto (Report submitted to Toronto Atmospheric Fund, 2012).

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SensorSuite Launches $1.2 Million Project with Support from the IESO to Develop Next Generation Energy Demand Response Technology

Demand Response technology

SensorSuite® Launches Cutting-Edge Energy Pilot Project Supported Through Grant Received From IESO’s Conservation Fund

TORONTO, ON–(PRWEB – May 19, 2016) – SensorSuite®, a leading innovator in cloud-based wireless control systems for electrically heated and cooled buildings, is pleased to announce it is launching a $1.2 Million project to develop next generation demand response algorithms, wireless hardware control, and Smart Grid technology.  

SensorSuite powered Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) and Commercial facilities save money by being able to wirelessly control, monitor, and track suite temperatures in real-time through the utilization of its cloud-based dashboard.   

“The IESO is pleased to welcome SensorSuite to the list of more than 200+ projects that have received innovation funding from the IESO to advance conservation and demand management in Ontario,” says Terry Young, the IESO’s Vice-President of Conservation and Corporate Relations. “SensorSuite’s project will help enable property managers to better manage their electricity costs while maintaining tenant comfort and reducing demand placed on the grid.”

This $1.2 Million dollar Internet of Things (IoT) project will be deployed in partnership with a consortium of large asset managers across Ontario.

The reality is that electricity is much more expensive in the hours when grid consumption is at its highest. The key to the efficiency-enhancing power of IoT lies in peak usage optimization.

SensorSuite technology manages energy distribution in real-time based on immediate data rather than historic patterns of power usage. Together with smart building metrics, stakeholders could significantly reduce a building’s energy costs and improve their sustainability credentials.

“As asset managers face rising energy prices and challenges associated with older buildings, the need for systems that are smart enough to save money without human intervention and reduce operational risks have become an important part of their strategy,” said SensorSuite CEO, Robert Platek.  “SensorSuite empowers property owners with a scalable digital building assistant to address their sustainability needs now and in the future.”

SensorSuite’s SuiteHeat™ solution takes control of electrically heated and cooled buildings and shifts the power back into the hands of Property or Asset Managers.   SuiteHeat reduces energy waste and overheating/cooling by controlling temperature; capturing consumption and costs within every suite in a respective building or portfolio.


In addition, market adoption of SuiteHeat can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a local, national, and global scale.  Buildings are responsible for more than 40% of global energy use and one third of GHG emissions, both in developed and developing countries.  

SuiteHeat™ Benefits:

–       20-30% measurable energy savings in buildings.

–       Better control of building GHG emissions.

–       Increases in property valuation.

–       Supports “in-suite” maintenance reporting.

–       Promotes a mindset of preserving and improving quality of life with less energy consumption.

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SensorSuite ( develops real-time building intelligence cloud platforms for reducing operational risks and improving the efficiency of buildings. The company creates solutions using leading-edge sensors, cloud analytics, building controls, and software interfaces to reduce energy costs, increase occupant comfort, and allow owners and occupants to extract more value out of their respective space(s).



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The Benefits of Remote Boiler Monitoring

Many commercial property managers and owners operate with an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude when it comes to the maintenance of their commercial boiler.

In the short-run, this might help in curbing costs, but what could happen down the road? Issues such as decreased boiler efficiency, costly breakdowns, and premature failure are on the rise.

Commercial boiler life expectancy is also falling- and many of those that should care simply accept this reality as a cost of doing business.

Perhaps it makes sense to let your old boiler die so that you can roll-out a new high-efficiency one.

Certainly, there are several business and social benefits for doing so such as:

  •  Reduced heating costs.
  •  Reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Increased profitability and competitiveness.

But as enticing as this may sound, high-efficiency commercial boilers have created a new challenge for the market.

Higher efficiency units have more fans, sensors, switches, relays, and electronics. With the increase in parts and components, the points of failure are significantly higher.

In addition, the computers/circuit boards in higher efficient units are far more prone to failure than older electrical/relay controls- and they cost a LOT more to fix when they do fail.

