ABB acquires wireless mesh vendor Tropos in smart grid play

Swiss power and automation giant ABB has moved to acquire Tropos Networks, one of the pioneer vendors in the municipal wireless space in the previous decade before angling more into the smart grid in recent years. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to ABI Research, the move fits in with the ongoing trend of consolidation in the smart grid space, and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Tropos can bring ABB, of Zurich, Switzerland, a greater presence in the U.S. market. The deal is the latest in a string of several acquisitions by ABB. Also, Tropos isn't the first Wi-Fi vendor to be absorbed by a smart grid player—SkyPilot was acquired by Trilliant in 2009.

Tropos CEO Tom Ayers said in a letter posted on the company's Web site that Tropos will benefit from the global market reach of ABB, as well as the much larger company's financial stability.

The municipal wireless market opportunity lives on to some degree, though it has largely faded amid economic troubles and bureaucratic red tape. Meanwhile, the smart grid market continues to grow. Less than 20 percent of U.S homes currently have smart meters, but that figure is expected to surpass 50 percent over the next eight years, according to Pike Research.

Tropos has been addressing that market opportunity with its GridCom IP-based wireless mesh architecture, which it has sold to a number of utility companies. The company also continues to sell its gear to municipalities.

For more:
- read the ABB press release
- see this letter from Tropos CEO Tom Ayers
- see this ABI Research analysis
- read this GigaOm post

Related articles:
Wi-Fi has moved into smart grids in the last few years
Smart grid vendor Trilliant acquired SkyPilot in 2009