Living Lab relaunches for innovation trials after lockdown upgrades

Published: 11 September 2020

The Living Lab has relaunched for innovation trials after undergoing significant upgrades over the six-months of lockdown – including a new digital integration platform.

The Living Lab of connected homes is now truly open, interoperable and scalable, enabling innovative products, services and business models to be tested and integrated with mainstream smart heating controls, smart meters, IoT devices, and electric vehicle chargers.

This includes leading smart home firm, tado°, which has now installed their zonal heating controls into a significant number of Living Lab homes.

The relaunch follows soon after the Prime Minister’s Council for Science & Technology named the Living Lab as a key place to run “trials and experimentation to understand user behaviours and responses to technologies, particularly as the use of decentralised and digitalised technology changes the energy system”.

Heat consumer graphic


In particular, the Living Lab is interested in speaking to Electric Vehicle Smart Charging businesses that are keen to launch or scale new products.

The upgraded Living Lab, with new digital integration platform developed by SysMech, enables:

  • Energy suppliers to trial energy service propositions with mainstream smart home controls
  • Products to be installed quickly and easily into homes using the new digital integration platform to ensure interoperability
  • Access to a wealth of consumer and technical data, to rapidly design, market-test and launch smart energy innovations
  • Behind-the-meter flexibility to be tested
  • Testing of the value of new business models with real consumers.

The Living Lab will also work with innovators to provide insights and evidence to Government and Regulators to influence new market arrangements, policies and regulations to ensure UK business can capitalise on clean growth as we accelerate efforts to decarbonise the UK energy system.

Energy Systems Catapult business lead for the Living Lab, Rebecca Sweeney, said: “The Living Lab is a national asset that provides energy innovators with a safe, affordable, shared space to the test, demonstrate, de-risk and scale-up.

“During lockdown we have invested in a new digital integration platform that enables us to quickly and easily install both new innovations and off-the-shelf products.

“The digital integration platform is like a universal adapter, offering interoperability – physically, digitally, and commercially – between the smart heating control systems and IoT devices being used by Living Lab homes.

“Data from these in-home devices can be streamed and analysed by our data scientists, while our consumer insights team is available to provide a richer picture of how the people within the Living Lab are interacting with the innovative products and services.

“At the same time as the new platform was being developed, we were upgrading homes with new smart heating controls. For this initial phase we selected tado° and have been impressed with both the usability of the tado° system and the support received when integrating their technology into the Living Lab.

“It’s an exciting time for the Living Lab as we develop this national capability to test and demonstrate energy innovations, market arrangements, policy and regulations with real consumers – to accelerate to a Net Zero carbon future. “

tado° Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Christian Deilmann, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Energy Systems Catapult on the Living Lab project.

“The impact of COVID-19 has further accelerated consumer demand for smart energy-efficient solutions at home.

“The Living Lab, supported by the Prime Minister’s Council for Science & Technology, is helping to demonstrate the real value that smart technology can bring to homes and the environment as a whole.”