Invest NI helps inventor achieve commercial success

An innovative energy saving device invented by a local teacher has been brought to market with the support of Invest Northern Ireland.

The standbyOFF is a remote control energy saving socket for use with TVs and audio devices in the home and is now being sold in Maplin stores across the UK and via another major UK retailer.

The standbyOFF is a brand name owned by theoneswitch. Its unique features include ease of use and the fact that, unlike its infra-red competitors, it is not necessary to train the remote control and socket to communicate with each other, or to ensure a line of sight between the two.  

The standbyOFF device was developed with assistance from Invest NI, which also facilitated electrical engineering assistance from Queen’s University for the inventor, Tony Mooney, a technology teacher.

Invest NI helped Mr Mooney with applying for a patent and provided advice on CE marking. It also put him in touch with venture capitalists to secure funding and business expertise to set up a company.

The company trades as theoneswitch, operates from premises in Ballymena and is run by businessman Malcolm Emery.

Mr Emery says: “The standbyOFF plug reduces energy consumption in the home, so brings financial benefits to the homeowner as well as environmental benefits through lower carbon dioxide emissions.  

“Without the technical support from Invest NI, we would not have been able to develop the product and get it ready for the market as quickly as we did. In addition, Invest NI’s Regional Offices have also been very supportive, helping with marketing and establishing the company to take forward standbyOFF and future product development from theoneswitch.”

Invest NI’s marketing support enabled the new company to introduce the device to major UK retailers. As a result it has already achieved substantial sales and has established a wide distribution network.

The company is now receiving R&D support from Invest NI to develop a second energy saving product.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development says: “It is great to see an innovative idea becoming a commercial success. Invest NI has been able to offer a wide range of assistance to the company from technical advice through to strategic development and marketing support.

“We are particularly keen to help small businesses like this which demonstrate a blend of innovation and entrepreneurial drive. Helping them to secure the intellectual property that they create is especially important and we will continue to work with theoneswitch to ensure that its further product development is supported and its IP protected.”