Reports of my demise department: Cisco doubles down on smart grid


By Jesse Berst


In my role as chief analyst of the Internet's oldest and largest smart grid site, I get more than 300 briefings per year from industry and utility executives. As you can imagine, I hear more than my share of gossip and rumors.


In early 2012, Cisco's smart grid division

Architecture is the secret sauce

Pressed to explain why Cisco seems to be gaining ground on some "traditional" suppliers, both Chocron and Jeffrey Taft pointed to the company's comprehensive GridBlocks architecture. Chocron says it give utilities confidence that there will be both robust security as well as the ability (someday soon) to centrally manage all devices. And Taft says GridBlocks helps because "it talks to utilities in their own language" while adding the communications point of view. It's a demonstration, he says, that Cisco understands their business and isn't just another tech company trying to sell its generic products into a new market. (Are you listening, vendors of business intelligence and data analytics?)


Cisco's comprehensive GridBlocks architecture underlies its growing acceptance as a bona fide smart grid player. Click to download a larger PDF version.


As proof of growing confidence that Cisco "gets it," several utilities have hired the company for architectural services.


It appears that rumors of Cisco's smart grid demise had been greatly exaggerated. We should have proof soon, in the form of announcements of new deployments and new products.


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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid He consults to smart grid companies seeking market entry advice and M&A advisory. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the US and abroad, he also serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Energy & Environment directorate.

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