Two Canadian smart building software firms to merge offerings, R&D

Toronto-based PremiseHQ SaaS, a developer of smart building data management and analytics software, today announced the purchase of intellectual property developed by PropTech start-up ioAirFLow.

While no dollar figure was revealed, according to a release, the acquisition of the Winnipeg company will expand PremiseHQ’s suite of commercial building offerings, including Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), air quality and ClimateTech.

The intellectual property purchased includes an automated analysis offering that measures energy consumption and waste, air quality, and HVAC system performance in commercial properties. It also includes a rapid COVID-19 transmission risk assessment report tool.

“Buildings consume 40 per cent of fossil fuels and are one of the biggest generators of greenhouse gas emissions,” ioAirFlow states on its web site. “We also lose billions a year from increased sick days, loss of productivity, and wasted energy consumption. As buildings age, and without proper monitoring and maintenance, these issues only get worse.

“IoAirFlow’s platform prioritizes optimizing a building’s operations to help improve its indoor air quality (IAQ), increase energy efficiency, improve ventilation, and decrease utility costs. Our sensors collect high quality indoor environmental quality (IEQ) data in a fraction of the time that it would take to conduct a manual audit.”

Rafi Dowla, CEO of PremiseHQ, said, “integrating this new layer of building data into our platform will help our clients make smarter, healthier and more cost-effective decisions for their properties and tenants, ultimately helping increase their capitalization rate.”

Matt Schaubroeck, CEO of ioAirflow, added “our analysis will be integrated into a broader global customer base. I believe we will have an even larger impact on improving energy efficiency and air quality levels in buildings worldwide.”

In an interview with IT World Canada, Dowla and Schaubroeck said discussions about a possible deal of some kind began in April after the two were introduced by a mutual colleague.

While terms of the deal provide PremiseHQ with ownership over “all prior and future ioAirFlow-developed intellectual property,” both companies intend to operate as separate entities.

“There’s a few reasons for that from an ioAirFlow perspective,” said Schaubroeck. “The first is that we do have existing clients, so we’ll continue to honour those contracts for the length of their subscriptions, but also that we are now able to continue to double down on research and development.

“The intellectual property that has been part of this deal has been thanks to some very successful and productive Mitacs and IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program) grants. And there’s an ability for us to continue to develop those solutions. Being in Manitoba as well gives us access to some other funding opportunities, some other business opportunities that we’ll continue to pursue, which is a joint advantage to both companies.”

As for how the smart building data management space has changed, Dowla said “it is actually evolving rapidly and that’s why essentially, we exist, and why it made sense for ioAirflow and PremiseHQ to come together from an IP perspective.

“We built a platform – essentially a data technology platform — that brings in any and all sorts of data.”

A key challenge in the smart building space, he said, is that currently a building or property owner may end up having to access multiple information portals.

“We provide a single connected data ecosystem for the end customer so that they can work with multiple different vendors yet have a single pane of glass experience.

“They don’t need to go to multiple different dashboards to actually consume that data, they can consume that in in one place. And beyond that, they can (put) datasets together to create more intelligent dashboards, a more intelligent API and more efficient workflows.”

Plans call for Schaubroeck to join PremiseHQ as vice president of product and continue to oversee the development of ioAirFlow.

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. His work has appeared in a number of technology magazines and online with the subject matter ranging from cybersecurity issues and the evolving world of edge computing to information management and artificial intelligence advances.

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