22 Jun 2017
Interview: Monitoring Energy Consumption in the Office with En-trak
Question (Q): Could you give us a brief introduction of your company?
Answer (A): En-trak is an award-winning real-time energy monitoring system designed and proven to help businesses. We help our clients optimise energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and enhance their green efforts.
We take a “hardware + software + consultancy” approach. Most energy management systems are designed only for engineers, yet performance depends on the decisions and behaviours of many.
That’s why we chose to design En-trak for everyone and make energy management simple.
Q: How did En-trak begin?
A: We started in 2008 under Evergreen Power Limited (EPL) exporting solar- and wind-powered products to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Soon after, we began to do engineering and contracting works. We undertook numerous notable projects for prestigious clients such as MTRC, China State Construction, and Housing Authority.
In 2011, we decided to introduce the “Solar for School” programme when the HKSAR Government initiated the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) to encourage local schools to install solar panels on roofs.
But we soon became frustrated when we realised that the students were not actually learning much about energy conservation. Rooftops were considered out of bounds for students due to safety.
Then in 2012, we developed our first real-time Energy Management System for schools to inspire and engage students in understanding when, where, and how they are using electricity in their schools. The concept achieved instant success and was quickly adopted by hundreds of schools in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau.
We were emboldened by the positive market feedback so we further developed an enterprise version in 2013. We received the Hong Kong Green Innovation Award and En-trak was formally incorporated in August 2013.
Q: En-trak has won some awards such as the Hong Kong ICT Gold Award 2017 and the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards 2016, etc. Did receiving the awards affect the company in any way?
A: No, we are more confident than ever that our committed adherence to creating practical, scalable and sustainable solutions will be the core driver for our growth. When I look at Asia and its 4.5 billion people, it makes me realise we’ve only just begun our journey. There are bigger things that await us and we’re ready for them!
Q: Can you tell us more about the products that you will be showcasing at Office Expo Asia? (i.e. En-trak Smart Lighting and En-trak Energy Management)
A: En-trak Smart Lighting is our latest addition. It is a revolutionary, enterprise-grade lighting control solution designed to enable companies and building owners to automate, optimise, and reduce their lighting energy consumption.
It received the Best Innovative Research & Development award conferred by the distinguished Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) and in 2016, the company was awarded the Singapore Apex Sustainability Award. It unlocks the potential of your lights and brings it into the Internet of Things (IoT). We wanted En-trak Smart Lighting to be as simple and cost-effective as possible with an app available on iOS and Android that will allow a person to wirelessly control their office lighting via any web-connected devices.
En-trak Energy, on the other hand, was developed in 2012. We’ve iterated a lot before releasing the last version thanks to the effort of the team and the collaboration with our partners and customers.
Our goal is to help companies centralise and manage energy data on the cloud to drive intelligent decision-making. Whether your goal is cost savings, smarter capital planning, or sustainability compliance, En-trak Energy can help.
We received the Hong Kong Environmental Excellence Award in April 2016 and we are counting many prestigious customers such as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, or the National Environment Agency of Singapore to name a few.
Q: What inspired the development of these products?
A: At first, we developed En-trak Energy for schools to inspire and engage students to understand how they are using electricity in their school. The frustration we felt during our collaboration with schools for the “Solar for School” programme encouraged us to look into energy management.
We wanted to develop a system that would actually engage the students and the teachers together to understand how the energy is consumed and/ or wasted while educating the students about this topic along the journey..
Q: What were the challenges that you faced when developing these products and how did you overcome them?
A: Besides the usual entrepreneurial challenges to grow a business, we realised that energy management for business was a fairly new topic at that time.
I was meeting and talking with customers who were only aware of energy management. They obviously had heard about the topic, yet they simply were not ready to fully invest and go all-in with installing En-trak Energy. We had to spend a lot of time educating the market and our customers, and showing them the potential of En-trak Energy. In the end, it helped us build a better product and we were lucky enough to nurture strong relationships with open-minded customers.
Q: What made you expand your market into the Schools industry, besides the Business industry?
A: One of the most thoughtful and poignant quote about the environment that I particularly like to remind myself of is that “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We merely borrow it from our children.”
The mission at En-trak that we are pursuing is to empower everyone with the right tools to protect our environment. What’s the best place to teach and educate about environment than schools? We love to see the students learning about new behaviours so they are more aware of our planet and its environment.
They are going to be the adults and examples of tomorrow. We need to give them the tools to understand what’s at stake today.
Start managing the energy you use in your office or school with En-trak.
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