You can expect to pay twice as much for a contractor visit to address issues with a high-efficiency boiler.

Furthermore, you can also expect several more visits during its life-span.

Let’s also not forget the increased risk of contractor error. The prospect that you will pay for needless repairs or for things a contractor broke or fried due to lack of knowledge or training is very real.

Until recently, monitoring a boiler’s performance was easier said than done. But thanks to BoilerLink by SensorSuite (, all building stakeholders- especially down-market where technology adoption is limited or absent, can now reap the benefits reserved for those that have the money and resources to do so.

Utilizing SensorSuite’s easy-to- use cloud dashboard and an internet connection, BoilerLink is able to detect small variations in boiler performance and report them in real-time to a smartphone, tablet or PC.

After receiving these alerts, not only would they help key stakeholders maintain peak operational efficiency, but also minimize costly repairs and arguably extend a boiler’s life.

From a cost savings perspective, BoilerLink can clearly cut spending in a variety of ways:


Boiler Optimization – Charts and historical data logs give stakeholders the ability to optimize their boiler’s performance. These optimizations allow for energy savings and as a result, reduce expenses for a given building.

Alarm Notification – Custom alarms provide immediate notification, so that problem can be addressed immediately.

Reduced Maintenance Time – Boilers can monitored 24/7/365- eliminating the need for many maintenance check-ups. Furthermore, multiple boilers in a portfolio of multiple building can be monitored at the same time all on one cloud dashboard.

Maintain Warranty – Eliminate the risk of a warranty being voided due to boiler misuse or neglect.

Avoid Costly Upgrades – Extend the life of a given boiler by installing BoilerLink at a fraction of the cost.


Today, as it relates to accountability, many property stakeholders are unable to generally hold anyone accountable for boiler mishaps or damage because:

1)  There’s typically a high turnover of Property Managers and Maintenance Contractors in the space.

2)  It’s difficult to pinpoint the source of a boiler problem until it’s too late.

A building’s boiler is like the human heart. It provides heat and circulation. Its works is unseen. And when it fails, the rest of the system will follow shortly thereafter.

Maintaining a commercial boiler for the sake of those who rely on it to perform as intended is as essential as it is for a person with a heart problem to avoid the conditions that lead to a heart attack.

Let SensorSuite help you keep your boiler “healthy”.

Learn more about how our Smart Building Initiatives make sense, visit or email:

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SensorSuite highlighted in Globe and Mail Article about IOT

Beyond the smartwatch: Canada finds its place in the Internet of Things

SensorSuite IOT article


When a category five tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013, John O’Rourke’s small crew of six workers found themselves in trouble.

Mr. O’Rourke runs Calgary-based Sigit Automation, a small company that does IT work on oil and gas wells. Communicating through regular channels was nearly impossible after local cell and phone networks were knocked out by the devastating twister that killed 24 people and injured another 350. Luckily, his two half-ton trucks were equipped with fleet tracking equipment from GEOTrac Systems Inc. GEOTrac’s gear enables remote workers to send and receive text messages on a dashboard-mounted navigation device, through a satellite-powered GPS network, meaning no cell signal is required. After a few frantic hours, Mr. O’Rourke’s workers managed to get to safety.

It’s a dramatic example of what the array of signals technology sometimes called the Internet of Things can do for businesses. Simply defined, IoT is about connecting objects, from trucks to refrigerators and hydro meters, to the Internet. Data gleaned from the sensors and systems applied to these objects can then be used to monitor, control or redesign business processes.

The projections are huge: Networking equipment titan Cisco Systems Inc. believes IoT represents a $19-trillion (U.S.) global market and predicts that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

Most often Canadians hear about IoT in the context of wearable devices: things like the FitBit that promise to improve health and wellness, or more fully featured devices like Apple Watch and Google Glass that also extend such smartphone functions as messaging or Web searching. But while consumer technology is a hot area, IoT will likely have a greater impact in the less sexy parts of the economy: manufacturing, resources and energy, utilities and civic services.

