What’s the Grand Challenge?

COINS Grand Challenge award for R&D on temperature and HVAC monitoringWe’re very happy to be winners of the COINS Grand Challenge this year for our R&D in HVAC monitoring. If you don’t work in the construction industry you may not know COINS – they are huge supplier of enterprise software to construction companies. And they fund the COINS Foundation which uses enterprise to address issues of social justice.

A fundamental principal of the COINS Foundation is that if you have intellect and ideas they are more powerful when shared. This spirit drives the awards – set up to encourage innovation and big ideas throughout the construction industry they aim to give a leg up to small companies and young people who have big transformative ideas.

Other winning ideas like community led solar desalination and building government schemes to reward the development and construction of green homes – these are the sort of thing that will add technical impetus to theĀ UN’s climate change deal. HVAC is part of this – it’s responsible for more than 5% of energy consumed in western countries and often shockingly badly run.

Preparing for these competitions is often a sweaty, nervous process but it does make you evaluate why you’re doing it. Which is a real benefit. For the pre-startup team sitting in the pub and dreaming of building a great company, finding your big challenge should be easy. Once you’re stuck in the middle of customer feedback, fixing bugs, scratching heads over cashflow projections, it can be less easy to remember why you’re there. That’s the real prize of a well run competition: a chance to get a bit of perspective.

And for us, the Grand Challenge still stands. Looking forward to dealing with it in 2016.

Merry Christmas!