Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Sauce explores the Internet of Things to boost businesses

Smart tech specialist Sauce, which has grown tenfold in just three years, is working with one of the UK’s leading home heating providers to revolutionise its business.

Based at Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation tech hub, Sauce team members deploy Internet of Things technologies to capture data to power Artificial Intelligence and other advanced applications.

The company is working with Ideal Boilers to create and develop a smart heating system using IoT technologies that enable devices and everyday objects to communicate and interact, and to be remotely monitored and controlled, over the Internet.

Sauce has delivered a major project to establish Ideal Boilers in the smart heating space with a product called Ideal Touch Connect. As well as enabling customers to control their heating systems remotely, from anywhere in the world, the system also provides real-time performance information, opening up the potential for product maintenance and development through access to huge amounts of actionable data.

Subsequently, Sauce has developed the system further with new features, including integration with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, so householders can operate their heating systems through voice commands. Other features include geolocation, so heating automatically turns off when the home is empty and switches back on when the first person starts to return.

Sauce’s expertise in deploying smart technologies is driving exponential growth, with more staff joining every month and turnover in the year to March 2019 coming close to £1m, with at least a further 40% revenue growth forecast for the current year.

Sauce was founded by friends Matt Gibson, John Polling, and Jim Wardlaw in 2016 when they were among tech specialists using the co-working space at C4DI. Sauce was born, with the name a play on the development term source code, and Matt Weldon joining as a fourth joint owner shortly afterwards to become Chief Executive.

The business has worked with major players in industries as diverse as fintech, energy, retail, logistics and healthcare. Clients include global wind power leader Siemens Gamesa; the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, RB; and technology innovator Giacom.

Sauce created an award-winning digital system for Siemens Gamesa enabling human resources personnel and shift leaders to update instantly information on workers at the company’s Hull wind turbine blade factory and a mobile app which employees access to see their working hours, overtime and remaining annual leave allowance.

Matt Weldon said: “Our business is all about helping clients to do business smarter and better, through technology.

“We see ourselves as a fast-tech business. Unlike traditional software companies, we’re able to be much more agile in how we approach developing solutions for clients because we recognise the world of software changes daily.

“There are always new things coming out and we consider whether we can apply them to an existing or future project.

“We’ve gone from three people to 30 in three years and we’re not stopping there. There are so many opportunities for us because the work that we do is difficult, as it is so specialist, but also so important to the industries we work in. It’s hard to hire the people to do this in a large, traditional company and that’s where we come in.”

Owned by Groupe Atlantic, a major European player in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors, Ideal Boilers is the second largest player in the UK market for domestic wall-mounted boilers.

Based in Hull, Ideal has been manufacturing and supplying boilers for more than 100 years and is now working with Sauce to ensure its products meet the requirements of today’s customers for energy efficient, intelligent and convenient heating systems.

John Polling, Sauce’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “Ideal Boilers is a brilliant example of a traditional business that has really bought into digital. They now have their own in-house IoT team, who are all really switched on and who we work really closely with.

“We create the software, because that’s not their speciality, while they implement the work that we do and link with the builders of the hardware. They are the in-house innovators. They act as a bridge between the worlds of manufacturing and smart software.”

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