Sometimes innovative companies can be a little too ahead of their time. Google and Microsoft are arguably two of the most influential and innovative companies in modern history. Part of their success has been to capitalize on emerging trends by anticipating consumer needs and wants. So it was not terribly surprising when both companies introduced technology tied to the smart grid.
Google is trying to prove it’s more than just another pretty browser face while gaining “green” street cred. The search engine giant has deployed more than 70 electric vehicle charging stations at its worldwide headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Lowe’s is now selling the PowerCost Monitor and its WiFi Gateway plug and play accessory, which enables real-time energy feeds to Microsoft Hohm and Google PowerMeter. The PowerCost Monitor is available in Lowe’s stores located in 24 states, including California, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York.
An Arlington, Virginia, company that gives consumers a detailed analysis of their energy consumptions is proving to be more user-friendly than similar services being offered by Google and Microsoft. Opower, founded by Dan Yates and Alex Laskey in 2007, has 105 employees and is expected to generate more than $35 million in revenue this year.
Spectrum Bridge, in partnership with Google and Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative & Telecommunications (PSREC) has launched the nation’s first Smart Grid wireless network trial utilizing TV white spaces spectrum in Plumas-Sierra County, CA. PSREC says it chose TV white spaces so Smart Grid technologies could devise more efficient ways to manage its supply-and-demand of electricity, improve system control, and provide broadband Internet access to under-served areas.
In his keynote at ConnectivityWeek, Vint Cerf, best known as the co-developer of the Internet’s TCP/IP protocol, observed that the smart grid will only succeed if consumers and the business sector perceive it to be beneficial to their needs and urged smart grid designers to think beyond just electricity to other resource usage.
Google is using energy monitors from Current Costs to bring its PowerMeter home energy software to the U.K. The PowerMeter application enables consumers to track in real time how much energy they are using and how much they are paying for it in real time. Current Costs is the world’s biggest provider of energy monitoring devices.
Google hopes to transform the energy grid in much the same way it did the Internet. Following up on its conquest of the search engine market by first simplifying the process and then generating sales from efficient advertising related to search results, Google is now funding green technologies and is using its incomparable brand power…