Environmental technology company Earth Networks has spent two decades building sensors to monitor weather, lightning, and greenhouse gases. In order to amass more data (perhaps like SETI) while also helping consumers be better global stewards, the company has launched a home energy monitor that anyone can install.
This product is the first to come from Earth Networks’ newest division, which was created through the acquisition of Whisker Labs. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whisker Labs was founded in 2014 by Oren Schetrit and Steven Lanzisera, both of whom formerly worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The startup sought to develop sensor hardware and software to improve how energy data is collected and consumed. This information helps bring non-connected devices online for applications that provide a way for people to manage energy usage and overall home efficiency.
Schetrit and Lanzisera’s team has been tasked with developing ways to leverage Earth Networks’ library of weather datasets, patented energy efficiency algorithms, and predictive energy analytics, along with what’s gleaned through the integrations with smart home devices. Through the launch of the Whisker Labs home energy monitoring device, Earth Networks will likely have an opportunity to gain access to much more data.
“Today, every appliance and every device in the home is connected to the power network,” said Earth Networks chief executive Bob Marshall. “The problem is the network is not accessible and the power data it holds is locked. We are excited to open this power network and connect it to the internet through one simple device.” He goes on to explain: “Our breakthrough device and software platform unlocks the full potential of a smart home by collecting and analyzing health intelligence data from both legacy ‘unconnected’ appliances and optimizing newer ‘connected’ appliances and devices.”
If you buy this new sensor, you can place it on your electrical panel or breaker box, and it will immediately begin measuring the power consumption of the appliances in your home in real time. You don’t have to connect it with any circuits or to the main power lines. Earth Networks has a mobile app that you can use to get insights on energy usage to better understand what you can do to reduce your consumption.
“The Whisker team was focused on solving the same problem as we were — how to access high-resolution home energy data through one easy to install [do-it-yourself] sensor,” Marshall told VentureBeat in an email. “Their technology and approach is complementary to ours and will accelerate product delivery and expansion of use cases.”
Competitors in the space Earth Networks operates in include Sense, Neurio, and Comverge, but Marshall believes his firm stands out because it now has a product anyone can buy and use.
Earth Networks promises that the Whisker Labs team will be creating other products in future but declined to cite specifics, except to say that they would be related to the home and focused on energy intelligence powered by its sensor data. “We are working on a host of products that will offer safety, comfort, and efficiency to the homeowner by linking our DIY sensor, algorithms, and optimization platform with offerings from other connected home players,” Marshall stated.
The Whisker Labs home energy monitoring device will be available to utility, solar, and energy companies; home automation providers; and insurance companies in early 2017. The general public will be able to purchase the device themselves later in the year.