Cisco ups ante with Silver Spring

With Arch Rock buy, blogger sees competitive arsenal shaping up for smart grids

Skype will have to wait. Cisco made its second smart grid metering move this week by acquiring Arch Rock, a maker of wireless mesh infrastructure gear for smart grid metering applications.

Cisco said the Arch Rock acquisition complements the partnership it struck up earlier this week with Itron, a metering company with which Cisco will jointly develop product. Arch Rock also ups Cisco's  competitive ante with Silver Sprint Networks in smart grid, according to this post by Greentech Media. Greentech says the Arch Rock purchase and Itron alliance will allow it to address applications Silver Spring's been targeting for years:

With these two deals, Cisco has created the foundation of a communcations platform for remote meter reading and, some day, demand management and possibly home automation. That's the same basic strategy Silver Spring has been following for the last several years.

Cisco has money and expertise, Greentech writes, but Silver Spring has signed contracts. The customer base is small - there are only 3,100 utilities in North America, Greentech states - so the fight will be intense. Wonder how the companies are getting along in that $200 million smart grid project for the City of Miami?

Arch Rock's products are designed to enable utilities to connect smart meters and other distributed intelligent devices over a multi-way wireless mesh network. Arch Rock will become part of Cisco's Smart Grid business unit once the acquisition closes, which Cisco expects before year's end. 

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