Cisco Plans to Introduce Smart Grid Products Early Next Year

Cisco (s CSCO) has made a ton of noise in the smart grid space — CEO John Chambers told the Wall Street Journal this year that the company had an unlimited budget for smart grid initiatives — but it’s been unclear what exactly Cisco would be selling to utilities. As Laura Ipsen, Senior Vice President of the Smart Grid for Cisco, explained on a panel at the GreenBeat conference today: So far in terms of revenue we’ve been “zero for zero.” But early next year Ipsen says Cisco plans to launch some products directly in the smart grid market.

Ipsen was entirely vague on specifics, but said Cisco sees itself playing at all critical points of the network of the power grid in the areas of “enhancing operations, manageability, and scalability.” You’ll see products from Cisco in those areas early next year, said Ipsen. While Cisco engineers are hard at work on smart grid products, Cisco could also “acquire,” “partner,” with or “invest” in companies developing new tools, she said.

While originally Cisco seemed to be focusing on the home and consumer portion of the smart grid — as it did in its first smart grid deployment with Florida Light and Power, General Electric (s GE) and network provider Silver Spring Networks — the networking giant is clearly now looking to play across all areas of the smart grid network. Cisco has partnered with Duke Energy on an end-to-end smart grid network, along with several other utilities. While CTOs of utilities will be interested to see what such a large network player has to offer them, we’re guess that all eyes from competitor Silver Spring will be on Cisco’s 2010 launches. Will those products be directly competitive with Silver Springs? We’ll be watching.