Cisco To Use the Network to Manage Energy of Devices

ciscoswitchesCisco (s CSCO), the largest maker of Internet infrastructure, could one day be managing the energy consumption of your PC or the building you’re working in. On Tuesday, Cisco plans to launch its “EnergyWise” software, a smart energy upgrade for its switch hardware (infrastructure that routes data on the Internet). But beyond managing the energy consumption of Internet hardware more efficiently, the software will eventually be able to manage the energy of end-user devices like computers and IP phones, as well as automated energy systems in buildings.

Moving to the edge of the network is an unusual move for Cisco, and in particular providing software that can manage third-party devices, as well as lighting and heating and cooling systems in buildings. But that move won’t happen all at once. Cisco is launching the first phase of its software, just for switches, on Tuesday and over the next few months will add in capability to control devices at the edge of the network. Eventually Cisco’s software could help companies manage a system that, say, turns on lights and heating and cooling for an employee when s/he swipes a badge at the office front door.

Cisco says its new EnergyWise software is all part of a greater trend of using the network to centrally manage devices. For the building energy management portion, Cisco is working with building automation company Shneider Electric, and for PC management, Cisco is working with startup Verdiem.

Ultimately Cisco’s software is meant to help customers reduce their energy consumption and thus save money on their energy bill. The software itself is a free upgrade for current Cisco switch customers and will be included with future switch products. A Cisco spokesperson used the example of a hotel that wastes $400 per room per year on lights and heating for empty rooms — that turns out to be $80,000 per year in energy costs for the hotel, which Cisco says its energy software could save.

Image courtesy of Cisco.