The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a huge opportunity for the energy industry, one that could allow utilities to fully modernize the way they deliver power to the world. By connecting every aspect of the grid, we are able to create a level of intelligence that can lower costs, secure mission-critical infrastructure and streamline operations. IoT drives the exchange of information across the entire grid environment, and Cisco is focused on making this tangible and seamless for our utility customers.

We’re excited to announce today new solutions in our connected energy portfolio that mark the next phase of our product roadmap. Based on an IoT framework, we are extending utility communications on a single integrated architecture down to the smart meter and controller. New solutions are as follows:

Distribution Automation Solution

The primary challenge in distribution automation (DA) is around reliability and efficiency. Utilities require better and faster access to data infrastructure to reduce costs, while having to address the challenge of integrating renewables like solar and wind energy. The Industrial Router 500, a ruggedized RF Mesh Distribution Automation Gateway designed for utilities to expand their Advanced Metering Infrastructure network into the distribution system. Sensors and other controllers in the network speed up information exchange, while the router is designed to connect the communications network down to the device level.

IR 500

Unified Field Area Network Architecture  

Cisco’s FAN architecture allows utilities to deepen and broaden their transition to the smart grid at every level of the network. Introduced today are a set of new network management solutions, with ruggedized products for harsh environments.

On the product front, the CGR 1000 Series Router has been upgraded to add Cisco IOS into the utility field network. This ruggedized design offers a choice of flexible spectrum offerings in the licensed, lightly licensed, and unlicensed frequencies, as well as broad support for a variety of industry protocols. It also enables application hosting, allowing utilities to develop custom applications for the endpoint in secondary substations, on pole tops, and in other harsh environments. The Cisco 819 Machine to Machine (M2M) Integrated Services Router (ISR) provides the industry’s smallest hardened gateway for robust support in the field. It integrates support for cellular-based communications into the network and connects previously unconnected assets for greater reach and more efficient operations.CGR 1000

Also available today is the Connected Grid Network Management System (NMS), a software platform designed to ease management of a multiservice network and security infrastructure that includes AMI, DA, distributed intelligence, and substation automation. It is highly secure, scalable and modular, with an easy-to-use pluggable architecture.

A New Grid                                                                                            

IoT has vast untapped potential, and we’re focused on working with our customers to best leverage this for their unique operations. The focus will continue to revolve around developing the most reliable, efficient and secure power grid.