One year ago, Kirk Cameron decided his company MiserWare would give away its main product, Granola.
He picked this common cereal name for his computer software product because “it puts the personal computer or your laptop on an energy diet, ensuring you only use what you need,” Cameron explained.
Using social media and one university press release, the Virginia Tech computer science faculty member and his partner and former student Joseph Turner found they had an overnight success. Within 100 days, Granola was downloaded 100,000 times. Today, it exceeds 200,000 downloads.
Recently, Cameron found out exactly how valuable his software giveaway program was when he googled Granola and learned to his surprise that Time magazine had named it a Top 20 Green Tech Idea.
Bryan Walsh, the author of the Time article, wrote, “Granola, for example, can run in the background of your operating system and tune up your computer's own energy-saving hardware, ensuring you're not wasting volts unnecessarily.”
“It was awesome to read this. You can imagine how surprised I was, and pleased,” said Cameron, who is also the co-founder of the Green500 List, a ranking of the most energy efficient supercomputers in the world and a complimentary view to the well-established Top500 List, a ranking of the various speeds of the existing supercomputers.
"We set out to save the world," said Cameron, director of the Scalable Performance Laboratory and an associate professor of computer science at Virginia Tech. “We wanted to spread the impact of the technologies we developed to reduce energy waste in computers by creating software for use by the masses.”
Turner, vice president of engineering and Cameron's former student, said the technology is intelligent. “Our software adapts to the user’s needs. It’s like having a car that is as fast as a Ferrari when you need it, yet as efficient as a Prius.”
Today, MiserWare offers other products, including Granola Enterprises. But like all good things, there is now a price tag associated with the enhanced software containing many additional features.
They have a patent pending for their intelligent software power management green software for use in servers, personal computers, and laptops. The intelligent software tracks and predicts a system’s power usage and reports on the energy saved. Cameron said, “Projected reductions in system energy costs of up to 35 percent ensure no loss of productivity.”
They have customers from around the world, and Cameron says he believes they are registering between 300 and 500 new users daily. The company of two has grown to seven at its Blacksburg, Va., location.