is bringing its home energy monitoring and control software to Web-enabled mobile devices — and it's opening it up to would-be application developers around the world.
That's the news out of the DEMO conference
on Tuesday, where Tendril — maker of hardware and software to monitor and control power usage of TVs, lights, air conditioners and other in-home electricity using devices — has unveiled its new mobile Web application.
Other home energy monitoring companies — Greenbox
among them — are also working on mobile applications.
Tendril, however, has announced it will open its mobile API, called Tendril Vantage Mobile, to third party developers — potentially opening the floodgates to a host of interesting ways to measure and manage a home's energy usage.
It's a bit similar to what Tendril did last month, when it opened up its Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem (TREE) software platform to third-party developers (see Tendril Targets Meter Makers
"The first component is being able to have a window onto your (energy) consumption, and the second thing is being able to turn things on and off," Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck said. But by opening up the platform to developers, "we’ll now start to see a whole raft of things being developed," he said.
Of course, Tendril and others in its field don't yet have a market for these mobile home energy control applications. Right now Tendril is involved in about three dozen pilot tests with utilities, and only a few homeowners involved in those tests will be able to use cellphones for things like viewing energy usage and setting programs for turning lights and appliances on and off (see Tendril Expands its Reach Into Smart Homes
But utilities around the country are busy installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters, many of which are set up to communicate with in-home devices. With a host of companies — including recent entrant Google with its PowerMeter offering
— now promising to follow up on those smart meter deployments to bring consumers tools to help them measure and reduce the energy they use, taking those tools mobile is the next logical step, Tuck said.
He envisions tools like GPS trackers that automatically shut off home lights and appliances when people walk out the front door, or presets that turn on air conditioners as people head home from work.
But "The key here is, nobody knows yet what is the right way to talk to consumers about how to manage their consumption," he said. "It’s wide deployment to tens of thousands of homes that will tease out which aplications help consumers save."
Google apparently feels the same way. The Internet search giant has said it will open its PowerMeter home energy monitoring platform to third-party developers.