SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cisco Systems has announced it intends to buy wireless sensor networking startup Arch Rock as part of its growing portfolio of products for smart electric grids. The news comes three days after Cisco announced a partnership with smart meter maker Itron.
Arch Rock builds IEEE 802.15.4-complaint wireless sensor systems based around the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and supporting mesh networking. Intel Corp. was an early investor in the company.
Last year, Cisco created a business unit to pursue opportunities in smart grids. Arch Rock will be folded into that unit although its technology has applications beyond smart grids. Earlier this year the Cisco smart grid unit announced its first products, routers and switches optimized for the needs of electric utilities.
Separately, Cisco and Itron agreed on Monday (Aug. 30) to jointly develop a reference design field-area communications based on IPv6, supporting smart metering, intelligent distribution automation and interfaces to the home. Itron will license and embed in its OpenWay meters Cisco's IP technology and distribute Cisco's networking equipment and software as part of its smart meter deployments.
Only about 16.6 percent or 26 million of the total 157 million electric meters installed in the U.S. are smart meters, according to market researchers.
After years of discussions, grid modernization has taken center stage in the last two years. The National Institute for Standards and Technology and the IEEE have launched separate smart grid standards efforts. In addition, the U.S. government has allocated more than $3 billion for projects that test out smart grid technologies.