Friday, 3 September 2010

Cisco acquisitions and alliances in the fast-growing smart grid market

Cisco logo Cisco has announced its intention to acquire Arch Rock Corporation, which provides internet protocol-based wireless network technology for smart-grid applications. 

Cisco says that the acquisition of the privately-owned, San Francisco-based company will help it offer an open-standards based IP infrastructure for smart meters. Arch Rock's technology helps utilities connect smart meters over a multi-way wireless mesh network, which adds value to Cisco’s IP-based, end-to-end smart-grid offerings, which we discussed last month.

Yesterday’s acquisition announcement came just a day after Cisco revealed a collaboration with Itron, a leading provider of smart metering, data collection and utility software systems. The two companies will collaborate on developing a ‘standards-based, highly secure technology for full IPv6 implementation of field area communications to support smart metering, intelligent distribution automation and interfaces to the customer premise’. The idea is to provide interoperability between wired and wireless communications among the various components of the smart grid.

Itron will license and embed Cisco IP technology within its OpenWay meters as well as distribute Cisco networking equipment and software as part of its smart meter deployments.

Laura Ipsen, Cisco senior vice president and general manager for the Smart Grid business unit said: "The alliance between Cisco and Itron represents a major step forward in the realisation of a modern, more intelligent energy infrastructure. Together, we aim to enable standardisation of the smart-grid architecture and help create an end-to-end communications platform".

The company said that Arch Rock acquisition would complement the strategic alliance with Itron.

 

Cisco is pushing hard into the smart grid communications space, looking to replicate its dominance in internet infrastructure. Given the opportunities it’s no surprise.

Market research company SBI Reports, through its SBI Energy brand, has identified smart grids as one of six clean energy markets that will change life as we know it in the next five years – details are here.

The report points out that implementing and integrating renewable energy sources is contingent on the upgrade of existing electrical grids around the world. SBI Energy sees the global smart grid market climbing by nearly 150% between 2009 and 2014, reaching $171bn in 2014, with the US market doubling over the timeframe to about $43bn by 2014.

© The Green IT Review

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