This is what the world has been waiting for. Zero-standby technology by Zurich-based electrical engineer Felix Adamczyk is creating quite a stir.
“Sleeping” televisions, ovens, and computers consume 810-gigawatt hours per year – and that’s just in Switzerland. This corresponds to 1.4% of total electricity consumption and costs a four-person household up to 200 Swiss francs. Felix Adamczyk, a former Master’s student at the Institute of Power Electronic Systems at ETH Zurich, has now successfully built a control chip that can radically reduce the energy consumption of a piece of electronic equipment in standby mode – from up to 15 watts to just 0.0005 watts.
This multi-prize-winning innovation from the 30-year-old engineer comes at exactly the right time. Says Adamczyk: “The EU is currently working on across-the-board minimum specifications for equipment in standby mode, which are planned for introduction in 2018.” Needless to say, interest from the electronic industry is high. Sales of Adamczyk’s Smart Home Technology – currently employing five people – multiplied in 2016 and this trend is set to continue. “The Internet of Things,” says the young entrepreneur, “will create an explosion in the number of networked devices.”
STARTUP CAMPUS interviewed the Alumni and ZURICH START AWARD Winner of the Business Creation course to find out more about this fascinating zero-standby technology:
What is your background? How did you come up with the idea?
Our team has been working successfully for some time in the area of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and smart homes technologies. Products in these sectors are developed to give added value to end users – this is usually connected with greater comfort and energy savings. Since we are very familiar with the technology, we had to come to the conclusion that it is not always possible to save energy with the solutions currently available. On the contrary, most systems are extremely inefficient when in their standby mode. This results in a serious problem in the electronics market because normally people don’t own just one product but several different products. If you took the projected standby consumption for the IoT market in the year 2020, this would equate to the annual CO2 emission from 55 million cars!
What do you want to achieve with your venture? What motivates you?
We want to establish our zero-standby solutions more firmly. To do so, we want to focus not only on IoT solutions but also on household appliances, air conditioners, televisions, and other devices that should have zero standby. This could have an immense impact on global energy consumption.
How did you go about developing your project? Are you able to do the programming yourselves?
Our team has a strong technical background, which includes expertise in hardware and software development. We therefore develop everything in-house.
What role do strategic partners play in your environment or the further development of your start-up?
Strategic partners are decisive for us. With their help, we can explore visions that are easier to implement with the support of a partner. There are wonderful companies in Switzerland with which we can collaborate. However, we not only choose our partners strategically, but also our customers. The right market positioning in a sufficiently large market is a key component of zero-standby technology.
Do you work full-time or part-time in developing your idea? How do you deal with the workload?
In our company, the core team works full-time. We also have part-time employees who help us in the day-to-day business as well as students from the ETH with whom we collaborate on a free-lance basis.
We are currently recruiting employees for new projects, so our team is growing. We are looking for people who want help us make a real impact. If you are interested, check out our website and contact us at www.smart-home-technology.ch
Where would you like to be in three years’ time?
In three years, we want to be world market leaders in the area of zero standby technology. We want to see our label, Zero Standby Inside, on electrical appliances.
Why would someone want to invest in your startup?
If an investor is a customer, he or she currently has an early-bird advantage. Being one of the first on the Zero Standby Inside market is a fantastic sales argument. Traditional investors appreciate the great scalability of our solution and the rapid development of our company.
What would you do differently next time?
We would love to be even faster.
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