While Cisco is the kingpin of the Internet router market, it’s a relative newbee in the smart grid world. Cisco only introduced hardened networking gear for utility substations in May, and while it might seem like the giant Infrastructure company could easily tie up all the utility deals, there’s actually a variety of companies already selling such gear.
Already-established competitors selling ruggedized networking gear to utilities include RuggedCom, GarrettCom, Moxa, GE Multilin (a division of GE Energy), Hirschmann (a unit of Belden) and Kyland. Most sell the gear for use in sectors that will put it outside, so it can’t be easily damaged; sectors include the military, industrial and transportation markets, as well as the power grid.
According to a report from Brad Casemore on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d), Cisco’s presence could cause some of these vendors to retrench into the more industrial markets. But other vendors are less likely to retreat, says Casemore.
In particular RuggedCom has captured more than 50 percent market share in smart grid networking, and the company won’t likely back away from Cisco’s challenge. It already has partnerships with heavyweights Siemens and Itron.
China will be a very important market. Its energy needs are expected to double in 10 years and the country’s dominant power distribution company, State Grid Corp., said last year that it’s set a goal of building a smart grid by 2020 at an estimated cost of as much as $10 billion a year.
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Image courtesy of RuggedCom.