Butlr Technologies, Inc., a venture-backed technology start-up spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2019, and the developer of an anonymous people-sensing technology platform, just announced that Carrier Global Corporation, among leading global providers of sustainable intelligent building and cold chain solutions, has signed an agreement to embed the Butlr body heat sensing technology into its Abound cloud-based digital platform. The firms say the move stands to make buildings throughout the world healthier and more energy efficient, while lowering their carbon footprint.
Carrier joins Butlr’s Series A financing round of $20 million in support of the people sensing technology. Named among the 100 Technology Pioneers of 2022 by the World Economic Forum. Butlr has patented a new way to use thermal sensing technology. Butlr’s Heatic brand sensors and software platform provide data and insights on space occupancy, utilization and activity, while being physically incapable of collecting any personal information.
“Butlr’s technology, when integrated with Abound will present building owners and operators with additional real-time insights to make confident decisions to improve energy efficiency while ensuring occupant wellness,” said Jennifer Anderson, senior vice president, Strategy, Business Development and chief sustainability officer, Carrier. “Carrier Ventures is pleased to invest in Butlr to help bring this innovative new technology to our customers. Together, we’ll further improve anticipation to ensure smarter proactive building management and deliver on our customers’ expectation that their buildings are healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent.”
Commercial real estate (CRE) and senior living are the first two industries to embrace Butlr’s technology, and the company says it is exploring opportunities for people sensing in additional markets.
Along with Carrier, according to a press release, the aforementioned financing round was led by investors Tiger Global; Ray Stata, the legendary entrepreneur, engineer and co-founder of Analog Devices and newly appointed Butlr board member; and Primetime Partners, an early-stage fund solely dedicated to the estimated $2 trillion opportunity in the emerging age-tech market. Existing investors E14, Union Labs, Hyperplane Venture Capital, Tectonic Ventures and Scale Asia Ventures also joined the round.
Butlr says its real time and historical occupancy and space utilization insights support CRE asset strategy and workplace planning including layout and leasing decisions. The company notes the technology also impacts the tenant experience such as conference room bookings, wayfinding and desk hoteling. Further, it supports building operations and facility management with smarter, healthier buildings while providing alerts on unusual activities.
“From hybrid work to employee experience to smarter, healthy buildings, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a number of nascent trends in commercial real estate. It also created urgency in the need for accurate insights on how office space is actually being used,” commented Honghao Deng, co-founder and CEO of Butlr. “Our latest round of funding enables us to support our burgeoning customer and partner base of real estate and facilities executives with the insights they need to make the best decisions,” added Jiani Zeng, co-founder and chief product officer, Butlr.
“Employers are thinking hard about how to support the different needs of employees so they can use the office for maximum effect,” asserted Ibrahim Yate, senior analyst, Verdantix. “Butlr is at the forefront of innovation for the hybrid workforce. Its technology can help establish working policies based on how the office is used, such as meeting rooms and focus areas, while enabling managers to pinpoint the types of office space most suitable for their staff.”
In senior living facilities, Butlr is being used primarily for frailty and fall detection based on understanding movement patterns. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as cited by Butlr, of the 1.6 million residents in U.S. nursing facilities, approximately half fall annually, with one in three falling two or more times.
“Fall detection and prevention is a top issue for our aging population. Butlr is the only solution that will be easy to use, affordable and effective for senior care providers and individuals’ homes,” said Abby Miller Levy, co-founder and managing partner, Primetime Partners. “We partner with founders with proven technology, market demand and strong leadership. Butlr offers all of this and more as it’s poised to capture an even larger share of the $400 billion senior living space market.”