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Itron and Cisco deliver IPv6-based smart grid platform


January 23, 2012
By Alyssa Dalton

January 23, 2012 – Itron Inc. and Cisco say they have created a secure, scalable and multi-service IPv6-based communications architecture through their new combined smart grid platform. This 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, they said.

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.

“Working together, Cisco and Itron have developed a transformative platform that will enable utilities to more effectively and efficiently modernize their energy infrastructures,” said Laura Ipsen, SVP and general manager, Cisco Connected Energy Networks. “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.”

A benefit of the system is that it allows utilities to 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, said the companies.

“Together, Itron and Cisco are setting the stage for the industry. We are transforming the traditional purpose-built, meter-centric AMI solution into an enterprise-class architecture featuring robust network management, standardized security and quality of service,” said Philip Mezey, president and COO of Itron‘s Energy unit. “It is with this technology that we are able to build the smartest grids in the world.”

First to deploy the IPv6 smart grid architecture is BC Hydro as an element of its Smart Metering Program. Installation of the new IPv6 communication infrastructure will begin in March 2012, providing the utility with enterprise-class network management, security and quality-of-service (QoS) through all layers of its system, said Itron. The new Cisco Connected Grid Router will be deployed in the field to provide a 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 Itron-Cisco partnership was a real game changer,” said Gary Murphy, BC Hydro’s chief project officer for the Smart Metering Program. “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.”