Chilean startups working to create smart homes and cities

Published on Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Chile is one of the top countries in Latin American in terms of investment and economic growth. That’s why it’s becoming an ideal ecosystem for both Chilean and foreign entrepreneurs who want to work on the latest technological trends. Enel, which is the largest energy company in Chile, is firmly committed to this through its Innovation Hub in Santiago, where exciting new solutions are emerging.

“The Enel Innovation Hub in Santiago is located in one of the countries with the highest startup density in the world, which is very important for our purposes. A very special ingredient that makes our hub unique is that we have all the Enel Business Lines in the country. This enables us to test all the startups here and evaluate the scale-ups options,” explains the manager of Enel Innovation Hub Santiago, Hernán Acuña. On October 9, the hub presented some of the new projects in a promotional event at the Start-Up Chile Coworking space.  The Head of Enel Innovation Hubs, Fabio Tentori, was also present.

This promotional event had one main goal, says Acuña: “Getting startups, incubators, accelerators and Enel’s Chile Managers together in the same room. We provide them with the opportunity to talk and get to know each other, in a way that has never been done before.” Indeed the hub is very attractive for emerging companies as they can test their prototypes alongside a large corporation like Enel and develop innovative solutions.

Promising Chilean startups

The Enel Innovation Hub in Santiago is currently working with several interesting startups. A good example of this comes in the form of Zembia, a startup from Concepción which won the Innovation Challenge: Smart Meters Solutions. “They developed a custom-made app that enables clients with a Smart Meter to check consumption information, receive service notifications and compare with their neighbors' consumption, among others things,” says Acuña.

Another is Chattigo, a web platform that integrates the seven most used communication channels where you can manage all your company's chats in one place, thereby facilitating efficient, supervised and controlled communication between companies and their clients through bots. “Chattigo provide to us the #Luz service in the Enel Distribution Twitter and Facebook accounts. With this, our clients can create an emergency request without any human being involved in the process,” says Acuña.

EIH Santiago is also working with Hit Map, a startup which has developed an online platform that helps to choose and manage the best locations for a particular service. Together they are “defining a business case to analyse the location of the EV public chargers in the city and understand how many people work and live in these places, the average income, the distance to relevant business and other parameters,” explains the manager of the hub.

Researching into the home of the future

We have lived with the promise of smart homes for some years. Development keeps evolving and there are always new solutions on the table.  But there are also still challenges. "We want to introduce the smart home into our lives and make daily life easier, more efficient and more comfortable,” explains Acuña, but he adds that “two of the biggest challenges are to reach a security segment and to spread the technology.”

This was precisely the main subject of the last Encuentro Cumbres, that took place last October 10 at CasaCo, one of the most important collaborative spaces in Santiago de Chile. The Enel Santiago Innovation Hub is the main sponsor of these themed events, which involve three short talks and networking with startups. “Our goals are to create community engagement and share the challenges we are facing with the startup ecosystem, so that its inhabitants can imagine, create or adapt their solutions to the interests of Enel,” Acuña points out.

When it comes to energy solutions for smart homes,  the hub manager thinks that “there are several that can be applied: they include the ability to schedule the switching on and off of lights, appliances, air conditioning, thermostat and heating; detecting high consumption on devices; and being able to perform programming actions during the hours of use.”

 

A non-stop agenda

Innovation never stops, nor does the Enel Innovation Hub in Santiago. “We began 2018 by visiting some incubators in Valparaiso and in Concepcion with the aim of telling them what we are doing and to meet some potential startups”, explains Acuña. The Hub also took part in other important events, such us the Open Innovation Seminar at Centro de Innovación UC and the Entrepreneurs Festival in Bogotá (the Colombian capital), which “helped us present  a regional overlook of our work and show what the Enel Innovation Hubs can offer startups.”

Networking and visibility are crucial for establishing a leading role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and Acuña appreciates the importance of events like this. “We need to have a strong connection with the startup ecosystem, and one of the best ways to catch and detect innovative projects that allow us to solve our challenges is to take part in and sponsor these kinds of events.” 

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