Schneider Electric likes to say that 70 percent of the world’s electrons flow through its equipment. What’s it doing to make those electrons flow more intelligently?
Big buildings already have plenty of energy management technology, and household energy efficiency is the focus of dozens of VC-backed startups and IT giants alike. But who’s tackling the small and mid-size commercial building market, or the “mushy middle?”
Mike Zimmerman, the CEO of building automation software startup BuildingIQ, says his company has for the first time met a utility’s demand to turn down power to manage peak load, automatically with a building control system in Perth, Australia.
EnerNOC (s ENOC) is a big name in the world of demand response — that is, turning down buildings’ energy use to help utilities shave peak power demands. But it’s also been making its way — and buying its way — into energy efficiency, carbon management and energy supply chain services, and on Wednesday it launched its integrated platform for customers to integrate with their own web services.
It’s all part of EnerNOC’s plan to expand from its core demand response business, which now accounts for more than 3.5 gigawatts of power that customers have pledged to turn down in an emergency in exchange for cash. That kind of work requires controls and sensors that lend themselves naturally to so-called building commissioning, or that is, auditing and improving building energy efficiency.
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Echelon (s ELON) makes smart meter networks and building automation systems. Could it bring the two businesses together? On Wednesday, Echelon shipped its 2 millionth smart meter, adding recent contracts with a host of Danish utilities and partners to its big list of European clients — and, on the other side of the Atlantic, its contract with Duke Energy (s DUK). Duke CTO David Mohler has said he’d like to see smart grid systems link up with building automation systems that control air conditioners, lights, boilers and other energy-sucking devices. Could Echelon sync up its building networking standard LonWorks with its smart meter services?
While Michael Anderson, senior vice president of Echelon’s Networked Energy Services, i.e., smart meter business, wouldn’t comment on if Echelon’s was linking up buildings and smart meters just yet, he told us in a late-night Monday call from Helsinki, Finland: “The two technologies will come together very, very well. In the last six months it’s been nice to see customers approach us on this idea.”
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When you’re a networking giant, it’s probably a good idea to develop a strategy for participating in the biggest network build-out of the decade. This morning, Cisco is doing just that, with an announcement of its game plan for becoming a major player in the smart grid, with technology for everything from the utility data center to energy management for the light switches in your home and the VoIP phones in your office.
Cisco estimates that the smart grid communications market represents a $20 billion a year opportunity as the systems are built out over the next five years, and the company is angling to seize a substantial portion of that value. For now, Cisco’s smart grid plan lacks a lot of specific detail, but it demonstrates that the company is making aggressive movement into the space — and signals to some startups that there’s a powerful new competitor (or partner) on the scene. One company in particular should be concerned: Silver Spring Networks. Despite the recent rosy glow surrounding Silver Spring, Cisco’s size and networking experience could put a few clouds on the startup’s horizon. Read More about Why Silver Spring Should Be Worried About Cisco
A mystery notebook-like little device spied at Lenovo’s offices in China has surfaced, along with some very intriguing photos on the company’s photo stream. The “Pocket Yoga” is barely bigger than a little keyboard yet seems to pack in a trackstick and touchscreen. There are no specs or even confirmation that this is a real device, but it looks pretty cool nonetheless. Based on the hinge in the pictures, it looks like the screen folds over the back of the device and uses a stylus so it’s a teeny-tiny Tablet in that regard. Let’s hope this makes it to a real product simply because it’s cool to see Lenovo challenge our expectations as Sony did with the Vaio P. Speaking of Vaio P there may be one appearing in the very near future. 🙂