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Locally-Manufactured Device Reduces Resultant Costs For Insurance Industry






A locally-manufactured smart energy platform that allows users to take advantage of direct savings by better monitoring and controlling their energy consumption in real-time also has the potential to cut costs for the insurance industry and its policy holders.

This is because the platform and the devices connected to it will predict geyser failure before it occurs. With about 250 000 electrical geysers being replaced annually, pre-empting a geyser event is a critical function of what carbonTRACK does. It achieves this by detecting leaks in the drip tray and alerting the homeowner to the imminent problem. This should prevent incidental damage, consequently reducing claims and boosting margins for the industry and protecting home-owner assets.

Finance and insurance organisations will also benefit should the proposed ‘Green Geyser’ programme go ahead and policyholders are assisted to replace their electric geysers with solar geysers. Here, the system will mitigate risk as it allows for proactive maintenance, and its reporting protocols will alert insurers and installers when the geyser is performing below par.

According to carbonTRACK SOUTH AFRICA CEO, Irvan Damon, the platform was jointly created by with its Australian sister company  to allow users to remotely measure, monitor and manage their electricity consumption using their phone, tablet or desktop.

Called carbonTRACK, it interfaces with conventional electrical hot water geysers, renewable energy devices such as solar water heating geysers, heat pumps as well as tracking solar panel energy generation.

The carbonTRACK device is easy to install, and the software interface is simple and easy to understand. Savings are transparent and understandable. Under certain conditions, energy savings in the residential sector have peaked at up to 35% of the energy bill.

Damon, a local supporter of the Internet of Things, said that, possibly more than anywhere else in the world, electricity grids in Africa are under enormous pressure and the lack of supply has severe repercussions for users, residential as well as business.

Additionally, consumers increasingly expect both content and control from their mobile smart devices and laptops. More and more, they are demanding to receive content on their phones and tablets, and to be able to manage more than just their finances from their phones, given today’s connected world.

“The Internet of Things (IoTs) – or as I would prefer – the Internet of Green Things (IoGTS), refers to a network of connected machines or appliances embedded with sensors, digitally communicating bytes of information across the internet to devices like your  smart phone, tablet or desktop,” he said.

“Technology experts such as Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) predict that by 2020 the amount of devices on the planet will fast approach 50 billion – seven for every person. These intelligent devices will accelerate lifestyle improvements, business efficiencies, household safety, healthcare innovations and could have a profound ability to change the way we deal with climate change. carbonTRACK is firmly embedded into the IoT economy.

“In South Africa, with its spiralling electricity tariffs representing an increasingly important cost centre for consumers, monitoring and switching energy loads are an urgent requirement.

“Embracing IoGT technologies like the carbonTRACK platform will allow us as a nation to more effectively control factory floors, utilities and traffic flow as well as our precious natural resources.

“carbonTRACK can communicate the value proposition of being energy efficient in a simple, convenient and even fun manner. In addition to ‘improved customer education’ about grid stability and efficiencies, it can create more personal relevance through access to real-time data for the end user.”

carbonTRACK units are manufactured locally in South Africa, creating jobs and contributing to the green economy. 

Once installed in the household by an accredited installer, they communicate with the software platform via the internet to allow users to:

  • Remotely monitor and track household power usage
  • Monitor temperature and switch the geyser on and off­
  • Control the pool pump
  • Detect leaks in the geyser drip tray
  • Remotely set geyser temperatures
  • Detect runaway temperatures on the geyser and avoid damage
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Cut energy bills

Some electricity facts in South Africa:

  • the price of electricity will continue to increase by 8%  year-on-year from 2013 to 2018
  • 14 631 000 households, of these 10 045 000 are 5+ rooms
  • households consume about 18% of the country’s energy
  • proportion of people with access to the electricity grid should rise to at least 90% by 2030

Some facts about carbonTRACK’s history in South Africa:

Leading up to the appointment of a local manufacturing partner, CarbonTRACK SA piloted extensively amongst residential to commercial entities as well as power utility, Eskom.  These included leading banking institutions, Samsung, South Africa’s national mobile operators, Higherground Restaurant, Kong Restaurant, and certain insurance houses. Aquarius Underwriting Managers (now incorporated into Hollard).

Having recently been endorsed by the Eskom rebate programme, the locally manufactured units have complied with all local and international performance and safety tests:

  • SANS IEC 60950/SANS IEC 61010/SANS IEC 60730
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility
  • ICASA-approved
  • SANS IEC 60669/SANS 181:2004
  • LOAs issued by the NRCS/RCC number 1302637

They’ve also garnered the SABS mark of approval and are a member of Proudly South African, while the manufacturing partner has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector and is ISO 9001 compliant. 

Source: Petra Peacock on behalf of
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