Crocus Energy: Shining a light on green energy usage

About Crocus Energy

Crocus Energy creates electric energy management products for manufacturing facilities, commercial buildings, and university campuses. With visibility and insights into energy usage, facilities can make smarter decisions to reduce energy usage.

Industries: Energy, Chemicals & Utilities
Location: United States

About Taos

Taos, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Managed Services Provider for Google Cloud Platform, brings their expertise in the IT space to consult with clients and help solve their technology challenges. Founded in 1989, Taos is headquartered in San Jose, California.

Crocus Energy works with Taos to improve responsiveness to customers by creating a cloud-based solution hosted on Google Cloud in a short period of time.

Google Cloud results

  • Accelerates onboarding time from three weeks to 30 minutes
  • Raises database limits due to scalable cloud environments
  • Saves customers millions of dollars through big data-enabled energy tracking

Saves thousands of dollars on troubleshooting events

Businesses are more conscious than ever about the need to go green. Smarter, more efficient energy choices can dramatically reduce costs and more than a third of businesses also agree that it’s simply the right thing to do.

Crocus Energy is a company committed to helping customers make smarter energy decisions through technology. Its Power Saver solution captures energy usage data from thousands of sensors across a facility, and then it uses big data and machine learning algorithms to automatically optimize systems and reduce energy consumption.

“Competing products typically work with small data samples and simple equations,” says Daniel Lim, co-founder and CEO of Crocus. “We’re using more advanced data science to provide greater benefits and reliability. We can save our customers up to 5% on their energy bill. When customers spend tens of millions of dollars on energy every year, that adds up to huge savings.”

Crocus initially offered only on-premises deployments of its Power Saver solution. But working with on-premises deployments had several downsides, particularly when it came to supporting customers. If the problem could not be solved over the phone, Crocus would fly an engineer out for an on-site service visit. Crocus serves many manufacturing facilities in remote locations around the world, making these in-person visits very costly and time consuming.

Crocus determined that offering a cloud-based solution could dramatically improve customer service and reduce costs. The company just needed to find a cloud-hosting platform powerful enough to run the complex Power Saver algorithms, while being scalable enough to meet demand as Crocus continues to grow.

“When it comes to big data and artificial intelligence, Google Cloud is the best. But it wasn’t just the technology that won us over. Google and Taos proved to be the true partners that we were looking for.”

Daniel Lim, co-founder and CEO, Crocus Energy

At the same time, Crocus was running on a tight deadline. Power Saver customers tend to avoid completing sales toward the end of the year. Crocus knew that if the cloud version of Power Saver wasn’t ready by fall, customers might put off the purchasing decision for months.

For Crocus to meet its deadline, it needed to get its cloud environment up and running quickly. The company wanted more than a powerful and scalable cloud platform. It needed a solid partnership with experts who had the knowledge and resources to help the project achieve success.

“When it comes to big data and artificial intelligence, Google Cloud is the best,” Daniel says. “But it wasn’t just the technology that won us over. Google and Taos proved to be the true partners that we were looking for. With everyone working together, we successfully met our deadline and started offering a cloud solution to customers before the end of the year.”

Bringing energy analytics to the cloud

As a late-stage startup with a small team, Crocus didn’t feel confident that it could bring a production-ready GCP environment online by the desired delivery date. It needed a strong partner that could understand the existing environment and deliver a custom solution built to handle the complex algorithms, analytics, and infrastructure behind Power Saver.

“The collaboration that we had with Google and Taos was one of the highlights of the year. Everyone came together as one team working to create a stable cloud solution ready to meet our customers’ needs.”

Frank Palladino, Head of Data Science, Crocus Energy

At a Google Cloud Next event, the Google team introduced Crocus to technology solutions provider Taos. Taos has a long history of partnering with cloud technology providers to design custom cloud strategies for businesses. At the meeting, all three parties quickly came to understand the scope and complexity of the project, as well as the need for an aggressive delivery date.

"Crocus presented a challenging and highly rewarding scenario. It's not just about saving money for customers, it's about a very real opportunity to conserve energy and impact local and global communities,” says Marc Hall, Professional Services Delivery Leader, Taos.

“We were new to the entire Google Cloud stack, so it was important that we have someone who could bring expertise to complement our knowledge,” says Frank Palladino, head of data science at Crocus. “The collaboration that we had with Google and Taos was one of the highlights of the year. Everyone came together as one team working to create a stable cloud solution ready to meet our customers’ needs.”

Taos moved the Power Saver solution to powerful virtual machines on Compute Engine. Working with Virtual Private Cloud adds even greater flexibility by helping to securely network customers’ virtual machines around the world.

“We love working with Google because of its impressive technology stack and the strong support it offers startups like us. Through the Google Cloud for Startups program, we received Cloud credits and expert support that helped us succeed.”

John Lee, CSO and Head of Product, Crocus Energy

The entire GCP solution is automated using Terraform to quickly spin up new client environments in a fraction of the time. Before, it could take three weeks to build out the appropriate infrastructure and onboard a new customer. Onboarding now takes as little as 30 minutes.

“We love working with Google because of its impressive technology stack and the strong support it offers startups like us,” says John Lee, CSO and head of product at Crocus. “Through the Google Cloud for Startups program, we received Cloud credits and expert support that helped us succeed.”

Instant troubleshooting worldwide

Since going live on Google Cloud, Crocus quickly improved customer support. “With all of our customer data more secure in Google Cloud, we can check customer environments remotely and troubleshoot any problem,” says Frank. “We reduced the time that it takes to troubleshoot a problem from days to as little as a few minutes. We can start talking about solutions instead of waiting for an engineer to fly out.”

Crocus also uses cloud data to help customers get the most out of their Power Saver implementations. Monthly reports give customers a clear overview of their energy usage. Crocus engineers can check energy data and verify configurations to make sure that the Power Saver solution is providing customers with maximum benefit.

Due to the immense scalability of Google Cloud, Crocus also provides customers with far more data storage than before. The on-premises infrastructure limited the maximum size of the customer database to 500 GB. Every 30 days, customers needed to purge and overwrite their databases to avoid hitting their limits. Google Cloud scales with ease, giving Crocus the flexibility to lift that hardware limit. Customers can keep their databases for much longer, providing a greater set of data for insights and analysis.

Shaping a brighter future

The future is looking up for Crocus Energy. Samsung Ventures, now a lead investor, deployed the Crocus Power Saver solution to its sites in several countries, and Crocus has plans to enter the education market, targeting large university campuses in North America. The company is also working with cities and counties in California to develop a product that will help utility companies and customers alike better understand energy usage and encourage smarter, cleaner energy consumption.

“Having a cloud-based offering gives us a huge competitive advantage for some of our customers,” says Daniel. “We’ve been very impressed by the Google Cloud technology stack, and we expect that we will continue to expand our footprint and take advantage of more technologies as our company grows.”

About Crocus Energy

Crocus Energy creates electric energy management products for manufacturing facilities, commercial buildings, and university campuses. With visibility and insights into energy usage, facilities can make smarter decisions to reduce energy usage.

Industries: Energy, Chemicals & Utilities
Location: United States

About Taos

Taos, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Managed Services Provider for Google Cloud Platform, brings their expertise in the IT space to consult with clients and help solve their technology challenges. Founded in 1989, Taos is headquartered in San Jose, California.