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Earth Networks buys developer, announces DIY energy sensor

Earth Networks’ new Whisker Labs division is developing a stick-on sensor that monitors electricity usage through a breaker box or panel. (Earth Networks photo)

Earth Networks’ new Whisker Labs division is developing a stick-on sensor that monitors electricity usage through a breaker box or panel. (Earth Networks photo)

A Maryland firm that monitors weather, lightning and greenhouse gas has acquired a California company and is developing a sensor that examines electricity usage without the need for smart appliances or professional installation.

Germantown-based Earth Networks bought Whisker Labs, a startup based in Oakland, California, which develops energy-sensing hardware and software, and is using its name for its new division for next-generation energy intelligence technologies. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The division’s first product is a do-it-yourself home intelligence sensor and platform that promises real-time power usage and diagnostic information for each appliance, without being connected directly to appliances. It is installed by affixing it to an electrical panel.

The sensor’s external approach to monitoring electrical usage helps because less than 10 percent of devices in homes are themselves online, according to Earth Networks.

The Whisker Labs division will leverage Earth Networks’ weather datasets, energy efficiency algorithms, predictive energy analytics, and integration with smart home devices, to use the sensor to monitor the energy use of otherwise offline appliances.

Appliance-level energy monitoring through the sensor will also work with Earth Networks’ Connected Savings platform to increase automated energy savings, according to Earth Networks. Connected Savings is now part of the Whisker Labs division.

Earth Networks plans to make the new energy monitoring device available to utilities, solar and energy companies, home automation providers and insurance companies in early 2017. It plans to sell it to consumers later that year.


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