In Brief | Island Inc. 7-8-13


Kona company gets grant to trial smartphone technology

Ikehu Inc., a startup in Kona, is the recipient of a research grant from the National Science Foundation as part of the federal government’s Small Business Innovative Research program. The foundation offers the grants to fund innovative projects that have high commercial potential, but are at a very early stage.

The purpose of Ikehu’s grant is test how a smartphone-based rewards program can be used to modify power consumption in coordination with electricity supply and demand. Consumers sign up to receive alerts on their smartphones during times when electricity is scarce or abundant.

Consumers receive points to reduce consumption for a short period of time when electricity is scarce — typically less than one hour. When electricity is plentiful, consumers earn rewards for starting important tasks like drying clothes, charging an electric vehicle or cooking. The points received are from existing airline mileage or other rewards programs, so they have real value.

“Balancing energy supply and demand is a challenge faced by utilities around the world,” said Holland Wood, Ikehu’s president and CEO. “Renewable sources like solar and wind are variable and can stress the electric grid considerably. This trial will utilize innovative smartphone technology to help alleviate this problem.”

Ikehu has a patent-pending solution called the Demand Response Incentive, or DRIVE, platform that includes a smartphone app and a Web service. DRIVE gives power companies the ability to reward consumers with miles or points to responsibly use electricity. The company hopes the results of the trial will generate interest from power companies worldwide.

Kings’ Shops adding electric vehicle charging station

The Kings’ Shops in the Waikoloa Beach Resort area is going green with the installation of an electric vehicle charging station for all guests to the center.

The charging station features a high-resolution touch screen along with instructions and video and allows two vehicles to charge at the same time. Now guests to the shops can charge their vehicle while dining and shopping.

For more information, visit kingsshops.com or call 886-8811.

Big Isle trails to be on Google Maps

In a first-of-its-kind partnership with Google Maps, the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau will begin mapping out the interior of Hawaii Island using the company’s Street View Trekker equipment to collect 360-degree images showcasing parts not accessible by car.

HVCB has enlisted the help of Kailua-Kona-based Hawaii Forest and Trail to launch the initial phase of the project. Its employees are hiking the Trekker technology through more than 20 popular and well-maintained state and national park trails across the Big Island, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls State Park and Pololu Valley.

Hawaii Forest and Trail is tracking its progress at blog.hawaii-forest.com.

Bank collecting school supplies, holding essay contest

Central Pacific Bank is collecting school supplies and monetary donations throughout July at its 34 branches statewide as part of the Ready to Learn program. Administered by Helping Hands Hawaii, Ready to Learn provides more than 10,000 low-income Hawaii children with new classroom supplies at the start of the school year.

In conjunction with the school supply drive, children ages 11 and younger are invited to enter Central Pacific Bank’s Essay Contest for a chance to win an iPad mini. Now through July 31, submit an essay in 250 words or less, answering “Why is school important to you?” One winner will be selected in each age group. Entry forms and complete rules are available at all branches or at centralpacificbank.com.

The school supplies and money collected at all branches will remain on the respective islands. All school supply donations are welcome, including crayons, scissors, notebooks, portfolios, folder paper, erasers, No. 2 pencils, glue, calculators, rulers, composition books, and backpacks. A donation of $10 will purchase one backpack filled with all the items needed to prepare a student for the new school year.

For more information, call 544-0500 or (800) 342-8422.

Resort’s bungalows renovated

Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Kohala Coast recently renovated its five private bungalows.

The bungalows offer 4,000 square feet of living space and feature two master bathrooms, each with a private garden with an outdoor rain shower. A private pool, jacuzzi and expansive lanai allow for casual afternoon barbecues or starlit dinners.

Business plan seminar happening July 25

The Hawaii Small Business Development Center will present “How To Write A Business Plan,” a seminar conducted by Nancy Ginter-Miller, on July 25 at the West Hawaii Center located in Kuakini Tower, 75-5722 Kuakini Highway, Suite 213, in Kailua-Kona.

