The Honeywell-Nest lawsuit: Have the patent wars come to cleantech?

Cleantech has so far largely avoided the nasty patent wars that plague a space like mobile, but that changed last week when thermostat maker Honeywell filed suit against startup Nest. The appearance of a large company using its patent libraries to fight a new product's coming to market could have chilling effects on the ability of startups to convince investors that investing in a new idea is worth the risk. It is tough enough right now to raise capital for early-stage cleantech startups. Build in extensive patent survey costs for startups and investor concern about late-stage litigation, and it gets even harder.…

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Why the future of smart meters is data, not hardware

It is becoming abundantly apparent that, while there is still focus on install rates of physical smart meters, what will matter in the future is how well the data from these smart meters can be secured by utilities and how well utilities can use that data to manage demand response, address outages and balance load. Beyond these initial steps, however, lies the holy grail of smart meter data: the possibility that it can be used to drive changes in customer behavior.…

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The broadband–home energy connection gets stronger

Who needs smart meters when you’ve got broadband? Last week saw two announcements that lay out the potential for delivering deep energy management capability via existing home broadband market channels, all while smart meters are still struggling to get up and running. If the broadband channel to home energy takes off — a very big if, to be sure — that could leave smart meter-dependent home energy startups in the dust…

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