Office Hours

Cisco starts getting serious about getting into home energy monitors

This goes into the Smart Grid file, in the subfolder on home monitors that track residential power consumption.

Cisco has unveiled a new home device. It's the Cisco Home Energy Management Solution. Like other devices coming to the market, it provides a network hub to manage and track one's home energy system and tracks consumption. The emphasis, over time, as more "smart" systems go into the home, will be on MANAGING energy, not just tracking use.

Cisco is such a giant that once it focuses on a business niche, it usually makes its presence known. 

The device pictured is supposed to become available this summer, and the official list price is $900 per home. List price, we hope, is way different from what it will cost consumers.

It's unlikely anyone within 300 miles of Spokane or Coeur d'Alene will be able to use it.

Aside from Wi-Fi, the controller can communicate with smart meters and appliances via Zigbee and also via a proprietary protocol (Encoder Receiver Technology, or ERT) used by well-established home-automation player Itron, based in Liberty Lake.

It will also interact with so-called smart plugs — peripherals that you can plug your existing appliances into that will send data to the Home Energy Management device.

We don't think any Spokane area utilties are lined up and ready to start using this device. We'll check in with Avista, who has a federal stimulus grant to develop a pilot Smart Grid project in Pullman. We'll follow up with a later post to clarify if Avista or any other regional utilities see the likelihood of using this system.

According to a blog post on ZDNet.com, one of the first utilities expected to test this unit will be Duke Energy.

 




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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.




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