MicroPower Technologies gets $6.5m from Motorola

Cameras are solar-powered and completely wireless
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. and SAN DIEGO—Jonathan Siann, founder and CEO of solar-powered, wireless surveillance provider MicroPower Technologies, says his company’s mission “is to change the economics of camera deployment,” and he now has $6.5 million in capital to achieve that goal.

“When we say wireless, we mean wireless,” Siann told Security Systems News. “There is zero cabling.”

San Diego-based MicroPower will use the new funding for “promotion, marketing activity and to develop the next generation of product,” Siann said.

Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, the strategic equity investment arm of Motorola Solutions, announced the investment on Jan. 9. Another private fund also participated in the round. The amount of that investment and name of the investor was not disclosed, however.

“Motorola Solutions Venture Capital has invested in MicroPower Technologies based on the best-in-breed products they offer today as well as those in their pipeline,” Tama McWhinney of Motorola Solutions Corporate Communications told SSN in an email interview. “Video has tremendous opportunity and is used throughout many of the vertical markets that Motorola Solutions serves.”

Motorola Solutions, which split from Motorola in January 2011 and is headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., provides mission-critical communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers.

MicroPower was founded in 2008 by “veterans of the wireless industry at the semiconductor level and software level,” and introduced its first product in 2010, Siann said. Its flagship product is the Rugged-i camera. The system uses wireless technologies to enhance data transmission. Its software and “ultra-low power wireless technologies” allow for the elimination of data and power cables. Powered by an integrated solar cell array, the company says the cameras can reduce power consumption by as much as 90 percent, “providing continuous operation even in low-light situations.”

Siann said MicroPower’s “basic value” is harnessing solar power and using it in a “tremendously effective way to capture and transmit video.”

 “For the end user, this allows them to deploy cameras in places where [previously] it wasn’t feasible from a cost perspective,” he said. “For systems integrators, the big story is that it gives them a major new opportunity. … They’ll be able to do jobs more cost-effectively and can use it as a weapon to increase the probability of winning business.”

Ideal applications for MicroPower cameras are “really anywhere that you typically have to do cabling or trenching … [they are also good for] temporary applications,” Siann said.

MicroPower’s current deployments include an airport maintenance facility for a major U.S. carrier; highway surveillance for the U.S. Department of Transportation; fleet surveillance for a freight carrier, and ingress/egress parking lot surveillance for a major retailer.

Mel Gaceta, investment manager for Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, will join the MicroPower board of directors as an observer.

Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, which also invests in PSIM maker VidSys, announced in March 2011 that it was looking to invest in the security space.

Is it seeking more investments in security? “We are always scanning the market for companies that have a current or future strategic fit with Motorola Solutions’ business. Security is an important area for our business, so we do look at that space regularly,” McWhinney said.