Photo of meter via delgaudm via Flickr CC
Cisco Systems has announced plans to be a heavy hitter in the smart grid scene, outlining its end-to-end, highly secure network infrastructure solution that aims to assist utilities and consumers with power management. A Cisco press release from this morning states:
Cisco has already begun sharing its networking expertise with leading utility providers around the world and is building innovative network solutions for them and their customers to monitor electricity utilization, optimize energy delivery, reduce energy usage and cost, improve system security, and lessen their impact on the environment. In the months to come, Cisco plans to deliver products and additional services to support this initiative - one that is aimed squarely at addressing the growing Smart Grid communications infrastructure market projected by Cisco to reach $20 billion annually over five years.
In other words, everyone get out of the way - Cisco is doing a cannonball into the pool.
"Networking technology will serve as the platform of a smart, more secure energy grid for the 21st century. Cisco is uniquely positioned to provide a converged Smart Grid communications fabric and to assist our utility customers with the kind of business transformation that will enable the efficient, effective transmission of energy and deliver entirely new, environmentally-friendly services to consumers," says John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco.
Other big players in the scene include Silver Spring Networks, a start-up that has made it big so far. With Cisco moving in, it'll be more difficult for start-ups to get a word in edgewise. However, with the technology being so new and quickly advancing, it's an ideal situation for agile start-ups to find a niche and dig in.
Cisco already has a big footprint: big utilities and large corporations already own its equipment and a lot of consumers have wireless Internet gateways in their homes.
Just as important, Cisco has shown an uncanny knack for corporate diplomacy, with one of the best track records for buying companies and actually incorporating their technologies into their own product lines...
...Cisco also participates and often guides standards bodies and interest groups. Many expect Cisco to do the same here, particularly as it moves from managing energy in things it knows well, such as phones and networking equipment, into trying to manage power in buildings or between homes.
One thing is for sure: We need a smarter grid, and we need it fast. With an established company like Cisco making big moves like this, we have high hopes of seeing that grid put into place sooner, rather than later.
More on the Smart Grid:
The Next Big Oil: Big Smart Grid?
Smart Meters, Smart Grid, Green Jobs & More: Mayor Diaz Unveils Energy Smart Miami Program
Green:Net 2009: Smart Grid Standards According to the Experts (Video)
SMART 2020 Report: Smart Grids Can Cut CO2 Emissions by 15 Percent
Smart Grid Tech Taking Hold in Australia