ZigBee pioneer raises another $12m

Ember has been handed another $12m to spend on developing next-generation sensor networks

Ember, a US company at the forefront of the nascent sensor network market, has landed another slug of financial backing.

The company announced on Wednesday that it had raised a total of $12m (£6.3m) from several existing investors. This included Vulcan Capital, the investment fund of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Polaris Venture Partners, where Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe is a general partner.

This takes the total amount of money invested in Ember to $65m.

Ember is developing products and software that support ZigBee, a wireless technology based on the 802.15.4 standard that offers the promise of low-power networking and control in the future. Advocates of ZigBee claim that millions of electronic devices could be fitted with ZigBee chips to form a high-speed wireless sensor network that can linked to the Internet.

Within companies, Zigbee sensors could be used to to monitor infrastructure, such as oil pipes or remote warehouses. A corporate ZigBee network could, however, generate a very large amount of data, posing new challenges for IT managers.