The Cleantech Group announced Wednesday that San Francisco-based startup DotUI has developed a unique way to influence consumer energy usage behavior, by combining real-time energy management software and hardware with digital picture frames and a “fun” interface.
I first encountered DotUI and its Founder/CEO, Ishak Kang, at the Green:NET 2009 Conference, where Kang presented his vision of user interfaces–which are independent of their respective devices, following the user as he or she moved from one device to another. The presumption is that much useful technology goes unused because the user interfaces are difficult to learn. At the time, I wasn’t completely sure how this vision would translate into a viable product in the cleantech market, but it sure sounded interesting.
The company’s first offering, called the Nudgee, includes a wireless touch-screen digital picture frame device, which displays real-time energy usage data collected from “a universal gateway and electrical sub-meter. Gas, water, and air quality meters are optional.”
According to the article: “the company…is taking a fun approach, allowing users to see how much energy is being consumed, with updated images and content from friends and family, and utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook, instead of a dashboard approach other companies are pursuing.”
The company, in partnership with SAP, has announced a pilot program which will implement their technology to help Cal State Chico compete in the Campus Climate Challenge: “The Nudgee technology calculates carbon footprints of college students using high-resolution energy usage data and posts the results in social media competitions, including one between students living in university-owned housing versus the Greek system.”
In a brief conversation today, Kang confirmed that the Nudgee product has a number of interesting applications, including the ability to allocate energy usage to a particular student, or to a particular department’s budget, allowing for very specific social feedback mechanisms.
DotUI was a semifinalist in the 2009 California Cleantch Open’s Smart Power category. The company is currently seeking $600,00 in angel investor funding.
Dot UI puts social networking spin on energy management [Cleantech Group, LLC]
- Notes from the Cleantech Open Awards Gala [TriplePundit.com]
- 2009 Cleantech Open Semifinalists [cleantechopen.com]
- Wikipedia article on SmartGrid [wikipedia.org]
Steve Puma is a sustainability and technology consultant. He currently writes for 3p as well as on his personal blog, ThePumaBlog, about the intersection of sustainability, technology, innovation, and the future. Steve holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Computer Science from Rutgers University. You can contact Steve through email or LinkedIn, or follow him on twitter.