Cisco Counts on Smart Grid for Growth in Mature Markets

Information technology and communications (ITC) companies are looking to play a valuable and lucrative role in furnishing the two-way communications infrastructure that will be integral to the smart grid.

Cisco Systems, for example, sees the smart grid as $100-billion opportunity

Ned Hooper, a chief strategy officer and senior vice president in Cisco’s consumer business, touched on the smart grid today while speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media & Telecom Conference about his company’s transition from legacy business models to new growth-oriented strategies.

The reference to the smart grid arose as Hooper addressed a question regarding growth opportunities in mature geographic markets (such as North America), where market saturation limits the incremental gains Cisco can achieve among enterprise and service-provider customers.

In answering the question, Hooper pointed to the smart grid as having considerable potential for growth.

Quoting from a post by Sam Diaz at ZDNet’s Between the Lines blog:

The energy infrastructure has gone decades without an update. But through Cisco’s technology, the utilities can build information and knowledge into the power distribution network so they can not only operate more efficiently but also help their customers to better manage their own power consumption. For example, the company is working on launching some pilots this summer that basically puts a router-like device into a home so that the energy consumption data networks with other information databases so the consumer knows, for example, how much he is spending per hour by running the air conditioner on a hot summer day – in real-time, not just when the bill arrives.

Remember that Hooper’s purview is the consumer space. Cisco’s role in the smart grid will extend throughout the communications and transport layers of the entire ecosystem. The company also could emerge as a meaningful player in some aspects of the smart-grid application layer.

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