Smart glass, which can control the amount of light coming through glass, can reduce energy use, lower costs and do away with the need for window shades. Allowing a lot of light through a window can decrease the amount of interior lighting needed, and on a warm day, darkening the glass to limit the light coming into a room could cut down on the amount of air conditioning needed.
ResearchandMarkets.com estimates the global smart class market size will reach nearly $10 billion by 2025.
Windows that have the ability to change their tint offer lots of benefits in reducing energy costs, but most solutions developed to date require replacing existing glass, which is both expensive and disruptive.
Crown Electrokinetics Corp.'s (CRKN:OTCQB) window film provides an alternative solution. Using technology invented at HP, Crown has developed DynamicTintTM that allows glass to rapidly change from clear to black, and any shade in between.
"After nearly two decades commercializing intellectual property, working with over 20,000 patents, I came across technology that had been earmarked to be divested by Hewlett-Packard, which presented an unrivaled business opportunity. I not only acquired the technology but eventually left my job as the chairman and CEO of a publicly traded company to lead the newly formed venture, Crown Electrokinetics," Crown CEO Doug Croxall told Streetwise Reports.
"The technology was originally designed to control the light passing through plastic, like that used in Amazon's Kindle, but the Crown team saw a much bigger opportunity in the emerging smart glass industry," Croxall explained. "Crown's pigment-based film, called DynamicTint, could allow a glass surface to transition between clear and dark in seconds. It could even change the color of the glass. Most significantly, it could be retrofit to existing glass, unlike the vast majority of competing offerings that require glass to be replaced entirely. With its affordable smart glass solution applicable across transportation, residential housing and commercial building markets, Crown has partnered with and also garnered a strategic investment from Hudson Pacific Properties (NYSE: HPP), one of the largest office building owners in the Western U.S."
"From car to house to office, Crown's DynamicTint allows people to easily control a room's lighting from the convenience of a phone. This can not only replace cumbersome window treatments, but studies also show that natural lighting can enhance one's mood and productivity. Best of all, this can even save money on air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter," Croxall noted.
Croxall explained that Crown's technology helps the planet by making buildings more sustainable. "This is achieved in two ways. One, it lowers a building owner's energy consumption by controlling the amount of light, and therefore heat, that enters a room. Two, DynamicTint is powered by solar strips, further reducing carbon emissions."
"As the leader in retrofit smart glass, Crown boasts a unique financial profile to investors," Croxall said. "By utilizing an insert covered with DynamicTint, Crown can instantly turn a single pane window into a double pane window without requiring the need for an electrician. This allows a home and or building owner to keep their existing windows in place. Crown's addressable market is significantly larger than that of competing smart glass offerings. Furthermore, DynamicTint is highly scalable and enjoys attractive margins since it's manufactured with abundant, inexpensive materials."
Croxall stresses that partnerships are central to Crown's overall strategy. "We're not going to build our own factories and produce our own film; we're going to partner with those who already are experts and have expertise in that particular field. So if a company is already better at making film than us, we will work with that manufacturer to produce our film, and we will work with companies that have established distribution channels in order to distribute our film into the market. So we're leveraging the size and the experience of our partners to get our product out to the market."
In June, Crown announced that Hudson Pacific Properties, a real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, redevelops and develops creative office and studio properties on the West Coast of the U.S. and in Vancouver, British Columbia, has made a strategic investment in the company. "The importance of investment from Hudson Pacific is that, as a commercial REIT, the building owner is always trying to strive for carbon neutral," Croxall said. "Hudson sees the opportunity that our film presents. If you think about replacing glass with one of the competing technologies, you literally have to build more glass to replace existing glass—the amount of energy it takes to build glass is not insignificant. As a film that can be applied to existing glass, it makes your building, home or car more sustainable."
"Hudson recognizes this and phase two of the relationship is to develop a retrofit plan for the exterior glass of their existing buildings and studios to allow the buildings become more energy efficient. It's a relationship with the end-user as opposed to a manufacturer of film or glass. It's also one that that gives us great insight as to how to actually develop and build the product in order to satisfy that demand," Croxall stated.
Crown refers to its DynamicTint as a device and, as such, it can be controlled—changed from clear to dark or to any shade in between—through a number of different interfaces, from the push of a button, to voice activation, to using a smartphone or tablet. "It can also be controlled through automatic settings, for example, dimming when the sun rises, and becoming lighter when the sun sets, or setting controls to change with the temperature," Croxall explained.
"We feel that we truly have the only product on the market that has the ability to reach ubiquity because we can go to black and we are affordable when compared to the other smart glass alternatives. And we can develop and deliver that technology at a very affordable price, and still maintain attractive margins for the company. I think that what we've seen before are technologies that have educated the world on the importance of letting natural light into a room, and the importance of being able to shade a window and preserve energy. I can't understate how important that is for home, auto and building owners. But to be able to do it at a cost that doesn't affect the adoption of the technology—that's the Holy Grail. We feel that we have that," Croxall concluded.
On June 8, Crown Electrokinetics commenced trading on the OTCQB market under the symbol CRKN.[NLINSERT]
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