Research from IDC Canada projects spending on IoT in Canada will reach as high as $6.5-billion (Canadian) by 2018, up from $2.8-billion in 2013. Tellingly, this year marked the research firm’s first attempt to forecast a Canadian market for IoT, and it acknowledges a lack of historic comparison could skew the predictions.

“Canada is actually lagging in IoT growth, behind both the U.S. and Asia-Pacific,” says Nigel Wallis, an IDC Canada Internet of Things analyst. “Everyone wants to be a fast follower, not a leader.”

Mr. Wallis says Canada is among the world leaders in tele-health, which connects remote communities with medical experts at big-city hospitals like Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children or Mount Sinai. GEOTrac and other fleet services have captured about a third of the oil and gas market in Canada. But there are more examples where we lag behind: When it comes to factory automation, Germany, Japan and some parts of the United States are in the lead, and Western Europe is further advanced with intelligent monitoring of emergency response workers.

A recent IDC survey highlighted one of the key issues with IoT: acceptance. Mr. Wallis says about 15 per cent of Canadian executives surveyed understand the case for IoT, and another 20 per cent think it has the potential to transform their entire enterprise. However, 42 per cent remain on the fence, largely because they have no way to calculate return on investment; the solutions are too new or at least new to their industry.

While those executives stay on the sidelines, the world’s technology firms are sprinting to own the market. Global giants Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel are in competition with Canadian players like BlackBerry Inc., which unveiled its IoT solution market in January. The Waterloo, Ont.-based company pitches its security reputation as part of its platform for connected vehicles, as well as shipping and asset tracking. At the same time, a constellation of smaller startups are racing to develop niche solutions for manufacturers, restaurateurs, building managers, utilities, oil drillers and smart homes.

Mr. Wallis describes four feverishly expanding segments: makers and installers of physical sensors; connection providers (land line, wireless, telecoms, etc.); storage and security hardware and software (server farms, the cloud) to hold on to and encrypt all the collected data; and finally the data analysis software. Some companies do all that in one solution; others focus on one piece of the spectrum.

“There are Canadian companies in a whole bunch of those different plays,” he says. Knowing how many of them there are at any given moment is tracking a moving target: “Globally, every three weeks there’s either an acquisition or a new company started up.”

Canadian Internet of Things Revenue by Industry, 2013–2018
Canadian Internet of Things Market Size by Industry, 2014
Compound annual growth rate (%) – Bubble size represents 2014 revenue

‘A massive shift’

Depending on your preference, you could call these systems IoT or Machine to Machine (M2M) or even The Internet of Everything (Cisco Systems’s twist on the slogan). The concept has been around for decades: In one of the first examples, students at Carnegie Mellon connected a Coca-Cola machine to the Internet back in 1982 (so they could check if their soda would be properly chilled). But even as the concept turned into reality in the past decade, the predicted IoT boom has yet to reshape the economy.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of naysayers, but this is still a massive shift,” says Stephen Gardiner, managing director of Accenture Digital in Canada, which consults on and helps implement IoT systems. “The integration of sensors, devices, connectivity and analytics into a business process … that’s very difficult for many of our clients to accomplish on their own.”

So far, the scale of the transformation required seems to be the most daunting feature of IoT for many Canadian companies.

One of Canada’s only IoT-focussed venture funds thinks the country has one unfair advantage over some of the global players: An advanced resource economy and vast geography offer a unique testing ground for Internet of Things companies.

Toronto’s McRock Capital only recently finished raising its first $65-million but has been tracking about 350 Canadian companies working on IoT solutions. The firm focuses on industrial companies, where co-founder and managing partner Scott MacDonald believes Canadians are primed to excel.

“The next thing to do is to go into the field,” he says. “We understand manufacturing in this country, we have natural resources…. If we’re going to compete on a global stage, go after what we’re good at.”

