SMART energy monitors are being rolled out by the Caribbean tourism industry to reduce extremely high utility costs.
The Buddy Ohm was developed by South Australian company Buddy Platform to help users moderate water and electricity use.
Using sensors, the device is able to deliver real-time information to the cloud, enabling building managers to make the necessary changes to reduce costs as efficiently as possible.
Buddy platform has now partnered with leading mobile operator Digicel for its Buddy Ohm product to be marketed, sold, distributed and installed across Digicel’s 26 markets in the Caribbean and Central America.
Buddy CEO David McLauchlan said the new deal was a big opportunity for the Ohm to expand across the world.
“Tourism is the largest driver of economic growth for Jamaica and the Caribbean region but many tourism operators are faced with extremely high bills for water and electricity,” he said.
“Working in partnership with Digicel, Buddy Ohm will help these businesses reduce their resource consumption and associated costs, which will have a positive knock-on effect for the region.
“The partnership with Digicel will also have a positive impact on our Adelaide based operations and we look forward to growing our engineering and management team to support our business growth.”
Hotels require a lot of energy to create unique tourist experiences so monitoring and optimizing usage of electricity and water is important.
According to the World Bank, electricity prices in the Caribbean are three to four times higher than the United States and in small tourism dependent islands like Barbados, air conditioning alone accounts for 48 percent of hotel electricity consumption.
The Ohm monitors environmental conditions around hotels and are powered by batteries that last a year, enabling it to be used in areas where power is scarce.
The system uses pulse sensors to track the flow of steam, water and gas to provide a complete view of usage.
Digicel is the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean and as such has key relationships with some of the largest energy and resource consumers in the region.
Digicel CEO in the Caribbean and Central America Vanessa Slowey said she was immediately able to see the market benefit of the product.
“As a real test of the product’s capabilities, we installed Ohm in our own headquarters in Jamaica,” she said.
Last year, Buddy Platform established its Australian headquarters in South Australia’s capital Adelaide, its first office outside the United States.
David McLauchlan had spent the previous 15 years working for Microsoft in Seattle, founding Buddy Platform, and acting as an advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
McLauchlan said he was approached by almost every Australian state but chose Adelaide because of the lifestyle, ease of movement and the high standard of engineering talent on offer.