Smart Grid will eclipse size of Internet - 26 May 2009

Cisco sees a $100 billion market opportunity in the smart grid. The company make communications equipment for the electricity grid -- everything from routers in grid substations to home energy controllers. Cisco's move is a sign that the creaky electricity distribution system is poised for a digital upgrade. Other high-tech companies, including IBM, Intel, and several start-ups, are ramping up smart-grid efforts to capitalize on expected investments from utilities and federal governments. Cisco estimates that the communications portion of that build-out is worth $20 billion a year over the next five years. The idea of the "smart grid" is to modernize the electricity industry by overlaying digital communications onto the grid. Smart meters in a person's home, for example, can communicate energy usage to utilities in near real time. That allows the utility to more efficiently manage the electricity supply and potentially allow a consumer to take advantage of cheaper rates.

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