According to Accenture’s research, companies like mining giant Rio Tinto that invest in IoT are seeing productivity increase by 20 times at major field sites. In some parts of Canada’s oil patch, the investments have already been made.

“We did IoT stuff before it was labelled that way, in oil and gas it was called SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition],” says Yogi Shulz, a partner with Calgary-based Corvelle Consulting. “The Internet has contributed hugely to squeezing more value out of the SCADA data: 20 years ago it was hard to move that data around, the tools for analyzing were not that good. It was a nightmare. ”

He says Canada’s oil sands are rich soil for IoT applications, estimating that 80 or 90 per cent of Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage drilling (SAGD) wells are connected so engineers can get real-time temperature and pressure readings.

“When you have better data,” Mr. Shulz says, “you can produce more oil.”


Finding efficiencies

IDC predicts that in Canada the number of devices connected to IoT solutions will grow from 28 million “units” in 2013 to 114 million by 2018 (that estimate excludes such consumer wearable devices as smartwatches).

“Digital is the single biggest growth leader that Accenture has,” says Mr. Gardiner. “Roughly three-quarters of large companies are investing 20 per cent [of their research and development spending] on big data and analytics, which IoT is driving.”

But at this early stage of Canadian IoT entrepreneurship, McRock Capital’s Mr. MacDonald says that while a wide variety of companies are in the game, few big players have emerged. “I haven’t seen any that are $20-million [in revenue] yet, but there’s a bunch of them that are sort of $1-million to $8-million in revenue,” he says.

Several revenue-positive Canadian IoT startups are targeting industrial customers, however. Among them is Bit Stew Systems Inc., which just raised $17.2-million in financing from GE Ventures on May 12.

According to Bit Stew CEO Kevin Collins, IoT is “a little easier to explain to industrial customers, because they are suffering the pain right now.” Global oil prices hit a six-year low in March, and difficult times have made companies working in the sector hungry to find efficiencies and eager to experiment with technology that can help their bottom lines, Mr. Collins said.

Mr. Shulz agreed, adding production engineers dealing with the oil shock are willing to try just about anything to improve margins. “Everybody is thinking about this all day, it’s a myopic focus.”

Bit Stew software can analyze a volume of data that would take an army of humans to monitor. Right now the company monitors 50 million connected devices around the world, but its systems were built to process data from one billion IoT sensors.

That allows a big utility customer – such as BC Hydro – to monitor voltage both at the substation and also at the 3,000 smart meters down the line. Noticing a pattern of fluctuations that would indicate the meter is about to fail saves time and money, Mr. Collins says. He estimates his software added $15-million to $20-million a year in savings to BC Hydro’s smart metering program that began in 2011, which is estimated to have saved the utility a total of $80-million a year.

BC Hydro declined to comment on its use of the technology.

One of McRock’s first investments was a $3-million deal in February with Moncton, N.B.-based RtTech Software, which analyzes sensors on manufacturing equipment to pinpoint excess energy use or help predict equipment failure. The company has clients in more than a dozen countries.

“There’s no better validation than the customer wants the product,” Mr. MacDonald says.


Falling costs

One of the ways executives might discover an IoT solution for their business is through a sales rep from one of Canada’s telecom providers.

All of Canada’s telecoms have to look at investing in IoT services as a defensive move, according to Mr. Wallis. “Take something like smart homes – thermostats, front door locks, smart TVs – if [the telcos] are not the one providing the connection layer to those homeowners they might get pushed out over time from something that’s been a source of revenues for them.”

Bell Mobility offers such IoT services as electronic signage, fleet and asset tracking and vehicle telematics (like an airline’s black box data recorder, but for cars), while Rogers Communications Inc. has experimented with mobile couponing for retailers and grew its wireless IoT/M2M connections by 24 per cent in 2014.

In December, 2014, Telus Corp. became the first major Canadian telecom company to open up an IoT marketplace, an app store-like collection that has grown to 62 services from at least 22 providers (some services are subcontracted out). Shawn Sanderson, vice-president of IoT solutions at Telus, is pitching IoT as a better, smarter way to do business and has deployed the company’s army of sales reps to offer IoT solutions to their existing land-line and wireless business clients.

