John Lewis invests in Internet of Things home security device with winner of its JLAB competition
John Lewis has announced that start-up company, Peeple, has been chosen as the winner of its programme designed to fast track the Internet of Things tech companies into the retail sector.
The annual competition gives 10 specially selected start-ups access to leading entrepreneurs and technology experts, letting the innovators refine their products and business models in an effort to accelerate the development of Internet of Things (IoT) connected homes and win a contract with John Lewis.
This year Peeple has been awarded the top prize for its Wi-Fi connected smart camera which attaches to existing peepholes in front doors and alerts users when anyone arrives at or opens their front door. The camera sends a notification to the user’s smartphone or tablet and allows them to virtually look through the peephole from wherever they are.
Peeple’s team, led by founder and chief executive, Chris Chuter, developed the project over the 12 week competition with the guidance of a panel of expert mentors. Their work won them twinning product secures them £100k for funding into further product development as well as a contract to sell the technology to John Lewis department stores.
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Chuter conceived the idea for the (IoT) device after his three year-old son wandered out of his house without him knowing. He said the” initial fright led me to start tinkering on a way to find out automatically when the front door is opened”, adding that the start-up had “come a long way since then and JLAB has been instrumental in helping ready the product for launch in the UK and beyond”.
Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, described Peeple as an “innovative product in this year's really hot area of the Internet of Things” and predicted “great opportunities for developing this product into a 'must have' app and home security device”.