Measuring Up: eze System Tech Hits the Charts

Measuring Up: eze System Tech Hits the Charts

The neon sign flickered on when the doughnuts were ready, and passersby would flock to the promise the electric words made. The doughnut shop, though, wanted more customers than just what their sign drew in. It wanted its message of hot doughnuts appearing on the cell phones of anyone who had their app. That’s where eze System Inc. stepped in. The Folsom company created a special clamp placed on the electrical wire leading to the sign. It then had 350 such clamps made and put into action within weeks of getting the job. “When the sign turns on, they want you to get a signal on your cell phone,” said Anders Rehnvall, CEO of eze System.

Eze System provides technology to companies that want to measure something – whether it’s the amount of gas in a convenience store holding tank or the temperature of a commercial freezer – from a computer or mobile device. The implementation is simple: eze System builds hardware for a business that they connect to an existing sensor on their equipment, such as a freezer. The business can then access the data collected by eze System’s hardware from a website or app –whether it’s temperature, gas levels or electrical use, “All you need in our case is our little piece of hardware that is basically online when you plug it in,” Rehnvall said.

Rehnvall, a Swedish native, got his start in industrial control systems. He started in the 1980s working on simple alarm systems used in sewers and water applications. A larger company eventually bought out his employer, and that chain of events continued for several years. Rehnvall, a technician, became a developer and ultimately a branch manager for his company. The opportunity to work in California opened, and Rehnvall, then in his 30s, took it. A day into his stateside career his company was purchased by Honeywell. He stayed with Honeywell for 11 years, working on advanced electronics and large scale systems.

Then, in 2008, came the accident that would lead to eze System. Rehnvall’s back gave out while lifting a 10-gallon plant, and it landed him in a specially designed chair for months. “I sat in one chair and created this product,” he said. He made five of the devices, essentially the product eze System sells today, and sent four of them to friends. One friend called back and asked permission to show it to others. Rehnvall consented. He soon got another call. “’We’ve got a problem,’” his friend said. “’I sold your thing. How much was it? It’s for IBM.’” Shortly afterward eze System was born.

People who use eze System’s product want numbers, whether it’s the energy used in a building or gas in a tank. Those who check those numbers through eze System’s interface can choose how they get them: graphs, gauges and colors are all possible. “From that point on it’s a matter of presentation,” Rehnvall said.

Eze system’s customers include mom-and-pop stores as well as large enterprises like Volvo, Goodwill and Verizon. It sells the technology to companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Australia. The company has plans to delve into the South American market, and is working on a multi-language interface to tap the continent.

Eze System’s technology is better suited for businesses than homeowners. That doesn’t mean the typical homeowner isn’t affected by the product eze System makes. All someone has to do is check his or her phone for the freshest doughnuts to see the company’s impact!

California Sunlight Heating Up the Backyard Barbecue

California Sunlight Heating Up the Backyard Barbecue

Let’s sum up: the world is getting warmer, our state is getting drier, energy costs are rising, and natural resources are diminishing. And yet, dire as all this is, there’s an environmentally-friendly silver lining emerging.

A surge in startups dedicated to solving, refocusing or reinventing the energy consumption landscape is ushering in a new era of entrepreneurship. Whether they’re creating better batteries, finding new methods for cleaning water, or harnessing renewable resources in smarter ways, it’s an exciting time to be in the tech industry.

One of these companies is right here in Sacramento, and they’re taking on one of our most cherished backyard activities: barbecuing. California Sunlight, which is currently an incubator company with SARTA, is looking to add a green twist to outdoor cooking.

“Almost everyone has a barbecue in their homes, said Bing Gu, CEO of California Sunlight. “What we wanted to create was a solar-powered barbecue. So you don’t need charcoal, you don’t need natural gas, and you don’t need electricity, but you can still have a barbecue anytime you want and keep it green.”

While Gu holds numerous solar patents and is working on a number of solar technology prototypes with uses ranging from indoor lighting to cell phone recharging, California Sunlight is already producing and selling two solar cooking products.

As a replacement for the traditional backyard grill, they offer a big cooker that uses a magnifying glass to reach temperatures of 800 degrees, and has attachments that allow it to function as a barbecue grill, oven, rotisserie, boiler or a food dehydrator. It’s both powerful and fast heating, and, on days when the sun refuses to cooperate, also acts as a hybrid cooker by using charcoal.

California Sunlight’s most recent addition is an affordable (just $39.95), ultra-portable cooker option perfect for backpackers and recreational uses. Using an inflatable Mylar balloon that focuses the sun’s rays to generate heat to cook food or boil water, this cooker can be used in areas where campfires are not permitted, firewood is hard to find, or when users don’t want to carry fuel. The Solar Balloon Cooker also easily refolds to fit in its drawstring bag and is easy to repair with simple tape.

While the market for both products has been largely local so far, California Sunlight is looking to ramp up its production of both models and get them stocked in outdoor stores like Sierra Outfitters and REI.

Solar cooking is not a new technology. However, it has primarily been seen as a crisis-focused tool used in the third-world. Repositioning these products as a mainstream device easily used by any household could go a long way in not only advancing the industry, but also reaping its renewable—and cost-saving—benefits for everyone well into the future.

A perfectly grilled burger with a side of saving-the-world, what could be better than that?