Last week, Digi International
reported its 33rd straight quarter of growth, dating back more than eight years to early in the last decade.
And while that success is built on more than 25 years of experience, the Minnetonka-based wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) device networking company is seeing major growth in the emerging energy sector, especially with its smart-grid technology and cloud-computing platform.
Digi has begun partnering with companies to build end-to-end energy monitoring and management solutions around the company's X-Grid, says David Mayne, Digi's director of business development.
Under that "extended" grid umbrella is the iDigi Device Cloud--"the embedded industry's first ready-to-use cloud computing platform for device networking and management," according to an online description. The cloud service allows remote metering and management of energy use through communication with devices "beyond the meter," Mayne says.
"The thing that is really driving the growth is the ability to utilize iDigi to provide connectivity from an application down to a device," he says. The smart-grid platform also drives sales of other Digi products like gateways and radio modules, "so we kind of get all the different pieces that become part of this end-to-end solution," he says.
It also puts Digi at the forefront of energy-management innovation that is in its early stages globally, according to Mayne. In January, Digi announced a major partnership with Green Energy Options to develop a real-time, web-based energy management system, based on iDigi and the Digi X-Grid, for the European utility market.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., Digi and its partner Itron have introduced "Smart Grid Now" bundles that enable utilities to conduct energy-management pilot programs. The cloud-based bundles can be deployed on a small or large scale, Mayne explains.
"For as little as a few thousand dollars, [utilities] can get customers engaged by using smart phones to look at thermostats and get metering information," he says. "Because we're offering this as a cloud service, there's little upfront investment and there's proven capability to expand to millions of devices."
Digi also announced a partnership in January with Calico Energy Services to offer an integrated smart-grid technology solution for energy and demand management.
Mayne notes that while most think of the smart grid in terms of the energy sector, Digi is also seeing business growth beyond energy management and services. Other high-growth areas include the medical device industry and fleet management--trucks and other large mobile assets.
Mayne notes that smart-grid applications can be applied to water conservation and gas utilities as well.
"As new services evolve, things we haven't even thought of yet, we can plug them into iDigi," says Mayne of the "flexible technology," an open platform that he says is ready to handle future innovation--an important point for Digi and its 600 employees, more than half of whom work in Minnesota.
"That's really helping to build or reinvent people's careers as we continue to evolve the organization," Mayne says. "Future-proofing is key. This is something that is new, and this will create innovation."
Source: David Mane, Digi Intrernational
Writer: Jeremy Stratton