ASX-listed wireless research and development company Australon has partnered with gas and electric utility TXU to secure a contract with a major residential developer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Australon and Texas-based TXU will provide a range of bundled services including electricity, gas, home automation, telecommunications and data services for the unnamed residential developer.
Australon/TXU outbid 60 competitors for the contract that is potentially worth millions of dollars to Australon, depending on the number of houses built as part of the development and the number of services adopted by consumers.
According to Russell Neil, vice president sales and marketing of Australon, the contract will be rolled out in two phases, with Australon providing TXU with automated meter reading, waste-water management, network management, centralised billing and high-speed Internet services. This will enable TXU to offer residents a single bill for all their utility and telecommunications needs.
The second phase will involve the deployment of home-automation services such as Internet connectivity, networked home entertainment and home security, Neil claims.
Australon, a subsidiary of Advanced Communications Technologies, recently acquired home-automation integrator Environmental Control Services. Neil says this provides the R&D company with the necessary installation services, as well as feedback on what consumers are looking for in home automation to further its product development.
With trials of the services to be offered by Australon and TXU in June, Australon will leverage its relationship with chipset developer Echelon for the open standards LonWorks technology used in managing control networks for the building, industrial, transportation and home markets.
"It's a significant contract for Australon and for the [home automation] industry as well, because it could change the way things are done," Neil says. "We want to be a major player in this market."
TXU has over one million customers in Australia, and the proposed development site will be based in Victoria, ARN has learned. Australon listed on the ASX on January 15 this year through a reverse listing with mining company Gawler Gold.