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Span, smart fuse box replacement founded by ex-Tesla engineer, gets Alexa upgrade – TechCrunch

The automation and control of devices and energy use in homes has potentially become a little easier thanks to an integration between Span, the startup replacing the digital fuse box, and the voice recognition interface of ‘Amazon, Alexa.

The integration also comes with a further injection of cash of $ 20 million from Amazon’s Alexa fund and the HSB fund of big insurance company Munich Re Ventures.

With Alexa integration, homeowners using Span’s electrical panels can turn any circuit or device in their home on or off, monitor which devices are using power, and determine which electrical source is generating the most energy. energy for a house.

Questions like “Alexa, ask Span what is using the most power right now?” will get a response. The Alexa integration opens up new opportunities for home owners to integrate their devices and devices, due to the connection to the home’s wiring, according to Span general manager Arch Rao.

Rao sees the Alexa integration as a way for Span to become the home automation hub that tech companies have long promised. “There are far too many devices in the hoe today … with too many apps,” Rao said. “The advantage we have is that once settled in, we are persistent in the house and connected to everything electrical in the house for the next 30 to 40 years.

In addition to monitoring energy consumption and production, Alexa commands can shut off power to any device or switch that a homeowner has programmed into the system.

“The most tangible way to put it is that our panel provides a virtual interface to the home in the construction environment,” said Rao. “We are building a high performance edge device… it kind of becomes a real aggregation point and nerve center to give you real-time visibility and control.”

In the future, Rao plans to integrate Span with other devices such as water sensors, fire alarm sensors and other equipment to provide other types of controls that could be useful for insurers. like Munich Re.

With the $ 20 million the company has raised, Rao intends to dramatically increase sales and marketing efforts by working with partners like Munich Re and Amazon to install Span’s devices in as many homes as possible. .

The company has significant favorable winds thanks to the home automation and energy efficiency modernization efforts currently crossing Washington, but could mean subsidies for the deployment of technologies such as Span’s electrical panels.

Rao also intends to increase Span’s strength. The company currently has 35 employees and Rao would like to see that number double to around 70 by the end of the year.

Span’s growth is part of a large move in home technology towards increasingly sustainable options. In many cases, it is the penetration of electrical devices in elements such as water heaters and hobs, but also the integration of charging stations for electric vehicles, storage units of home energy and other devices that push energy production and management to the edge of power grids.

“It’s cutting that pipe that carries natural gas to the house and that brings everything electrical… while consumers continue to cut the cord on fossils, your current home system is not efficient. It’s a product ecosystem where we’re starting to see partnership opportunities, ”said Rao. “When it comes to applications like monitoring the health of your devices … and home services. Having the data we provide will be unprecedented. “

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