Xively and Sparkplug Power- A Match Made in Heaven

We are thrilled to welcome Xively by LogMeIn into the Greentown Labs community as a Kilowatt partner. Xively is an Internet of Things (IoT) division of LogMeIn. Their service takes a holistic approach by connecting devices, programming the connection framework and infrastructure, and gives users peace of mind knowing their connected devices are secure and hack-proof. In total, Xively enables companies to reach market faster by connecting products, managing data and engaging customers in unique ways.

One of our member companies, Sparkplug Power, is an avid user of the Xively platform. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Sean Becker, founder of Sparkplug Power, about his relationship with Xively. Sean is a major advocate of the IoT service and believes their platform could be incredibly beneficial to many startups at Greentown Labs.

Sparkplug Power develops energy storage systems to support grid services. The company makes containerized lithium ion battery systems to manage peak energy demand. The energy batteries store is used daily to levelize the power load and can also be used when all power has gone out on the Grid. Sparkplug Power ultimately provides savings by limiting demand charges and increasing reliability by eliminating blackout concerns.

Battery storage is a relatively new industry with plenty of research still to be done. One of the greatest concerns for storage companies is finding solutions that allow different batteries to support each other. When batteries are connected, they can “call each other out” or pull from their combined resources. Effective communication systems allow developers to get the most out of the resources. Sparkplug Power’s municipal utility customers are able to operate multiple systems as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

Another concern is collecting the adequate data to monitor systems effectively. Data aggregators can help companies like Sparkplug Power identify bottlenecks and provide necessary maintenance. Building a monitoring system for one battery could be within the realm of startup capabilities, but thousands is another question. That is where Xively comes in.

Like many member-partner relationships at Greentown Labs, Sparkplug Power benefits from the large scope and infrastructure Xively provides. With a startup budget and small staff, Sparkplug could not easily build the software infrastructure to remotely manage and monitor the batteries they have deployed effectively. Xively provides the infrastructure needed to monitor performance while simultaneously supporting services. The IoT platform covers everything from framework programming to security.

Often times, sponsors and members are able to have a mutually beneficial relationship. This is clearly exemplified in the connection between Xively and Sparkplug Power. Battery storage is taking off and people around the world are jumping at the opportunity to be involved, including LogMeIn. However, the incredible complexity and research still to be done make it a challenging market to enter. Sean is an expert in the field and is able to provide Xively with critical counsel. Xively helps Sparkplug reach more customers by enhancing services and monitoring while Sparkplug provides them with industry insight and first-hand advice.

Sean believes access to Xively will be tremendously beneficial to many Greentown Labs member companies. The platform will be especially helpful for startups that have deployed a large number of units. Sean is confident that the increased level of information provided by Xively can help other startups take the next step and reach more customers, like it did for Sparkplug.

Currently, Sparkplug Power is in the final stages of a pilot project in cooperation with Holyoke Gas & Electric (city department of Holyoke). Sean is also looking forward to creating a distributed network of battery storage for power demand management through MassCEC’s Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) Program. For Sparkplug Power, working in Massachusetts has been a real blessing. Sean is proud of the community at Greentown Labs and believes the amount of shared learning is incredibly beneficial to all. Additionally, the state is becoming a leader in energy storage and organizations like MassCEC are helping to further promote it.

It is always wonderful to see a member company and a sponsor form such a strong bond. The Greentown Labs community is excited to welcome Xively and grateful for the support they can provide startups here. We look forward to seeing the next phase of the Xively and Sparkplug Power partnership!