WASHINGTON, March 26, 2010 - On Friday, Cisco Systems announced a partnership with Grid Net, a smart meter company that employs WiMax Technology to send data about electricity usage back to utility companies. Grid Net has also garnered with ClearWire, Motorola, Intel, and General Electric. With the investment by Cisco, Grid Net is poised to become the leader in smart meters in America.
The move by Cisco highlights a recent recommendation of the national broadband plan released last week by the Federal Communications Commission: using high-speed connectivity to create a “smart grid” that allow for consumers to obtain better cost and usage information for their electricity and other utilities.
There are many possible ways to create such a smart grid. Traditionally, it would be done using terrestrial wireline connectivity. Increasingly, however, utilities would prefer a wireless solution that cuts out landline competitors. While Wi-Fi is the most pervasive wireless technology, its short range makes it undesirable for a large smart grid. WiMax, on the other hand, is a much longer-range technology. WiMax is only beginning to take off in the United States, with particular investment by ClearWire. Among the strategic investors in ClearWire include Intel Capital, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.