Cisco targeting utilities

Cisco's next multibillion dollar opportunity is in selling networks to electrical utilities.  

The company plans to provide network infrastructure to utility companies and their customers to manage power supplies and energy consumption. Cisco says upgrading "fragmented" legacy utility communications infrastructures is a $20 billion opportunity over five years. 

Cisco is looking to supply utilities with an IP network, from the power generation facilities to the home. Cisco's smart grid strategy will encompass data centers and substations, neighborhood-area networks, and businesses and homes.

These networks appear to be ripe for an upgrade. Citing data from the Electrical Power Research Institute, Cisco says smart grids will reduce the impact of power outages, which cost U.S. industry $50 billion a year, and greenhouse gas emissions. They also have the potential to reduce household energy consumption by up to 15% and generate 280,000 jobs.

Cisco said it will develop energy transmission & distribution automation systems using its switches and routers, provide IP-based backhaul communications for smart  meters, and supply home and business energy management from its EnergyWise power efficiency system for its switches. The company will also partner with systems integrators, industry vendors and utility customers for smart grid projects.

Cisco recently announced its involvement in "Energy Smart  Miami," a collaboration with General Electric, Florida Power & Light and Silver Spring Networks to build out a smart grid deployment for the City of Miami.

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