Hull firms partner to develop home heating systems of the future

A Hull tech business is developing the home heating systems of the future in partnership with one of the UK’s leading providers.

Sauce is working with Ideal Heating to create intelligent, responsive heating controls driven by real-time data, making them more efficient and reliable than ever before.

Jim Wardlaw, Chief of Product and Design at Sauce, and his family at home with the Halo Combi Wi-Fi heating system.
Jim Wardlaw, Chief of Product and Design at Sauce, and his family at home with the Halo Combi Wi-Fi heating system. Neil Holmes photography.

The collaboration has resulted in Ideal launching its most advanced control to date, called Halo Combi Wi-Fi, giving households greater flexibility and control of their heating.

Halo allows customers to control their heating remotely, from anywhere in the world, via an intuitive app. 

Its distinctive features include integration with smart home assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Home, enabling householders to operate their heating through voice commands, and geolocation, so heating automatically turns off when the home is empty and switches back on when the first person starts to return.

Halo includes a programmable room thermostat linked to a mobile app. Crucially, it provides Ideal with real-time, actionable performance data to assist ongoing product maintenance and customer support.

The data is accessed through a portal created by Sauce and, as well as helping with ongoing customer support, the wealth of information now readily available will be used by Ideal to develop even more advanced systems.

Jim Wardlaw, Chief of Product and Design at Sauce, said: “The world of heating systems has changed dramatically and continues to do so. Customer demand and expectation is higher than it has ever been, with people wanting greater control of their systems in order to suit their lifestyle. 

“Working in our agile way with Ideal, we are producing data-led, smart and highly-efficient home heating systems that can be perfectly tailored to customers’ requirements.”

The Halo kit includes the smart interface, which controls the boiler. This plugs easily into the front of the boiler with no need for wiring. 

The thermostat – a high-quality control with a premium mirrored finish, simple dial and button control – then links to the smart interface through a wireless network. 

Users can programme up to six heating periods each day and the schedule can be varied from one day to the next. Additional elements include a child lock, holiday mode and frost protection.

Sauce created a prototype at the beginning of the product development process to test the transfer of data over a serverless infrastructure.

Its team also helped create simulations of the thermostat screens to enable extensive user testing.

Following the launch of Halo, Sauce is continuing to work alongside Ideal to develop future systems, using the vast amounts of data now available to them.

Lizzie Wilkinson, Head of Domestic Product Management for Ideal Heating, said: “We’ve worked with Sauce on previous products and have a really good relationship with them.

“With Halo, they’ve helped us take the home heating experience to another level. It gives households more control and flexibility, providing improved comfort and energy efficiency.

“The industry is changing and it’s important we adapt. We see this as a major opportunity, as we can now use all this valuable data to inform and influence the development of future smart home heating systems.”

Owned by Groupe Atlantic, a major European player in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning sectors, Hull-based Ideal Heating was previously known as Ideal Boilers.

Sauce, based at Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub, has established a reputation for co-collaborating with businesses and other organisations as their long-term digital partner, enabling them to achieve their objectives through technology solutions. 

For further information on Sauce go to www.sauce.dev

[Rick Lyon – Meehan Media & Comms]