KUI Technologies is a Finnish PropTech startup company specializing in property technology. The company has developed and built an IoT technology based business intelligence solution, which can monitor moisture and temperature changes and levels in building structures, the amount of lost energy and predict the risk of mildew inside building structures throughout their entire life cycle.
KUI Technologies Oy was founded by CEO Heli Suomi and CTO Timo Parru in 2018. Timo, who has an engineering background, has held many roles during his career, both as e.g. a designer and program director in corporations, and as an entrepreneur. In 2002 he moved to the United States because of his work and founded there later a company that produced data loggers. The product was designed for general use to measure temperature and transfer the collected data to a computer for further processing. It formed a basis for developing a new product idea.
”While living in the US, I often read in newspapers about moisture damage to buildings, and it seemed that there were no tools to measure it. I started thinking about what kind of solution could be used to monitor the moisture problem in building structures continuously and proactively, and not only after the problem has been identified. After moving back to Finland at the beginning of 2018, Heli and I founded KUI Technologies Oy to develop a solution,” says Timo.
KUI Technologies has developed the service solution KUIVA that utilizes IoT technology to monitor the condition of building walls and upper and lower floor structures. Real-time monitoring of the condition of structures enables proactive property maintenance and monitoring. By constantly monitoring the condition and functionality of the structures, the property owner gets information as early as possible about objects that require actions.
Proactive monitoring of moisture problems brings significant cost savings
“With KUIVA, problems can be found early and maintenance costs can be kept to a minimum. KUIVA helps preserve the property’s value at the lowest possible cost. The solution is suitable for both new and renovated buildings as well as inhabited properties. Globally, the cost of moisture problems is tens of billions a year, so even a small improvement would help save a significant amount of money and would also prevent people from having health problems,” says Timo.
Thanks to IoT, sensors measure structures continuously and they can be installed in advance during the construction phase or afterwards when the building is completed. As one of the analysis methods, KUIVA uses the “Finnish mold model” developed by VTT, which calculates, based on measurement data, how likely mildew is to occur in the structure. If the forecast shows that the risk has increased, the matter can be investigated and the problem can be prevented, before reaching the point where the building has to be evacuated due to health problems.
Currently, KUIVA is a technically ready solution, and the company has recently received a patent for the sensor. KUIVA is a user-friendly and cost-efficient service. The system is in use immediately after installation, and the information can be seen quickly in the user portal. If necessary, the information is also transmitted to the customer’s own systems. The user can define his own alarms when rapid changes occur in the data or when the moisture and temperature exceed the limit values.
Valuable support from cooperation partners
KUI Technologies has received support from both Business Finland and IoT Paja. In addition to funding and cooperation during the product development phase, the opportunity to utilize IoT Paja’s RF laboratory and 3D printing of mechanical parts has been a significant help. For a small startup company, expensive laboratory equipment would be an overwhelming purchase. The option to cooperate with IoT Paja continues after KUIVA’s pilot phase when the production can be started. by production.
“Our cooperation partner is also D.O.F. Tech, whose Calculationtools system enables connection to any sensor. The company specializes in structural design programs for the construction industry and has the know-how to refine the information coming from sensors and the ability to combine information between different sensors and systems. Even the best sensor becomes even better and more useful when it works in a larger and more versatile sensor network,” says Timo.
Business development requires cooperation
Property owners especially benefit from the KUIVA solution, as they can use it to achieve considerable savings. However, it can be difficult for the owners to outline the overall picture when the property management is chained to several subcontractors. In this case, making an investment decision and calculating the achievable savings becomes difficult. Construction companies are also an important target group for using KUIVA to prevent moisture problems already during construction.
The first pilots with customers have already been done. According to Timo, however, there have been challenges in customer acquisition: “It is difficult to calculate the benefits with a potential customer if there is a lack of willingness to invest and see the cost benefit. Many want to be involved in IoT development, but do not yet understand what they want from IoT, what could be done with the data or how to refine it. We are trying to learn together with potential customers to calculate the benefit of the product.”
“There are many different players in the PropTech industry. We need a common vision and operating culture for the industry, as well as business development experts involved in the development. At the moment, for example, there is no uniform calculation method that could be used to show the business benefits of measuring equipment investment in euros. No company can do this alone, and no one can offer the customer the entire concept, networking is needed. I hope that the key players in the industry will gather to discuss the challenges and solve them together. When you find a new, bold way of thinking, everything is possible,” Timo emphasizes.
KUI Technologies Oy is an IoT-startup company specializing in property technology, https://www.kuitech.fi/
Founders and owners: Heli Suomi, CEO; Timo Parru, CTO
Products: IoT technology based business intelligence solution KUIVA, which can proactively monitor moisture problems in building structures.