Google’s launch into the living room could threaten Boxee, Roku and other broadband-connected set-top makers. But Boxee CEO Avner Ronen said that the launch of Google TV could also present an opportunity for the startup, giving it an easier way to connect to consumers.
In a few years, we’ll look back at 2010 and remember it as the year that LEDs (light emitting diodes) turned a corner and went from a pricey niche lighting technology to a mainstream contender.
It’s fitting to have the world’s largest lighting convention in the city that’s so covered in lights you can see it from space. This week Lightfair kicks off and companies from the world largest to the small innovative startups, are unveiling their world-domination lighting plans.
Eventually 80-90 percent of lighting will convert to LEDs says Warner Philips, co-founder of LED startup Lemnis Lighting and great grandson of the man who founded Dutch lighting giant Philips. But it could take a couple decades before LEDs achieve that level of dominance.
If you want a smart lighting system that helps cut energy use and maximizes efficiency, you gotta lose the dumb fixtures and go with tech that has computer intelligence written into its DNA. That’s the premise of Digital Lumens, a 2-year-old startup based in Boston, Mass. that is combining LED (light-emitting diode) systems with networking and software for industrial facilities. Founded in 2008, Digital Lumens crept out of stealth mode this morning, detailing for the first time its plan to carve out a slice of the growing market for efficient lighting.
“We’ve merged together LEDs with networking software,” Pincince explained. He said the company has taken a “very, very energy efficient fixture,” and added “local intelligence.” Each fixture has an on-board computer and mesh networking capabilities, allowing the system to adjust to variables such as whether daylighting is available, the state of a neighboring fixture or if a particular work area or machine needs to be illuminated at a set time. The system can also be programmed, and provide data about usage and occupancy to facility managers through Digital Lumens’ energy management system, dubbed “LightRules.” According to Digital Lumens’ release this morning, LightRules can also be used to respond to demand response calls and can be integrated with third-party systems, such as carbon accounting software.
Read More about Digital Lumens Takes a Cue from Smart Grid Tech for LEDs
While the number isn’t official (Apple (s aapl) isn’t exactly free and easy with its sales figures), one analyst is saying that although its early yet to tell, it looks like the iPad is on track to break some pretty significant records in terms of order volume. Amateur Apple (s aapl) analyst Daniel Tello, who regularly outguesses the pros, is now saying that around 152,000 iPads have been pre-ordered in the first 72 hours of availability.
Tello’s approach involves extrapolating Apple web order numbers. This time around, he worked with Victor Castroll, a Valcent Financial Group analyst. Together, they surveyed a sample group and found 120 orders for 137 iPads over 58 hours beginning at 8:30 A.M. Friday morning.
From there, Tello applied a formula that subtracts non-iPad orders on Apple’s site and multiplies the resulting number by an average of 1.125 iPads per order. Finally, he added in 2,000 units for late-night hours during which time they had no data. In the end, the total arrived at was 152,000 ending at midnight on Sunday. The number doesn’t factor in iPads reserved for in-store pickup. Read More about Analyst Estimate: 150,000 iPads Pre-Ordered Already
Can a venture-backed startup do for lighting what Silicon Valley has done for communications and entertainment: Make it digital? That’s the aim of LED chip and array maker Bridgelux. This evening the startup announced that it’s raised $50 million and brought on former Seagate CEO Bill Watkins as the new captain, in an effort to scale up its production this year.
In startup years, it’s been a long ride. The 8-year-old firm, which raised $23 million in 2007, and another $40 million in 2008, was embroiled in a patent litigation suit with LED competitor Cree (s CREE) for a couple years. That suit was settled in 2008, and Bridgelux in recent months has launched a Lighting Services Group, as well as its LED Array Technology.
What can the former Seagate (s STX) leader bring to an LED tech business? Watkins told us in an interview that he can use his experience with scaling and streamlining manufacturing of the storage products into the lighting space. He’s also on the board of chip company Maxim (s MXIM), and silicon chip making shares a lot of characteristics with solid state lighting making (Bridgelux uses indium gallium nitride for its chips). Bridgelux is backed by Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, DCM, El Dorado Ventures, Harris & Harris Group and VantagePoint Venture Partners.
Related GigaOM Pro Research: Opportunities in LED Solid-State Lighting
Concentrating photovoltaic technologies, which magnify sunlight and direct it onto solar cells, hold potential to increase the efficiency of a solar-power system. But several analysts — including Jenny Chase, head of solar research at New Energy Finance — say that CPV is likely to be more expensive than conventional solar-panel systems, which have been rapidly falling in price. And because CPV systems have a shorter track record and include moving parts to track the sun, some industry insiders are concerned about reliability. Spokane, Wash.-based startup Solarmation thinks it has come up with a technology that can help solve these issues. Read More about Taking a Tip from Floor Tiles: Solarmation Makes Concentrating Solar More Modular
Standard-household-sized LED bulbs have long raised a common complaint: They don’t dim easily. Yeah, some can be dimmed by controlling the current instead of the voltage, or by making them flicker at high speeds undetectable by the human eye, but homeowners can’t just plug them into their normal light sockets and expect their dimmers to work. But that looks to be changing, with the launch of an LED bulb to replace a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb from Netherlands-based Lemnis Lighting on Friday.
The company claims the bulb, called Pharox60, is up to 90 percent more energy-efficient — and lasts up to 25 times longer — than an incandescent bulb, and six times longer than a compact fluorescent bulb, with an estimated 25-year lifespan. According to the press announcement, the bulb features “technologically advanced” dimming capabilities, and a warm, soft glow, and is made of non-toxic materials than can be recycled with other metals and glass.
Read More about Lemnis Lighting’s LED Bulb: It Dims But Costs $40
Take your laptop outside, and you’re likely to find yourself squinting at the screen. The glare is even more pronounced with mobile computing devices, which users usually view downward (like a piece of paper), catching more light than when the screen is vertical. But putting brighter lighting in those devices drains the batteries more quickly.
Illumitex, an Austin, Texas-based startup, is developing a light-emitting diode that it claims can brighten those screens while using less electricity. The company, which in March of 2008 raised $10.5 million in its first round of funding, tells us it’s in beta production now and expects to reach full production in September. Illumitex also is expecting an additional $20 million, which it hopes to raise early in the summer, CEO Matt Thomas tells us.
The company is no doubt hoping that the recent flood of interest in efficient lighting, recently spurred by federal stimulus money, will help its cause. Lighting companies Metrolight, Digital Lumens and Fulham have raised cash in the last month. LED-system startup Albeo Technologies last week announced it had raised $500,000.
Read More about Illumitex Seeks Cash to Brighten and Shrink LEDs