Home Energy Monitoring Solutions, GreenBox gets Pilot Deal with Oklahoma Utility

GigaOm has a post about GreenBox’s Home Energy Monitoring Solution scoring a pilot with Oklahoma Gas and Electric.

Flash Creator Goes Green With New Startup, Greenbox
Katie Fehrenbacher, Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 4:06 PM PT Comments (0)

Greenbox, a startup founded by the creators of Flash, is trying to recreate the success of their online ecosystem for graphics and media — but this time for the power that flows into your home. This week, after Flash-founders Jonathan Gay and Robert Tatsumi have spent more than a year working on their software for home energy management, Greenbox says it has scored a pilot deal with Oklahoma Gas and Electric to test its software with a portion of the utility’s customers using smart meters.

For a startup like Greenbox, which is backed by the former CEO and CFO of Macromedia and aims to help residents cut back on energy use, utilities are the initial gatekeepers, so partnerships with the power providers is crucial. It’s a little like a mobile startup finally getting placement on a carrier’s site or having an app shipped on a handset. For Greenbox, the deal represents its first access to customers who can give feedback on the startup’s user interface — does it provide enough insight into power rates, does it affect behavior, how easy is it to navigate?

Greenbox VP of Marketing Matt Smith gave us a demo of the software this week, and from the looks of it, the interface is on its way, though still in the early stages. The premise is to help the customer understand electricity costs, and in that way it reminded me of financial startup Mint — it provides insight into an environment where customers have traditionally had very little transparency. And compared to competitors making similar software, the company is focusing on “actionable items” to develop an “ecosystem, not just software,” explains Smith. That could deliver value for developers, utilities, demand-response companies, smart-grid firms, smart-home hardware makers, and finally the power user.

GreenBox uses Zigbee for wireless devices. Their technical partners are

  • ZigBee Alliance
  • Ember Corporation
  • Daintree Networks, Inc.
  • The strength of GreenBox is the user interface/experience focus given the Adobe and Macromedia executives. In my prior life I used to work with both companies and they both have design and user interface in their DNA. But, they have fallen in the trap I see many energy monitoring solutions going for home consumers, and not the commercial market. Peak power usage during working hours is the biggest problem for electricity capacity, and this is the commercial market.

    I do agree the home consumer have the passion for the subject more than commercial business, but as utilities run out of capacity commercial properties have a larger impact with fewer buildings. I have had many conversations with people who are after the home market and I tell them all go for commercial not home. The market is crowded as seen in this post listing 5 startups.

    5 Energy Monitoring Startups to Help You Cut Home Power

    Written by Katie Fehrenbacher

    Posted May 19th, 2008 at 12:00 am in Startups

    The 81 million buildings in the U.S. consume more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation and industry, says the U.S. government. Here’s five startups that are building software and hardware to help consumers and businesses cut down on power consumption. The more building owners know about the power they use, the easier it is to cut energy and carbon-emissions — a case of knowledge equals less power (used).

    Another home monitoring solution is Tendrill http://www.tendrilinc.com/

    I looked at this market and still have an interest, but decided to put my own focus on the data center market as being the early adopter of effective power management best practices.

    I will have a post next week about one of the data center energy monitoring solutions.