Innovation can be found in even more unlikely places. In most restaurants, health and safety regulations require a manual check of all the temperatures of the ovens, deep fryers, coolers and refrigerators. That means an employee, three times a day, has to walk around the restaurant making paper records.

As a pilot project, Kitchener, Ont.-based BlueRover Inc. installed a system of about 50 IoT sensors to monitor all those devices in a Boston Pizza restaurant in Woodstock, Ont. The sensors record data all day, and can let you know in real time if a freezer is getting too warm. And they offer safety benefits. “You don’t have to stick your arm inside the pizza oven to get a temperature recording,” says CEO Loreto Saccucci. Potentially, the system can save a couple of worker hours a day and reduce human error on logs, benefits that would add up rapidly if Boston Pizza implements the technology across its 350 stores, as BlueRover hopes it will.

Founded in 2007, BlueRover got started because it saw an opportunity in the stringent tracking requirements of then-new Safe Food for Canadians Act, which forced shippers of food to improve inspection and monitoring capacity. One of BlueRover’s clients includes Sysco Corp., the food logistics giant.

But what happened with another client, Brinks, is an example of the technological alchemy that can come with upgrading a traditional business with IoT sensors. Everyone knows Brinks Inc. picks up cash, coins and gold in its armoured vehicles. But after adding BlueRover tech to track its fleet of trucks, it realized the new systems could also detect humidity and temperature inside the rolling safes, allowing the company to move into a new business: shipping highly sensitive goods like museum pieces and art as well as pharmaceuticals. “They had the perfect story,” says Mr. Saccucci. “Their vehicles are safe.”

One big driver in the growth of IoT systems has been falling costs, not just of connectivity, but in sensors and the costs of operating data collecting and analyzing servers.

“Three years ago we looked at the cost of compute power, and [a startup] couldn’t afford to buy that IT infrastructure,” says McRock’s Mr. Macdonald. “Now that you can rent the cloud from AWS [Amazon Web Services] it becomes very cheap to build your company. The cost of sensors are dropping dramatically, and aggregation of data is becoming cheap, with [Microsoft software] Hadoop and other things.”

Accenture research supports that observation. Mr. Gardiner estimates that in the last decade sensor costs have fallen by half while bandwidth costs are 40 times cheaper and cloud computing is 60 times cheaper.

Where IDC sees costs going back up is in the management of the massive pool of data the growing number of sensors will generate. Mr. Wallis’s survey suggests in the next three years it will start causing issues for corporate networks: “Sensor-based solutions typically have very small ‘chunks’ of data, but the issue for network administrators is that IoT, by its nature, tends toward ‘chattiness.’”

Of course, those issues will be just another market opportunity for an innovator with a solution to all the chatter.


Revving up

When the right solution arrives, IoT can reshape an industry practically overnight. In 2013, Desjardins introduced a car insurance plan called Ajusto that installed an IoT telematic device that tracked a driver’s habits.

It was designed as a way to offer discounts to good drivers, but there were fears in the industry that consumers would balk at the privacy implications of having everything from speed, braking intensity and travel times and distances reported to the insurance company. According to Accenture’s Mr. Gardiner, something like 40 per cent of Desjardins new customers signed up for Ajusto in the first year, and starting in 2014 many of Canada’s auto insurers – including the Co-operators, Allstate and Aviva – rushed to offer similar tracking programs.

The data a company collects can also be used to build a new business. For instance, some 2,000 companies have put GeoTRAC gear in 275,000 trucks, and the company has mapped more than 600,000 kilometres of private lease roads for the oil and gas industry, a crucial data set not found on Google or other public maps. This accumulation has allowed the company to develop “journey management” software to help route planning that accounts for truck height restrictions and areas with chemical transport rules.

