Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cisco gears up for smart grid market

Cisco Systems Inc. sees a $100 billion opportunity in communications equipment for upgrading aging electrical infrastructure to a digital smart grid.

Marie Hattar, vice president of marketing in Cisco’s Network Systems Solutions group, told CNET that the smart grid network will be “100 or 1,000 times larger than the Internet,” saying that virtually every home has electricity and many of them don’t have Internet access.

Cisco believes the smart-grid infrastructure market size could be worth more than $20 billion a year for the next five years, although some have called the projection overly optimistic.

“The opportunity is real,” reportedly said Judy Lin, the general manager of Cisco’s ethernet switching technology group. “Smart-grid is one of the top priorities and key market adjacencies for Cisco.”

Cisco’s Smart Grid solutions will address critical points within the energy infrastructure: from data centres and substations, through neighborhood-area networks, to businesses and homes.

The company will provide solutions for efficient, IP-based backhaul communications for smart metres that will integrate proprietary solutions into the overall smart grid platform. Cisco’s Home Energy Management and Business Energy Management solutions will help optimise energy demand, use and cost by providing greater access to data and analysis tools.

Last month, Cisco announced its partnership with the city of Miami to launch a $200 million Energy Smart Miami project. That initiative will bring smart metres and solar power systems to the city, as well as adding plug-in hybrids to the city’s vehicle fleet, and encourage the adoption of energy-reduction tools like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-metre thermostats to pilot programmes in 1,000 city homes.

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