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A Growing List of Players in Amsterdam's Smart Grid: Cisco & IBM

Amsterdam’s planned smart grid network has a ballooning list of partners set to collectively invest a some $1 billion in the project. This morning Cisco (s CSCO) and IBM (s IBM) were officially added to the list, though news of the IT firms’ participation broke several months ago. Given it’s not entirely clear what portion of the smart grid Cisco and IBM are specifically targeting — the companies have both focused on building IT tools all across the network — this could be as much a chance for the two to test out their smart technologies as it is for Amsterdam to trial smart grid tools.

It seems like Amsterdam really only needed either IBM or Cisco — not both — as the pilot is only for 500 homes. As a result, it’s interesting to see how the roles are being divvied up between such large firms. According to this morning’s release, Cisco will develop the network to connect household appliances to an energy management system; IBM will create the network inside the home, including connecting the home network to the web; and Dutch utility Nuon will develop the applications for the energy management system. In past smart grid projects, IBM and Cisco have each taken the lead (Cisco and Duke, IBM and Malta). Cisco, for example, has focused on the consumer portion of the smart grid, like in its FPL deal.

Cisco and IBM are just two players in the Amsterdam smart grid buildout. The partnership also includes housing companies Far West and Ymere, investors with Amsterdamse Innovatie Motor, building integrators Home Automation Europe, schools ROC Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam and grid operator Liander. Phillips (s PHG) will invest in energy efficiency technology. The pilot is co-funded by the European Fund for Regional Development; Accenture is providing consulting services.

9 Responses to “A Growing List of Players in Amsterdam's Smart Grid: Cisco & IBM”

  1. Whereas IBM and Cisco can play an important role in larger roll-outs, start-ups like Home Automation Europe, fortunately still play a leading role in delivering the required technology for these pilot-projects.

    There certainly is place for both kinds of companies in our quest for energy-efficiency. Small companies can tailor technology to local needs, whereas larger ones can build the back-end systems required by utilities.