And a simple thing, like tracking trucks, can help a company save money. Mr. O’Rourke’s business, Sigit Automation, had to become even more cost-conscious as the price of oil fell rapidly in recent months; while he managed 85 people during the oil boom, now he’s down to just 12 drivers. In the past, workers often treated company vehicles as if they were rentals, making personal stops, going too fast or failing to report accidents. With sensors, monitoring has saved the company money on damages, gas, maintenance, idle times and mileage – all for about $40 a month per vehicle, Mr. O’Rourke says.

“We’d hit a lot of deer,” he explains. “You can take a deer off a fender and it’s $4,000 damage, but your truck’s out of commission for two months while it’s at the body shop.” The solution, he says, was in telling drivers to slow down and give themselves time to avoid a collision. Once drivers might have ignored that advice, but now he can ensure they follow it thanks to GEOTrac’s reporting software.

“Touch wood we haven’t hit a deer probably in three or four years,” he says. “We used to hit about three a year.”


Canada’s sweet spot

One final point that technology companies across Canada often speak to is the availability and quality of local technical and engineering talent, especially compared with the superheated labour market of Silicon Valley.

Bit Stew’s Mr. Collins spent 10 years in Silicon Valley, and 30 years in the industry, working on everything from encryption to network engineering. He started his company in California, but returned to his hometown Vancouver in part because this is where he could find employees that understand manufacturing, utilities and mining and resource industries.

“You’re accessing a talent pool that understand the problem space quite well,” Mr. Collins says. “They are not all mathematicians, but they know power engineering and they can apply the technology.”

Mr. MacDonald’s investment philosophy tells him that given the smaller pool of available private venture capital, Canadian investments will go much further in areas where we have some unique insight.

Not that the returns on investment are necessarily worse: The golden example of McRock’s investment thesis is RuggedCom Inc., which built outdoor network equipment designed to withstand both brutal Canadian winters and blazing hot summers. The venture funding arm of Ontario Power Generation chipped in about $3-million in a funding round while Mr. MacDonald was working there in the mid-2000s. By 2012, it was recording $110-million in annual sales before it was bought by global giant Siemens for $440-million.

If Silicon Valley investors spend billions on IoT tech primarily as a way to sell consumer goods like wearable tech and remote-operated coffee machines, Mr. Collins’ vision for Canada’s IoT sector is more in line with the engineers at Cisco or GE who collect streams of advanced manufacturing data that can save billions in preventative maintenance and equipment replacement costs.

“It’s unsexy,” he says, even though his private company did double-digit millions in revenue last year.

The Industrial Internet of Things doesn’t have quite the same ringing promise of utopian smart cities and better living through biometric data analysis. But turning data into operational advantages in the country’s key industries will give Canada a leg up in the burgeoning connected economy.

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Clean Tech Stages A Comeback In The Smart Building Space

After the clean tech boom went bust, the industry seemed to disappear from the tech world’s focus as quickly as the billions of dollars that had been invested.

But one sector — energy efficiency — has made a quick comeback with a little help from the Internet of Things. And the same investors that got burned before are rushing back to try their hand in a new version of the old game.

Veteran Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers took a particularly hard hit in the clean tech crash, when portfolio companies such as Fisker Automotive and MiaSolé went belly up and lost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars. But partner Trae Vassallo has not been deterred — instead, she’s leading a second pass at energy tech that has already spawned winners such as Nest, acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, and Opower, which went public in April of last year.

It’s really been made possible only recently just by the incredible proliferation of mobile devices, our ability to do mesh networking intelligently, and to have a really inexpensive microchip that can do the processing.

“The first wave, which in many cases didn’t work out so well, was about funding development of core physics around energy generation,” says Scott Harmon, CEO of Noesis, a lending marketplace that provides capital to energy-saving commercial building projects. This time around, however, “most of the VC money is flowing to things like financing and automation systems and digital software — things that frankly venture people know better and are more comfortable with,” Harmon says.

