Why OpenPeak’s Funding Is a Boon for Energy Management

For years OpenPeak has been creating gadgets for third parties — phone companies, utilities and brands — that act as the fourth screen in the home and more recently has focused on building devices that can help consumers monitor and manage their energy consumption. With this morning’s announcement that OpenPeak has raised $52 million from Intel Capital, GE Capital, and others, expect the energy management market to get a decent-sized boost.

In 2010 gadget makers, utilities, appliance makers and broadband service providers have been trying to tackle the very nascent consumer energy management market, where consumers will use devices, cell phones and home wireless networks to track and reduce their home energy consumption. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the harbinger of next-generation gadgets and gizmos, featured the biggest showing of consumer-facing home energy management devices in my recollection.

OpenPeak has specialized in acting as the enabler for companies that want to get into working with consumers and energy — whether that’s smart meter makers, smart appliance makers, or energy resellers — and OpenPeak has offered a white label-product that these companies can brand. The company worked with Direct Energy, Whirlpool, and Best Buy to launch a Home Energy Management (HEM) device at CES, has partned with General Electric (s GE) on its energy management dashboard and has also teamed up with smart meter maker Itron (s ITRI).

OpenPeak CEO Dan Gittelman has said that the company has also been working with telecoms for energy monitoring. In particular OpenPeak’s latest tablet called OpenTablet, which AT&T (s ATT) has embraced, will offer an energy management solution. In photos of the OpenTablet you can see “Energy” as one of the feature apps.

Deals like the energy offering in OpenTablet could help get energy management in the hands of millions of more users. For more analysis of this trend see Broadband Service Providers Are About to Ride the Home Energy Wave, via GigaOM Pro, subscription required.

OpenPeak’s latest funders, which include Intel Capital and GE Capital, have their own interests in energy management. Chip giant Intel has been working on a concept of a home energy management product in its research labs, and, as we mentioned, GE and OpenPeak have an energy-focused partnership.

While these latest funds for OpenPeak will not be spent solely on beefing up its energy management platform, the backing will likely help OpenPeak continue developing energy focused products and weaving energy management into devices. The company might be somewhat under-the-radar (given its white label nature) but it is one of the most important when it comes to creating an ecosystem around consumers and energy management, and it just got an injection of funds from high profile backers. That’s only good news for the nascent energy management market.

For more research on energy management check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Smart Algorithms: The Future of the Energy Industry

The Developer’s Guide to Home Energy Management Apps

Home Energy Management: Consumer Attitudes and Preferences