Ember (Boston) provides technology for a number of fields; among other uses, it "enables the widespread deployment of a wireless network of intelligent, low-cost, low-power, sensing and control devices." These devices can interact with each other not only to identify what's happening in the network, but to make adjustments as well.

In short, it offers another smart alternative to traditional thermostat controls in commercial HVAC applications.

"When an HVAC OEM designs climate control systems for large, multifloor commercial buildings," the company explained, "thermostats and temperature sensors are deployed throughout the site, with centralized control systems installed in building basements. In many cases, the cost of wiring a thermostat or temperature sensor to a control system can be greater than the cost of the sensor itself. Constant construction build-outs with new tenants require the relocation and rewiring of existing sensors. This becomes expensive."

Enter Ember. The company's battery-powered thermostats and temperature sensors feature embedded EM1020 radios and EmberNet software. These work together to allow the system to "self-organize into a reliable, secure, and adaptable network."

Thermostats (the company refers to them as "nodes") can be added, removed, or relocated at any time, the company said. Moreover, the technology "automatically scales and adapts to changing network needs."

EmberNet also can communicate heating and cooling temperature ranges to a PC; the data can be the basis for models that show energy-use patterns. This, in turn, helps companies develop conservation strategies.

"Wireless connectivity significantly reduces deployment cost and time, while redundant wireless data paths ensure network reliability," the company concluded. When a new tenant moves in, thermostat relocation "becomes as simple as picking and placing devices onto new locations."

For more information, contact the company at 617-951-0200, or visit www.ember.com.

Publication date: 06/28/2004