In a previous life I was a director of a solar company. Great story but wait. An important part of the business was monitoring energy and solar production both pre and post installation.
For the not so tech savvy measuring power is really simple. Power you draw from the grid or the power your appliances use is measured in watts (W). kW kilowatts to be exact.
From year 8 science we should remember that Power (Watts) = Voltage(V) x Amps(I).
Voltage we have a good handle on as the grid in Australia is stable around 240V +/- a little bit. So you really just need to measure the current (amps) you are drawing to work out Power.
To do this you use a Current Transformer (CT) clamp which clamps over an electrical wire, preferably at the meter box. If you had 3 phase power then you would need 3 clamps over each phase. See picture below.
These clamps are then attached to a transmitter which would then sent the data back to a hub, kind of like a modem. You can then access this data from an internet or wireless enabled app anywhere in the world.
We used a company called Efergy. Product was great, cheap, super reliable and safe to install. You did not need to pay an electrician you could just clamp the CT’s over any wire and see what was happening. You bought the product and there was no annual fee to access your data. However there was no control over the devices it was purely data collection and presentation.
So the other day I was asked about Buddy (BUD) which seems to have a energy monitoring device called the Buddy Ohm. They are calling themselves an Internet of things (IoT) enabled company. First red flag a buzz-word.
When I looked at the product it looked like just another energy monitoring device with a wireless interface. Looks like they have thrown in a temperature monitor as well.
In a promo announcement I read the following:
It uses Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, Microsoft Azure and Power BI to generate easily accessible dashboards delivering users instant actionable insights about power use.
Rephrased into non marketing speak:
It uses old technology in CT clamps to measure power, uploads the data into a database that anyone can rent, and displays this data using a interface you can buy off the shelf. Oh, and by the way there are quite a few products in the market place that do this already.
But that does not sound as sexy.
The other interesting thing on their website is it seems to show a focus on the commercial and corporate space. With some serious BMS players in this space I am not surprised with the TLS deal announced then they seem to be pivoting into retail.
When I had a look at the shares on issue the company after the latest raising has around 1.05 billion shares fully diluted. At a share price of $0.28 then this market cap is around $300m. Which seems amazing if I suspect what they have is true.
To be fair I have not dug a lot deeper into the pricing of their product and what circuits they sensor and if there is power switching and automation control like a full service BMS. But on first glance it looks like another monitoring device. Having dealt with Johnson Controls then I think the guys at JC are safe for now.
And how does Apple’s Home and Nest and Alexa fit into the ability for these apps to control home data?’
If anyone has anything more on this and if I am totally off the mark then would love to hear it.