The 24th of November this year marks the 10th anniversary of eSMART. The ideal moment to return to the past and trace out the path travelled.

Logo EPFLFounded in 2011, the eSMART company was transformed from a start-up that originated at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), into a Swiss Leader of sustainable and connected accommodation thanks to a mini module fitted behind switches.

This small device allows a tactile wall screen to communicate with the building’s functions like a videophone, heating, lighting or blinds through the existing electrical system. Discover testimonies by the founders >

Picture gallery of the 1st eSMART projects

EPFL, Lausanne (VD, CH)


The first eSMART project was to equip an EPFL building in Lausanne. 150 sockets were fitted to make EPFL students and employees aware of their energy consumption.

Eikenott, Gland (VD, CH)
230 apartments


eSMART also equipped 230 apartments in the biggest eco-district of French-speaking Switzerland in Gland: Eikenott. A visionary design that combines social and environmental responsibility. Read more >

SiL, Lausanne (VD, CH)


Since February 2014, the eSMART system has been equipping the 3rd floor of the Industrial services building at place Chauderon 25. This project enabled the integration of modern home automation tools into old buildings to be tested. Read more >

Projects of today and overseas

Les jardins de la Pâla, Bulle (FR, CH) – 316 apartments


The district of the Jardins de la Pâla is no longer an indistinguishable area of the town of Bulle but has transformed into a central area in its own right. In this urban regeneration project, 316 dwellings will be equipped with eSMART. Read more >

Greencity, Zurich (ZH, CH)
297 apartments


On the former industrial estate Sihl-Manegg in South Zurich, the Greencity district, a frontrunner, has been built according to the 2000-watt society principles and integrates the eSMART solution.
Read more >

Capelli Towers, Luxembourg
100 apartments


The Belval site in Luxembourg is continuing to build the Capelli Towers. The accommodation and offices will correspond to the ABA energy class (energy efficient building) and will be equipped with eSMART technology. Read more >

Bastion Luxury Residence, Romania – 53 apartments


eSMART is now proposing its automation solution for buildings in Romania on the Bastion Luxury Residence project that presents a collection of 53 apartments situated at the heart of the historic centre of Targu-Mures. Read more >

Abdijpoort, Netherlands
22 apartments


22 smart apartments have been built with an intelligent installation of an eSMART video intercom and home automation, which proposes a whole range of home automation functionalities offering occupants a better way of life. Read more >

Testimonies by the founders

Laurent Fabre

CTO et co-fondateur
Ingénieur en microtechnique
Docteur ès sciences EPFL

How did the eSMART project start?

« With Fabrizio, we met when I started my thesis at EPFL. We launched student research projects and among them, one on controlling a light via the electrical system. My thesis was centred on the stability of the electrical system and I imagined a network of smart modules in homes, capable of managing the growing stock of solar panels and chargers.

We enrolled on lessons to learn about starting up a company with the aim of doing just that. We then entered competitions to challenge our business ideas also allowing us to finance our product developments.

Following the PERL Prize competition (2011), which we won, the company Losinger-Marrazi took an interest in us because it was looking for a modular solution for eco-districts. So eSMART started at that time; we had 6 months to do a prototype and if the prototype was functional in the company’s offices then it ordered it from us for 80 apartments. A fun fact about this project is that our client realised 2 weeks before handing over the apartments that there were LED that flashed behind the switches which could be seen at night. It therefore asked us to turn it off, we thought of reprogramming the firmwares remotely but it didn’t work so we had to spend an entire weekend with Fabrizio reprogramming 50 apartments! »

At the start of eSMART, how were sales organised and what were the challenges you had to overcome during these 10 years?

« The first task given to me was to create a price list and then, to start the business we made a demonstration panel, the one known today but less professional. Then we had to ring clients, show our product, really a basic strategy – go out into the field, collect client feedback, try to learn from our clients and thus adapt the product. Furthermore, an important change was to change the graphical interface that was quite technical, we made it simpler to access which allows anyone to use the screen.

The company had to manage growth. Ensure we could cover all costs while growing, obviously having needs for the back-office – admin, HR, and also R&D – being able to ensure we had enough financial means to get through the month. So it’s a huge challenge that of course hasn’t disappeared, but one that has become less uncertain. During certain periods of the life of eSMART we had to wait for some contracts to be relatively serene and today, it’s still a little bit the case on very big contracts but we reduce the risk by having 10 sales reps in Switzerland and 2 overseas. »

Laurent Fabre

CTO et co-fondateur
Ingénieur en microtechnique
Docteur ès sciences EPFL

Fabrizio Lo Conte

CEO and Co-founder
Microtechnology engineer
Doctor of Science EPFL

What were the key factors for eSMART’s success ?

« It’s a combination of several factors which allowed us to transform eSMART from an idea around a coffee to the company of today. We succeeded in creating and mastering communication technologies on the electrical system in miniature form thanks to a software approach and innovative electronics.

We had already integrated the systematic energy metering into our modules back in 2009 because the context of our theses indicated to us the importance of this. And when suddenly in 2011, also following serious nuclear accidents, the world started to talk about energy efficiency, we were almost ready with a product that allows you to be aware of and master your energy consumption in your existing or brand-new accommodation. You should know that households in Switzerland represent the second largest sector in terms of energy consumption!

A key element of success is that over the past 10 years, we have been able to surround ourselves with likeminded people when it comes to overcoming problems that appear by finding elegant and innovative solutions, and sometimes by going off the well-trodden path. It’s the culture of everyone in the company that makes eSMART what it is. All employees are different but fundamentally optimistic and together we are forging ahead. If a problem crops up, finally it’s an opportunity to find a solution. We are extremely grateful for all these people who have chipped in, who have succeeded in leading the story to where it is today. Everyone is standing at the ready to take up any future challenges, because there are going to be some great ones including our arrival on the international stage, some major projects – today a huge project is no longer a district of 150 dwellings but 1000 or 1200 dwellings in Cham, 1000 in the Quartier de l’Etang, so it’s very intense every time. It’s a great occasion to say THANKS to all those who have been there and continue to be there today to celebrate our 10th anniversary!»

With 7,560 equipped properties, and more than 2,100 flats currently being delivered, eSMART is the best-selling solution in Switzerland.

Prices and awards

« Our business has been recognized and received a number of awards. These innovation awards have allowed us to finance the launch of this fantastic adventure and we are most grateful for this support. »

Financial Times top 1000 fastest company
EU support
Technology fund
TOP 100
Red Herring
Trophée CCIFS
Prix Strategis 2015
Swisscom Start up Challenge
Fondation Dr. René Liechti
Venture Kick