Cisco outlines strategy for Smart Grid infrastructure

May 18, 2009 By Tracy Seipel

Continuing its expansion into lucrative business niches, Cisco Systems on Monday will announce its entrance into the smart grid infrastructure market, which the company estimates will grow to $20 billion a year within the next five years.

Smart grid calls for the construction of a 21st-century electric system with new technologies while encouraging energy conservation.

Cisco plans to address critical points within the energy infrastructure, including transmission and distribution automation, smart grid security, smart meter communications, and business and home energy management. The company said it was prompted to make the move after its utility customers asked about its plans for the smart grid, said Marie Hattar, vice president of network systems and security at Cisco.

Hattar said Cisco created a smart grid board within the company in October to identify ways it could participate in the growing market, for which $11 billion in U.S. stimulus funds has been set aside. A team of 100 people already is working on the new initiative, and she expects the number to grow to 200.

"We want the utilities to maximize their current investments in the infrastructure and for consumers and businesses to better manage and lower their electricity bills," Hattar said. "The last piece is that it's good for the environment."

Analysts say the move makes sense for Cisco, whose networking products could become the platform for a modern electrical system that includes sensors and other devices that can help create .

"They built the switches and the routers that created the Internet that connects businesses and computers together," said Mark McKechnie, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech in San Francisco. "And their Linksys acquisition a few years ago put them into the home. So they are in a unique position to control and improve the efficiency of the power system."

Also, noting that Cisco's core business is maturing, McKechnie said it is crucial for the company's future to find new areas of growth. "Investors and Wall Street will like Cisco moving into a new growth area, and this one has as much promise as any," he said.

Monday's announcement follows a major decision by the company in March to diversify into the server market, potentially setting up a showdown with longtime partners Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

___

(c) 2009, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).
Visit Mercury Center, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Creating the fastest outdoor wireless Internet connection in the world

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cisco buys Tidal Software for 105 mln dlrs

Apr 09, 2009

Cisco Systems Inc. announced on Thursday it was buying Tidal Software Inc. for 105 million dollars in a move aimed at enhancing the US networking giant's next-generation data centers.

Brocade deepens IBM ties, steps up attack on Cisco

Apr 28, 2009

(AP) -- Brocade Communications Systems Inc. is deepening its ties with a powerful ally, IBM Corp., forging a new distribution deal for Internet routers and switches at a time when bigger rival Cisco Systems Inc. is straining ...

Smart Grid Technology: Vulnerable To Hackers

Mar 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Smart Grids are digitally based electricity distribution and transmission systems and test have shown that a hacker can break into the system resulting in a massive blackout.

The Cisco bid: To branch out while others retrench

Apr 05, 2009

(AP) -- On the surface, there doesn't seem to be much of a connection between the servers that run corporate data centers and a handheld video camera you use to film family vacations. Yet both have somehow become part of ...

Recommended for you

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

1 hour ago

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

4 hours ago

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

5 hours ago

Cadillac said Thursday it will add high resolution streaming video to the function of a rearview mirror, so that the driver's vision and safety can be enhanced. The technology will debut on the 2016 Cadillac ...

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

6 hours ago

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.