Cisco to light up $100b smart grid business

Cisco is planted its flag on the smart grid sector, aiming to make electricity networks smarter and more efficient with its networking technology.
Boosted by US government stimulus funds, the smart grid has become sizzling hot in recent months as power utilities have sought to improve efficiency and address climate change concerns by upgrading aging grids.
Cisco said it expected the smart grid infrastructure market would reach “$20 billion annually over five years.”
It did not release details of products, but said it would create an end-to-end IP-based “communications fabric” into power distribution networks that would provide “intelligence, resiliency and two-way communications.”
“The company's experience in designing networks based on industry standards will bring much-needed expertise to utilities striving to integrate smarter, on-demand energy utilization capabilities that result in greater energy conservation, lower greenhouse gas emissions and innovative end-user services,” Cisco said in a statement.
Cisco last month landed a contract  with Florida Power & Light to help GE and Silver Spring Networks build a $200 million pilot smart grid for Miami.
Cisco said the addition of IT and networking technologies to the power infrastructure would reduce outages, which cost US industry $50 billion per year, and cut up to 211 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030.
The announcement comes two months after Cisco unveiled its unified computing architecture, a similarly ambitious program aimed at taking the firm into the data center. 
The cashed-up vendor is using its $33 billion cash hoard to drive into new business segments where it can leverage its expertise in IP and networking.
According to BusinessWeek, Cisco is targeting 30 new markets, “so it can offer everything from digital billboards to stereos and video surveillance systems.”
“There's an inflection point happening. Cisco and the network are at the center of it,” CEO John Chambers said.