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WPP Unit, Onzo Study Harvesting Smart-Meter Data

May 12 (Bloomberg) -- A unit of WPP Plc, the world’s biggest advertising agency, is working with Onzo Ltd. to study ways to harvest smart-meter data on household energy use that may be useful to customers.

Kantar Group Ltd., whose clients include Coca Cola Co. and Microsoft Corp., and London-based software company Onzo will undertake a four- to six-month pilot study, Onzo Chief Executive Officer Joel Hagan said.

Data on energy consumption from smart meters enables utilities to better match demand and supply while helping consumers save power. Companies wanting to market their products also could potentially benefit from information, such as how long people spend cooking or using their computers.

The data has the potential to “open the door of the home,” Hagan said in London. “Consumers are leaving a digital footprint that opens the door to their online habits and to their shopping habits and their location, and the last thing that is understood is the home, because at the moment, when you shut the door, that is it.”

The pilot will use Onzo’s algorithms to analyze the findings, and could potentially lead to ongoing work, said Alex Johnson, head of innovation and new technology for Kantar. “There is definitely client interest,” he said by phone.

Onzo has raised money from investors including U.K. utility SSE Plc and Sigma Capital Group Plc, Hagan said. It plans to raise a further 1.5 million pounds to 2 million pounds from new investors later this year, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louise Downing in London at ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net Alex Devine, Tony Barrett

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