Registration starts at 2:30 p.m. and the seminar is from 3 to 5 p.m. Participants will learn how to develop a business plan or revise an existing one with step-by-step instructions. The session will include business plan financials.

There is a $20 fee. Preregistration is required by July 24. For more information and or to register, call 327-3680 or visit hisbdc.org.

Credit union offers free financial workshops

Hawaii First Federal Credit Union’s Money First financial education workshops cover a range of topics, including budgeting, saving tips, ways to reduce electricity costs and other monthly expenses, and ideas for increasing income. The classes also hash out the “debt snowball method,” understanding credit and how to improve your credit score. Other topics covered include tools for organizing your financial documents, useful information about how to prevent identity theft and basics of buying a car.

“We offer these classes at no cost because our goal is to educate our community members and arm them with the financial tools we believe every family should have on their path to achieving self-sustainability,” said Mary Ann Otake, operations and development vice president.

Hawaii First Federal Credit Union has offered free financial education workshops for the past five years. During 2012, more than 2,200 people attended the workshops, including high school students, staff of local nonprofit organizations, and community members of all ages.

These workshops are offered every other Tuesday. Admission is limited and based on first-come, first-served. Hawaii First Federal Credit Union welcomes requests from local businesses and nonprofit organizations to hold on-site workshops. For more details, call 885-7349 for the Kamuela Resource Center or 933-6600 for the Hilo Resource Center.

Ocean Sports renovating catamaran

Ocean Sports has completed the first phase of renovation of the Alala, the largest catamaran in its fleet. The company has temporarily removed the mast and head sail from the boat.

To complement the changes, guests cruising on the 65-foot catamaran will enjoy new comfortable aft deck seating, a revamped cabin interior featuring custom mahogany table-side seating, plush wall coverings, new lighting and fans.

For more information, visit hawaiioceansports.com or call 886-6666.

ATV company upgrades its fleet

RideTheRim ATV tours in Waipio Valley has purchased a new fleet of 2013 Honda Rancher ATVs. The ATVs are all automatic and four-wheel drive.

Go to ridetherim.com or call 755-1450 for more information.

Kona Brewing Co. launches summer Facebook contest

From now until August, fans of Kona Brewing Co.’s Facebook page are invited to share their summer fun photos by posting them at the Kona Brewing Summer Bucket List sweepstakes.

One grand prize winner will be treated to an endless summer of bucket list activities in the surf, sun and sand in Kailua-Kona.

For more information, visit konabrewingco.com.

Four Seasons introduces custom bath amenities

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu’s Kawili Project is creating a new custom line of luxury bath amenities. The products are created exclusively for the resort by L’Oeil du Vert.

Kawili means “to blend” and the products are made with base formulations of Hawaiian oils, salts, sugars and land and sea botanicals. Each of the products is made with organic raw materials that are hand blended and free of sulfates, parabens and synthetic color and fragrance.

Working with local farmers and guided by Hawaiian elders, the Kawili Project supports the preservation of Hawaiian indigenous plant knowledge with a percentage of proceeds given to local community organizations, such as Aunty Alapai Kahuienai and Pulama Pono.

- MOVERS & SHAKERS -

Kona insurance broker honored

Peter Amelotte, a life and health insurance broker who has been involved in the sale of insurance for the people in Hawaii since 1985, was recently awarded 25-plus years from the National Association of Independent Financial Advisors.

Amelotte has earned the professional designations of Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow and long-term care professional. In 2005, He joined the Aloha Insurance Services team of sales professional in the capacity of sales manager in the health and life sales division.

Hawaii Island air tour company earns awards

Iolani Air, a Hawaii Island charters and air tours company, has been recognized by TripAdvisor with a certificate of excellence award for 2013, its third consecutive year. This makes it the No. 1 rated air tour company on the Big Island, according to the travel website.

The company operates out of Kona and Hilo International airports.

For more information, call 329-0018 or email fly@iolaniair.com.

By local sources