Friday, May 18, 2007

Tendril – a Pure Software Company in Wireless Sensor Networks

I met David Nagel again recently and received an update on his work with wireless sensor networks for storage container applications. He’s instrumenting a container with multiple nodes using light, humidity, temperature, and accelerometer sensors (for shock) to monitor the condition of the container. Security and anti-theft measures require increased monitoring and wireless sensor networks may be the answer.

During my visit I learned about a new startup in Colorado which makes programming Zigbee networks easier. They’re called Tendril. They make software tools for deploying Zigbee-based wireless sensor networks on hardware from TI, Ember, Freescale Atmel, and Tridum. They focus on deploying and managing wireless sensor networks rather than researching them.

Wireless sensor networks are gaining in deployments. I noticed Tendril identified three trends for the increase in wireless sensor network deployment by citing the need for:
1. reducing energy consumption,
2. reducing costs associated with wiring,
3. taking advantage of declining prices for semiconductor radios.

Their core product is called the Network Operating Platform which offers tools for building, managing, and deploying a network. They use Java and .NET-based software for their solutions.

They started in 2004 and received venture funding (around $6M according to one report) from various VC groups. It’ll be interested to watch where they land in the marketplace now that their product is shipping.

Best regards,
Hall T.

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