There are a lot of things in your office and Verdiem wants to keep tabs on all of them.
The Seattle-based software developer has grown rapidly over the past few years by selling Surveyor, a corporate software application that lets IT managers monitor and control the power consumption of desktops and laptops. An employee changes the sleep mode setting on his or her PC? Surveyor sets it back, and it can shut off a PC too.
The application saves about $30 to $60 per PC per year in power costs, said Jeremy Jaech, who became CEO today, in an interview. In an organization with 10,000 employees, that's somewhere between $300,000 to $600,000 a year. (If everyone around the world flipped on their PCs all at once, we'd need 112.8 gigawatts of power, or more than the combined U.S. nuclear power fleet, by Greentech Media's estimate.)
Verdiem now wants to extend Surveyor and its other software tools to monitor power consumption in things like copiers or lights. The company hopes to roll out its Energy Management Platform to customers by 2010.
"There are a lot of things in your office-air conditioners, lighting, networking equipment," he said. "If we don't necessarily control the devices, we can monitor and report on their consumption."
The company may also partner with third-party energy service companies or others to provide services.
Oddly, Jaech said that the company will not try to market Energy Management Platform as a way to control data centers. There are already several companies (IBM, HP, Sun and startups like SynapSense come to mind) offering software and services for that.
But a number of companies already sell software and other equipment (Greenbox and Tendril, for example) for controlling lights and other devices. Smart grid specialists like GridPoint and Trilliant also have tools for this sort of task. True, Jaech admitted, but it's a bigger market and the standards haven't been fully fleshed out.
It's also a big market. Many academics, analysts, utility execs and government officials say that the U.S. (among other nations) can make huge strides in curbing greenhouse gases through energy efficiency. The U.S. consumes about 100 quads, or 100 quadrillion BTUs, of energy and year and around 50 to 60 quads are wasted, according to Arun Majumdar, a professor of mechanical engineering.
If anything, the company has a reputation, at least in high-tech circles, for survival. In 2004 and 2005, VCs and others often assumed it would get gobbled up by Microsoft. To date, Verdiem has raised $27 million. (One of Jaech's earlier companies was bought by Microsoft.)
Verdiem's target market could also change. Right now, it sells Surveyor mostly to Global 2000 companies with over 10,000 desktops. Smaller companies can benefit from the software but the general cut-off point is 1,000 PCs. With the Energy Management Platform, it will likely target smaller and medium-sized businesses, he said.