Energy retailer Origin Energy has made its debut in the smart home market, launching Home HQ, a device that enables customers to remotely monitor and control appliances from a mobile app, via a range of smart sensors and smart power plugs.

The device comes from US based software company People Power in which Origin Energy invested $US1.2 million in May 2017. It has been developed in partnership with People Power and Origin's recently launched O hub, a Melbourne-based innovation centre dedicated to rapid prototyping, trialling and commercialisation of new product for Origin customers.

Origin Energy’s executive general manager, future energy and business development, Tony Lucas, said the company’s investment in People Power was part of its strategy to develop digital led solutions for its customers.

“This collaboration with People Power has been critical in allowing us to rapidly prototype and trial a connected smart home solution and apply what we learnt into the product we are now launching for sale,” he said.

People Power said preliminary trials of Home HQ had succeeded in providing users peace of mind and control of their homes, encouraging broader market deployment.

According to People Power, “Home HQ's geo-location technology allows users to set rules for their connected appliances based on whether or not they are home, and sets their smart lights to come on if they are not home by a certain time. The smart plugs allow customers to remotely control electrical appliances via their mobile phone and do things like check if they have left an appliance on, or schedule a fan to switch on if it is a hot day.

“Entry sensors and motion detectors can be used to monitor when kids get home from school, or can be set up in an elderly relative's home to provide an alert if no motion is detected by a set time in a nominated room.”

People Power was recently named a Cool Vendor in Gartner's annual ‘Cool Vendors in Connected Home, 2017’ report. People Power says its platform “introduces machine learning and true intelligence into the connected home, enabling service providers to offer unique micro services to consumers while shifting revenue models from hardware device sales to recurring service revenues.”

The Home HQ starter kit costs $199 and includes a gateway, temperature and humidity sensor, smart plug, smart light bulb, a motion sensor and two entry sensors.

However, it is presently available only in Victoria. The FAQs on the Home HQ web site say: “For those outside Victoria, we’ll register your interest and you’ll be the first to know when Home HQ is available in your state.  Any orders placed outside of Victoria will be refunded.”

People Power said: “Origin will announce details of product availability in other states and territories in 2018.”