According to CrunchBase data, this second wave of energy tech is gaining traction in the venture community. Venture investments in Internet of Things and smart building startups have risen steadily over the past few years, accounting for nearly 40% of all clean energy rounds in 2014 compared to 20% in 2012. Connected device startups and SaaS companies like Nest and Opower are the new leaders of the venture-backed pack, seeing broad adoption with a vastly smaller burn rate than the Solyndra’s of the past decade.


In the home, Nest is a clear winner. But a winner in commercial buildings has been slower to emerge.

“If you look at who dominates technology in buildings today, it’s these old industrial companies, the Honeywells and the Siemens,” says Vassallo. “Those guys don’t know cloud, they don’t know data, it’s not like they’ve got platforms with APIs and things like that.”

It’s clear there’s a lot of money at stake here — the global building automation and controls market is going to reach $55 billion by 2020. Yet the financing challenges have been a major blocker for widespread adoption so far.

“Your average control system or lighting system might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and one of the big impediments to a building owner is that they don’t have that budget reserved to pay for it all at once,” says Harmon, “especially if the system isn’t worn out and the lights and the air conditioning still come on every day.”

The financing issue is also being tackled by Noesis, a company that’s taken a page out of the SolarCity playbook to fund the energy efficiency projects of its customers. Noesis is working with over 150 companies to provide financing for commercial energy efficiency and solar projects, ranging from commercial HVAC company Trane to private LED lighting system provider Titan LED. These companies represent about $10 million weekly and $1.1 billion annually in proposed projects.

Once facilities departments are financially able to integrate new technology into commercial spaces, startups will have a major opportunity to innovate in a largely untouched sector and the applications of these systems are only going to get more interesting.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine a world filled with connected buildings, where when an earthquake hits one building, alarms go off in buildings ten miles away to warn people before the shaking begins. And when first responders arrive on the scene, they can pull up an image with the precise location of every occupant in the building.

Original post: Techcrunch


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TELUS and SensorSuite to deliver “connected building” technology to Canadian businesses


TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU)  today announced the launch of the TELUS IoT Marketplace ( to help Canadian business accelerate the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) tech. The marketplace is designed to allow businesses to quickly deploy IoT solutions, while acting as a lead generation and sales channel for developers. TELUS has also committed its sales and marketing teams to provide support.

SensorSuite Corporation (, a leading provider of wireless sensing and monitoring solutions, today announced an exciting new collaboration to deliver wireless monitoring through Telus’ innovative IoT Marketplace ( They are teaming up to help business managers and employees constantly keep a finger on the vital pulse of their operations, using cellular-connected wireless sensors and monitoring solutions that remotely monitor business facilities, processes and activities.

“IoT technology has tremendous potential to make Canadians businesses more productive and profitable, but amidst the hype and predictions it can be challenging to know where to start,” said Shawn Sanderson, TELUS’ vice-president of Internet of Things. “With the TELUS IoT Marketplace, we’ve carefully selected some of the most innovative IoT technology on the market and packaged it as ready-to-implement solutions; making it easier for businesses to take advantage of this game-changing technology.”

SensorSuite is an official launch partner and offers new and reliable business monitoring solutions across various applications, including boiler room, fridge, and other machine monitoring as well as risk reduction solutions for water leak detection and energy management.

Based on an IDC study it commissioned earlier this year, TELUS is expecting Canadian IoT spending to reach $21 billion by the end of 2018, with 43% of Canadian business having deployed a solution by that time.









About SensorSuite Inc.

SensorSuite Inc. is a real-time machine intelligence platform.  We reduce operational risks and improve the performance and efficiency of machines, equipment, assets, and things.  We are a leading-edge, real-time sensor and control, cloud analytics platform that empowers executives and managers to extract more value out of their assets, space, and equipment; and make more informed decisions.  Visit for more information.

About TELUS 
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $11.8 billion of annual revenue and 13.5 million customer connections, including 8.0 million wireless subscribers, 3.2 million wireline network access lines, 1.45 million Internet subscribers and 888,000 TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider.


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