Digital Lumens Takes a Cue from Smart Grid Tech for LEDs

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.
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Analyst Estimate: 150,000 iPads Pre-Ordered Already

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

Portable Apps for the Mac

I have a keen interest in portable apps from my time spent working on client sites. Having a suite of productivity applications on a USB flash drive has come in handy many times in my consulting career, especially when I’ve needed a graphics application.

Lemnis Lighting’s LED Bulb: It Dims But Costs $40

Lemnis_Pharox_PICStandard-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.
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Illumitex Seeks Cash to Brighten and Shrink LEDs

illumiteximageTake 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.
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AT&T’s New Network May Not Help Your Old iPhone

main-rightApple (s aapl) unveiled the new iPhone today, and once again the device is inspiring lust while the network inspires loathing. While a lot of sites are hacked off that AT&T (s T) will not support tethering (using your phone as a modem) and MMS picture messaging on the iPhone 3G right away, owners of older 3G iPhones in the U.S. may have a bigger beef. Sources are telling me — and AT&T doesn’t deny — that the network upgrades AT&T announced two weeks ago won’t boost the old 3G iPhone’s data connections to the promised 7.2 Mbps speeds. Read More about AT&T’s New Network May Not Help Your Old iPhone

Luxim Lights Up With $12M Series C

It’s a bright day for lighting startup Luxim Corp. The Sequoia Capital-backed company has just announced $12 million in Series C funds to help it expand and ramp up production of its energy efficient, solid-state plasma lighting — bringing its total venture investment to some $72 million in less than a year. According to Luxim spokesperson Jane Evans-Ryan, the company started out in the now-dwindling niche of front-projection TVs before moving into entertainment (think stadium concerts and light shows), architecture, city street, industrial and medical instrument applications.
Evans-Ryan said the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company plans to use the Series C funds to further expand in those markets. In other words, don’t expect Luxim to light up your living room anytime soon (unless it’s coming from a Panasonic projection TV that uses Luxim’s technology). Your street, office building and next Beyonce concert, however — those are possibilities.
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Acuity’s Bright Idea: A $205M Deal for Sensor Switch

acuitybrandsIt’s not just the solar biz that’s consolidating these days — energy-efficient lighting, as well as other tech sectors, are following suit, too. Atlanta lighting company Acuity Brands (s AYI) said today that it signed an agreement to buy Wallingford, Conn.-based Sensor Switch, a manufacturer of lighting controls and energy management systems, for approximately $205 million in stock, cash and notes.
Sensor Switch’s products, which Acuity said can substantially cut energy consumption, include motion and light sensors, and distributed lighting control devices. Acuity said the deal will give it a boost in the building construction market, as well as in building control systems.
The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, comes on the heels of Acuity’s recent deal for Gendale, Calif.’s Lighting Control and Design. Acuity grabbed Lighting Control and Design in January, but did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. Lighting Control and Design’s products include dimming controls, building interfaces and digital thermostats for commercial and institutional lighting systems.
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