You may recall a story we published on Amber Solutions back in April — when the company received a patent for solid-state electricity control.
Amber Solutions announced Thursday that it has signed one Letter of Intent with revenue and six Memorandums of Understanding with leading global electronics manufacturers — three of which were signed during the COVID-19 lockdown — to explore product, scoping, development and contract terms.
The company also announced that it has completed and/or is building solid-state-based, full functional demo models or pre-production product for a range of categories that include multifunction capacitive touch smart dimmer switches, smart outlet, and smart, programmable retrofit Din Rail (Europe) and NEMA (US) circuit breakers.
“The combination of our internal and partner aligned development initiatives are reinventing a foundational technology of modern life that hasn’t changed materially in over 50 years, and this is happening faster than anyone would have thought possible a few short years ago,” said Amber founder, president and CEO Thar Casey. “Our partners recognize that Amber’s breakthroughs go far beyond providing new technology options to solving major and costly issues that have affected the industry for years.”
The prospect of Amber and its partners powering the wholesale upgrade of every electrical endpoint in every building, to solid-state with embedded intelligence is very compelling. “We deliver a first-mover advantage for our partners in an addressable market that is worldwide in scope and long overdue for transformation. We are opening the door to an entirely new area of opportunity for forward-looking investors, electrical products manufacturers, third-party developers, resellers, building architects and developers — as well as end-user customers.”
Amber has five patents secured, with 36 filed to cover both hardware and software innovations and received UL component-level certification for one of their core breakthroughs. “Amber’s portfolio of patented technologies is going to disrupt the global electrical and powered products industries by enabling robust integration of advanced artificial intelligence and Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity in any electrical product that requires AC to DC conversion or AC switching,” Casey said.
Amber’s core innovation is a programmable solid-state power system, with a clear path to a silicon chip. Amber’s system uniquely controls the flow of electricity digitally, enabling the integration of unique intelligence into building electrical products and infrastructure. The solution introduces the world to an alternative to the 1970s-era electro-mechanical components that are standard in electrical infrastructure products.
“Current industry standards rely on products with mechanical moving parts that can create dangerous electrical arcs and start fires, suffer fatigue and break, or even trip unnecessarily simply because they lack modern machine intelligence,” Casey emphasized. “Our electrical products partners see tremendous value in that Amber’s native intelligence in solid-state architecture delivers solutions to real-industry problems, such as elimination of nuisance AFCI and GFCI trips, flicker-less LED lights, non-sacrificial surge protection embedded in every powered product and even power cords, arc free electrical safety, robust energy awareness in buildings reducing or even eliminating phantom power, and more.”
The market’s traditional slow pace of adding modern functionality is now being swept away by Amber’s achievements. “Much like the way the modern smartphone has combined countless communications capabilities into a single product, Amber-enabled solutions can integrate virtually any, and multiple, IoT sensors or tools,” Casey explained. “We will enable a giant leap forward in the intelligence that can be delivered into buildings, on the back of the electrical infrastructure. Amber’s secret sauce is its ability to digitally regulate power while housing software programs and machine learning algorithms in solid-state architecture.”
According to Amber, one of the company’s major benefits for manufacturers and silicon-chip-makers is that Amber-powered products have native intelligence to manage power dynamically, independent of input or output requirements. For example, Amber can operate with input power from 60 volts to 260 volts, dynamically transforming it to the required output voltage. A single SKU device will work everywhere on Earth.
The same core Amber technologies in solid-state deliver a much smaller sized power management system, which opens space for substantially more features in the same standard product footprints and reducing costs. Such a badly needed form factor reduction and feature expansion enables every electrical endpoint – outlets, light switches, lighting cans, bulbs, and more — to become a hyper-intelligent IoT node that communicates with the rest of the building’s sensors and smart systems. Each node can provide a more robust variety of functions, as determined by manufacturers or end users, to deliver far greater value from every electrical socket or switch. Such a whole building sensor and control landscape, integrated within the buildings’ electrical grid, complements and dramatically extends the value of residential and commercial smart building systems.
According to the company, Amber’s solid-state solutions can disconnect live power up to 3,000 times faster than a physical circuit breaker can trip. Doing so without any moving parts means the risk of fire is essentially eliminated as there is no opportunity for an electrical arc (common with current circuit breakers and light switches), which can reach more than 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, any event taking place on an Amber-powered endpoint is recorded for user tracking and analysis and can send push alerts for events such as circuit breaker trips or passing temperature thresholds.
Amber technologies are designed to be compatible with a range of existing automation and control systems. Also, individual Amber endpoints can be controlled and monitored in real-time through Amber’s cloud service, enabling builders, and owners to also develop their own custom smart home solutions while encouraging better energy usage practices.
Amber’s solution also enables over-the-air updates. If a manufacturer and Amber find a way to improve safety or reduce energy waste from a product, they can update every existing, installed unit without any construction or product waste. This additionally opens the door to subsequent sales of programming upgrades that enable access to new functions, giving business owners a potential new revenue stream.