Cisco snaps up smart grid firm Arch Rock

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In case there’s any doubt that Cisco is taking the smart grid seriously, Earth2Tech’s Katie Fehrenbacher is reporting today that the computer networking giant is buying up San Francisco-based wireless smart grid networking firm Arch Rock. Terms, as they say, are undisclosed (drat!).

The main draw? “Arch Rock’s wireless mesh technology enhances Cisco’s IP-based, end-to-end smart-grid offerings,” said Laura Ipsen. The startup recently launched PhyNet-Grid, a wireless mesh smart grid communications and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) platform. And it’s hard to ignore the one aspect that both companies have in common: the data center. Arch Rock provides energy monitoring solutions, including wireless routers and sensor nodes, for facilities managers that oversee data centers, smart buildings and industrial plants.

Taken altogether, it’s not hard to see what made Arch Rock is an attractive acquisition target. In one fell swoop, Cisco significantly strengthened its smart grid portfolio. And be on the lookout for more acquisitions. Fehrenbacher writes, “I’m expecting to see more small acquisitions like this one as Cisco tries to figure out its smart grid strategy and looks to offer real products to utilities. To date, a lot of the products that Cisco has announced — like its reference design plan with Itron — aren’t market-ready.”

Agreed! Apart from hardened networking gear for utilities, Cisco’s smart grid pickings are slim. Cisco will need solutions soon if it hopes to be as synonymous with smart grid connectivity as it is with data center networking.

by Pedro Hernandez on September 2, 2010 · 1 comment

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