iControl raises $50M from Intel, Cisco, Comcast, Kleiner

On the heels of Silion Valley startup iControl securing a deal to provide its software for Comcast’s new home security and energy management service, iControl announced that it has raised another $50 million in a Series D round from its long list of high profile investors

The broadband smart energy home grows stronger

Who needs smart meters when you’ve got broadband? Two announcements last week — EcoFactor’s energy-saving data and Comcast’s Xfinity Home Security launch — raise that question. If the broadband channel to home energy takes off, it could leave smart meter–dependent home energy startups in the dust.

The startup behind Comcast’s home service: iControl

Cable operator Comcast has turned to a Silicon Valley startup for the software behind its home security and energy management product unveiled on Wednesday: iControl, a Palo Alto, Calif-based company backed by Comcast itself, as well as Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Cisco and Charles River Ventures.

Z-Wave Making a Move for Home Energy Networking?

Could proprietary Z-Wave be gaining ground on standards-based ZigBee in the home energy networking space? Here are a couple of recent developments that indicate Z-Wave could have a role to play.

AT&T to Acquire Smart Home Startup Xanboo

The telco world is finally making some progress on the home automation and energy management front. On the heels of the news that Motorola will buy up smart home startup 4Home, CEPro is reporting that AT&T has acquired Xanboo, a home automation and energy player.

Intel: “Invest in America” & Greentech

Intel and a who’s-who list of VCs have a little stimulus package of their own — and green technology is high on their wish list. Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Tuesday that Intel Capital has a $200 million investment fund aimed at cleantech and other categories.

Count the Ways to Connect Consumers to the Smart Grid

Smart meters have been undergoing a bit of a consumer backlash lately — and that could open the door for alternative ways to bring energy data to homeowners. Certainly the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal entity setting smart grid standards, seems to want to look for ways outside the smart meter to bring consumers and the smart grid closer together.

NIST is launching a new blog to open an industry dialogue around the “customer interface to the Smart Grid.” According to an opening post by George Arnold, NIST’s national coordinator for smart grid interoperability, one major question is whether the smart meter should be the primary gateway for home energy data, or whether the smart grid industry should be looking at a separate energy gateway for some or all of the home energy data that’s out there. Arnold dubs this the “Energy Services Interface,” but doesn’t get into more detail — though he does note that he’s interested in learning of “alternative architectures involving real-time (or near-real-time) electricity usage and price data” that could fit the bill.
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iControl: Energy Management Software Backed by Cisco, GE, Comcast

iControllogoEnergy management could end up being the killer app for the slow-moving home automation market. Well, at least companies selling products like broadband-based home security are rapidly moving to add energy to their lineups. Here’s the latest: iControl, a 5-year-old startup backed by some of the biggest names in venture capital and networking announced this morning that it has launched an energy management product for utilities, broadband service providers and security firms.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm, which has received $45 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins, Charles River Ventures, Intel Capital, Cisco (s CSCO), General Electric (s GE), Comcast and security firm ADT, is making only the management software (not the hardware) and is partnering with device makers and networking companies to offer its product. Unlike some of the other energy management firms out there iControl is white labeling its product, which will be branded by its customer (for example a company like Verizon (s VZ), or a utility like PG&E (s PCG).
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Mobile Tech Minutes — Windows 7 Performance on a Netbook

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We’ve been getting plenty of comments and email questions asking about Windows 7 on a netbook. I do have the final release of Microsoft’s newest operating system installed in a dual-boot method on my Toshiba NB205 netbook, so here’s a short look. There’s no intro, I just dive right into with from a cold boot so you can see how long that takes. Everyone uses their device differently, so there’s no concrete method to show how Windows 7 will work for you on your netbook, but a glimpse of multitasking might be useful.

In the video, I open up Google Chrome, along with a few tabs, Microsoft Word and Excel and finally run a WMV-HD file or two through the paces in Windows Media Player. Again, basic stuff to give you a feel for how the pace of the operating system as we move through different apps. I have the Aero features turned on and show them as well. Bear in mind that I do have 2GB of RAM in my device. I was tempted to run with just a 1GB stick, but for $25 or do so, I highly recommend running Windows 7 with more RAM in a netbook. Even so, I think you’ll see very little of the lag that we saw with Vista on early netbooks.

iControl Gets $23M Thanks to Better Broadband

logoiControl Networks, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup working on broadband-based home security solutions, said today that it’s raised $23 million in third-round funding from investors including Cisco (s csco), Comcast Interactive Capital (s cmcsa), GE Security (s ge) and Tyco International’s ADT Security Services. Existing investors Charles River Ventures, Intel Capital (s intc) and the Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers iFund also participated. The funding highlights how the wider availability of broadband and faster speeds are enabling a new business opportunity for broadband providers. Read More about iControl Gets $23M Thanks to Better Broadband