Itron and Cisco Launch Next-Generation Smart Grid Platform in British Columbia
Itron announced that, in partnership with Cisco, it has brought to market their combined next-generation smart grid platform, delivering on the companies’ vision to create a secure, scalable and multi-service IPv6-based communications architecture. This next-generation platform will help utilities accelerate adoption and simplify deployment of smart grid solutions, reduce the total cost of ownership of these systems, and unleash innovation for smart grid applications and technologies in the marketplace.
The platform enables pervasive monitoring and control of energy distribution networks to achieve a broad array of smart grid objectives for both utilities and consumers. Key components of the integrated solution include the Cisco 1000 Series Connected Grid Router (CGR), Cisco Network Management System (NMS), OpenWay Reporting System, Itron IPv6-enabled meters, and the OpenWay Collection Engine.
Since announcing their strategic alliance in September 2010, Itron and Cisco, global leaders in smart metering and networking technology, respectively, have collaborated closely to deliver an open, interoperable communications architecture to support grid modernization. This transformative platform is based on open industry standards and provides native IPv6 networking services from Cisco to enable multi-application support and simplify the path to Smart Grid device interoperability. Utilities can now deploy a foundational communications architecture to enable “plug and play” interoperability of smart grid applications and devices, as well as freedom from vendor-specific, proprietary integration requirements.
“Working together, Cisco and Itron have developed a transformative platform that will enable utilities to more effectively and efficiently modernize their energy infrastructures. Cisco’s architectural approach to smart grid transformation, enabled by industry alliances like the one between Cisco and Itron, can help utilities achieve long-term, strategic objectives while reducing operational expenses,” said Laura Ipsen, SVP and general manager, Cisco Connected Energy Networks.
First to deploy the IPv6 smart grid architecture is BC Hydro as a key element of their Smart Metering and Program. BC Hydro serves over 1.8 million customers throughout British Columbia, Canada. Installation of the new IPv6 communication infrastructure will begin in March 2012, providing BC Hydro with enterprise-class network management, security and quality-of-service (QoS) through all layers of their system. The ability to “plug and play” smart grid applications and devices will give the utility a future-proof, flexible solution. The new Cisco Connected Grid Router will be deployed in the field to provide a secure communications path to route critical data from Itron’s IPv6-enabled smart meters and other grid-enabled devices over an IPv6 RF mesh network.
“The Smart Metering Program will help keep rates in British Columbia low by delivering $1.6 billion in savings to our customers over the 20 years. The Itron-Cisco partnership was a real game changer. The ability to leverage our infrastructure with Itron’s smart grid solution and Cisco’s Connected Grid networking and security capabilities is a great stepping stone into smart grid. We will be able to leverage it for years to come,” said Gary Murphy, BC Hydro's chief project officer for the Smart Metering Program.