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Energy monitor sees $7.5 million in funding round

Sentilla has secured Series B funding for its wireless microcomputer energy monitoring system for industrial and commercial facilities.

Sentilla's microcomputers for monitoring energy consumption are just larger than a dime. Sentilla

Sentilla, a company that makes energy management technology for industrial and commercial facilities, announced Wednesday that it has secured $7.5 million in Series B funding from Onset Ventures and Claremont Creek Ventures.

The energy-management tech company has patented technology that allows people to use microcomputers to remotely monitor the energy consumption of industrial machines, and allow those machines to exchange data with one another, to collaboratively direct energy supplies to facilities as needed.

The communication between the human monitor and the machines themselves is done through a series of small pervasive computers mounted either at the machine or in the vicinity that can communicate through wireless networks.

Each Sentilla Mini computer is essentially a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller with a TI/Chipcon CC2420 low-power wireless radio that runs on two AAA batteries, according to the company. The computer is roughly the size of a dime and is loaded with Sentilla Point, a Java-compliant software platform.

In corporate-speak this type of service is referred to as a "demand-side energy management solution."

But Sentilla's technology does not only manage industrial machines.

It can also be embedded in commercial spaces or office buildings to monitor things like whether employees turn off the lights in conference rooms when not in use.

The technology was tested for this type of purpose at the Moscone Center in San Francisco during the JavaOne 2008 conference.

About 200 of Sentilla's microcomputers were mounted throughout two convention halls covering about 700,000 square feet. The computers collected data on the number of people exiting and entering the rooms, electricity usage, lighting, humidity, and temperature, then relayed the information back to a main computer via a wireless network.

By analyzing the collected data, Sentilla was able to determine attendee movement and energy consumption behavior, and make recommendations on how temperature controls, lighting, and electricity might better be allocated in the spaces.