Tuesday, 22 May 2018 Sydney

Melbourne startup Freestyle Tech signs IoT water deal in Korea::

Melbourne company Freestyle Technology has signed a A$5.8 million contract to roll out an Internet of Things (IoT) water management solution for a South Korean county.

The company's system of smart water meters, communications equipment and cloud-based software will be deployed to 24,000 residences in a five-year agreement with the city of Gochang, located in southwest Korea.

The system will detect water leaks across the residences and calculate the best solution, once accounting for the environment and the temperature around the fault.

The meters also alert council workers to any unexpected occurrences in the system, such as elderly people not using water for two days. Under those circumstances they will receive an alert and a service call.

The Macquarie Group-backed enterprise has locked in deals throughout the Asia Pacific in markets such as Taiwan, China and Korea.

The Mount Waverley-headquartered tech firm started in 2006 and has specialised in building "open" machine-to-machine IoT platforms.

The startup also develops connected tech solutions for electricity and waste management services, and said that it has "near-term" prospects in those industries in Australia, Japan and Thailand.

Mr Jesudason, who joined Freestyle as managing director in 2013 having previously been the gaming and group marketing managing director at Tabcorp, said this degree of intelligence sets the company apart from other providers.

"A while ago I left the hose on in my pool and when I came back outside I had a soggy backyard. With our technology you would have received an alert on your phone saying you don't usually use that much water on a Tuesday, prompting you to check it out, but Victoria's smart metres don't do that." he said.

Freestyle also has deals with Taiwan's largest telecommunications company Chunghwa Telecom and Chinese and Taiwanese gas suppliers.

In China, consumers pay for their gas via cards that can be topped up, similar to how the public transport system works in Australia, so it's not uncommon for the gas to turn off mid-cooking or mid-shower.

However Freestyle is working with gas suppliers to digitise the metres and let consumers monitor their gas usage and top up via an app.

To win deals in these markets, Freestyle has employed a diverse workforce with expertise in each of the markets. Of the company's 56 employees, there are 19 different languages spoken.

Mr Jesudason said the Gochang deal was a major win for the business because it was competing against Korean companies and he believed this positioned the company well to win other upcoming tenders with other Korean governments.

"We see ourselves as an emerging global company," he said.

"We won't be able to get enough resources or capital to possibly grow as fast as we'd like to because right across the region there are opportunities. What attracted me to the IoT category was that every forecast you look at is either very large, or very very large and it's all in the next four to five years."

Victoria has a vibrant ecosystem for startups, with a dynamic and thriving startup ecosystem, creative excellence and high performing education system, and its capital Melbourne has been named the world's most liveable city for six years running.