3. In-Home Energy Management: Tendril Networks

The Boulder, Colo.-based startup Tendril has been an early backer of ZigBee, the 802.15.4 wireless standard that is emerging as a favorite for carrying data from smart meters to in-home devices. While it makes an array of devices – in home energy monitoring screens, wall sockets, it has also licensed its software out to third-party device makers, including smart meter manufacturers (see Tendril Targets Meter Makers).

An increasing number of startups making in-home energy monitoring devices are looking at a similar model, given the challenge they face in making their own gear. One startup that focused on software from the get-go is Greenbox Technology, the San Bruno, Calif.-based startup founded by the creators and designers behind Flash. Its web-based dashboard manages data from smart thermostats, appliances and household devices and has been tested with customers in a pilot project with Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Silver Spring Networks.

But all those startups have some heavyweights entering the field to contend with. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)  has unveiled a prototype home energy management platform called PowerMeter that it would like to see adopted on a wide scale, and Cisco Systems, fresh from its push to network offices for power savings, has joined forces with General Electric and others to help do the same in a residential smart meter project in Miami (see Google Gets Into Home Energy Management, Cisco Jumps Into Energy Management for Computers, Buildings and A Million Smart Meters for Miami).

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