eSMART is a spin-off of the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne), founded in 2011, that develops intelligent management systems for residential multifamily homes segment. Available locally or remotely, that offers a connected dashboard in the living room with many functionalities among them let’s mention the possibility for the inhabitants to know where, when, and how they consume energy and provide them the necessary tools to understand it and then contribute to reduce it.

Interview with Jérôme Ramelet, Ing. Dipl. HES Electronic / Executive MBA, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Member of the Board at eSMART Technologies SA.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Jérôme Ramelet: We patented worldwide a technology that communicate over the existing electrical network and therefore requires no additional cables and that can be integrated effortlessly and cost-effectively into new and existing buildings. The micro-modules mounted directly behind the switches communicate via the existing wiring.

eSMART also meets advanced needs for ecologically responsible construction or renovation and makes buildings that can evolve, that are prepared for future services. Building managers, connected to each object benefit from services connected for tele-reading of meters, facility monitoring or communication with the occupants.

E.E: What’s the main advantage of your solution?

J.R: With eSMART, all the above functions are available without any major installation work and at a reasonable cost. eSMART products emit no electromagnetic waves and do not require heavy work, no need to install cables throughout the house or modify the switchbox. Thanks to the easy installation, eSMART has amongst its customers some of the major construction companies and property investors in Switzerland and Europe.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

J.R: Through a touch screen in the living room or the smartphone app, building functions such as the video intercom, heating, lighting, or blinds can be controlled centrally. The screen also displays the consumption of electricity, heating, and water in real-time, informing in this manner occupants about their energy consumption.

The digital solution of eSMART also reduces building management costs by giving the building manager access to consumption data and allowing him to communicate with occupants about neighborhood activities and information.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Jérôme Ramelet, Ing. Dipl. HES Electronic / Executive MBA, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Member of the Board at eSMART Technologies SA.

J.R: The potential is still great, as more than 40,000 new homes are built every year in Switzerland. We started successfully entering the Benelux Market in 2018 by equipping new built projects as the Capelli towers in Luxemburg which are the two highest residential buildings in the Grand Duchy. Since 2019 we entered also the Romanian markets equipping over 100 flats in Bucharest and in 2022, we started our activity in Germany by hiring 3 sales employees and a dedicated team of customer success manager to help our growth there. 

We see a clear trend: in cities and their agglomerations, many new buildings are equipped with Smart solutions, and, in the last two years, more and more existing buildings are being added. For more than 10 years, eSMART has been the best-selling solutions in Switzerland, with 9’560 flats equipped and an additional 2,100 in construction stage, and is synonymous with the sustainable, connected buildings.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

J.R: The networking and interoperability of the various suppliers, such as the connection of the e-mobility/charging stations in the network of the association for self-consumption and their billing, which is complex. eSMART has already realized several projects based on micro-grid principles. We are also constantly working on implementing the needs of residents, property managers and investors to provide new functionalities in our solution.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

J.R: eSMART has been offering to see for real-time energy consumption as a standard feature, which helps to make residents aware of their energy consumption. This makes it possible to actively save energy. It has been proven that residents save between 13 and 15% of energy with this eSMART function, compared to conventionally built buildings. This is a breakthrough in terms of energy consumption change of behavior of the tenants, 65% of our tenants admit having changed their energy perception and behaviors based on the real time information they get from the eSMART solution. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?

J.R: With the energy crisis, smart building issues have become to the forefront in a much more general way than before. Those who only yesterday laughed at home automation systems as expensive and superfluous gadgets are now developing a serious interest. In the meantime, homeowners and their tenants are no longer just asking for environmentally friendly solutions, but also and above all for energy-efficient solutions.

In the face of higher efficiency targets, attention is being paid to comprehensive offers that enable the networking and even better use of individual systems and equipment. The central objective remains to achieve maximum comfort and safety with minimum restrictions. In concrete terms, this means that the inhabitants of the house or apartment will naturally use intelligent applications to manage their daily lives. These tools should provide an overview of the home and should contribute to decarbonization of the real estate sector that still emits a major part of the CO2 worldwide.