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Cisco Acquires Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence

Cisco announced today the acquisition of privately-held Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence. Based in Santa Barbara, California, Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence is a leader in Intelligent Middleware technology for building systems. If you’re not familiar with Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence, here is an example of what the technology can do…In California, PG&E (Utility Provider) has created a program that alerts customers to days of high demand on the electric infrastructure. PG&E’s customers are then able to take advantage of financial incentives if they can reduce their energy consumption on these days. By using Richards Zeta’s middleware, customers can integrate building systems with these demand response messages to deliver an automated process that reduces energy consumption.While this is terrific in the business world, there is also a huge benefit to California residents. With technology like this to automate and manage a buildings energy consumption, it may help eliminate California’s rolling energy blackouts during peak summer months. From what I hear, it can get pretty hot in many parts of California (Luckily, I live in San Diego County so wouldn’t know about that:-)).Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence will become part of Cisco’s Emerging Technologies Group (ETG). If you’re not familiar with our Emerging Technologies Group, it’s an internal group at Cisco that is focused on building businesses that we believe can grow to $1 billion + worth of revenue and take us into new adjacent markets. Through a combination of internal R&D, partnerships, and acquisitions, ETG incubates new opportunities for Cisco.To hear more about the acquisition, please check out this podcast with Phil Kirk, Business Development Manager in our Corporate Development group.http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac78/podcasts.html

Cisco Acquires Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence

January 27, 2009
at 12:00 pm PST

Today, Cisco announced it has acquired Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence. Richards-Zeta’s middleware enables businesses to simplify the integration of building and IT systems over a common IP network. In this first video, Rob Salvagno, Senior Director, Corporate Development, discusses the acquisition and how the technology complements Cisco’s strategy. In the second video, Rob does a white-board session on how this technology helps manage building systems.

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19 Comments.


  1. Maybe Cisco will have better customer service than RZ had. (fingers crossed) We had all but given up on RZ as a supplier due to poor customer service.

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  2. Cisco has not found any
    ew trick”". This can already be done by others. If they were smart they would have purchased Tridium before Honeywell did. Richards Zeta is inferior to Tridium and Cisco has no one that knows the BAS business.”

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  3. Smart move! Cisco will only benefit from this acquisition. They need to understand how to get in early in the development of new construction or retrofit projects so they can get they can begin to fit their value proposition with the end user.Wishing them all the best, because it’ll be a tough road.Vik Duggal

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  4. At Energetic Concepts Ltd we are excited and looking forward as a new Cisco Partner. We are focusing on Connected Real estate and the Smart Grid. We hope to forge a strong bond with Cisco offering our many years of expertise with the RZ mediator (Cisco Middleware) to assist Cisco to be evermore successful with this product and essential service it provides.

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  5. When the BAS/HVAC companies (many have consolidated) heard Cisco paid $360m for this company they love it! This gives the BAS companies and extra $360m to invest in their Blade runner/BAS systems. BAD DEAL for Cisco. It is quite obvious Cisco has no clue about the BAS business. Cisco could have acquired this technology for $10m – $20m from several other companies in the BAS industry.Also, next year when the Tridium licenses expire the big boys are coming out with some new stuff that is light years ahead of RZ….

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  6. Jimbob, Cisco has someone that knows the BAS business. The problem is that Cisco doesn’t know that, yet. Their BAS guy is on another job function.

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  7. Bravo. Maybe some real innovation will come now. Ever so fundamentally, I liked the RZ concept, especially because it ran on Linux, but it is in desperate need of moving forward with it’s development. I am certain that if Cisco can inject some engineering talent into the project that it might stand a chance. I look forward to hearing of positive things to come. I think it’s not even debatable that Tridium doesn’t have any competition right now, but hopefully that will change so that pricing can get to an acceptable level, especially on BACnet points (what an insane licensing scheme for the WEB Supervisor). Very best of luck to Cisco!

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  8. This is what we are looking for to prepare the new season after this long dark turnel. I really expect what the CISCO makes trhough the collaboration of this energy-related middleware and our existed technology.

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  9. Meanwhile, all of companies that purchased and installed Richards-Zeta BAS’s are being left high and dry with no support for the BAS. Support before the sale was minimal, now it appears to be non-existent.

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  10. As someone who has exposure to all of these entinties through our PE division and a relationship with Cisco as a Premier Partner, I cant understand the contention towards the RZ offering. We have a TON of clients that will argue for RZ versus most offerings in a given environment, maybe our success is that we truly understand automation, energy and the network. The breadth and depth of what will be attained through their marriage has my funnell stuffed for the next 14 months already. Guess that and the fact I have clients that love the offering is good enough for me

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  11. The smaller integrators who have large installed bases of RZ BAS are really left high and dry. I can’t get anybody at RZ to return phone calls or emails.

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  12. If Cisco paid more than 10m for RZ they overpaid. As far as Tridium competition there are new ones popping up everyday. I do enjoy that Tridium has befuddled the bacnet people. About time they get what they deserve for their shameless promoting and pushing. However, Tridium is a software company and that never goes far in the long run.

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  13. I was one of the original team members that created the Mediator I am delighted to see Cisco enter this space. I see Cisco’s lack of experience as a positive. I look forward to someone that has a fresh view of the industry innovating a new solution.

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  14. Tridium has Befuddled what BACnet people?? We use and embrace Tridium as a method to bring all kinds of proprietary stuff to BACnet… then we continue to expand the owners network with native BACnet stuff. Tridium complements BAcnet nicely.

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  15. Hah! What he describes is called demand based load-shedding. I have been doing this with various building automation systems since the late 80′s. Also, virtually all building automation systems are IP based now. I truly hope he does not think RZ has something special here.They paid $360M?!Ouch.

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  16. I think this technology can helps manage building systems and good concept idea and what we are looking for construction project manager helper

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  17. May I ask how well does the Richards-Zeta black box handle the Honeywell C Bus for integration of legacy Honeywell systems to a common platform?

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  18. $360MM is WAY too much. Comments here are disparate yet the relaity of the situation is that RZ had great sales people that sold their product to you all and then themselves to CISCO. The business needs a new approach yet I am not convinced more coporate involvement only focused on the bottom line is what customers are really asking for…

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  19. I tried to check out access to the Mediator, pricing , and drivers avaliability. After a week of getting pushed around through the Cisco maze I gave up and went to Tridium.
    We used a couple of RZ Mediators and now worry about support through Cisco. I see no improvement and less of a knowledge bae to work with.

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