Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"4 Reasons Cisco Won't Dominate the Smart Grid With Its Slick Home-Energy Gadget" (CSCO)

From bnet:
Cisco (CSCO) has squeezed itself into the overloaded home-energy management market with a slick new gadget that allows customers to see how much power they’re using in real time. Unfortunately, Cisco picked the wrong centerpiece for its campaign to carve out a profitable new business in the smart-grid industry. Instead, it should’ve skipped the consumer stuff and stuck with the piece of its smart grid plans that works: commercial and industry customers.
Cisco’s device, called the Home Energy Controller, does just what the name implies. The counter-top device (pictured here) uses Cisco’s energy management software and has a touchscreen that allows homeowners to view and manage their energy consumption as it happens. The device comes with nifty features like real-time pricing, which lets customers watch in horror (or with glee) their electricity bill. The gadget is Zigbee and Wi-Fi wireless enabled, which means it can communicate with appliances that are plugged into smart plugs, smart thermostats and your utility.
On pure looks alone — think of an iPad with a stand — Cisco has created one pretty little gadget. But in the emerging and yet defined smart grid industry, a good-looking and easy-to-use device only gets you so far. Here are four reasons the Cisco gadget won’t take the smart grid by storm:
  1. Most Americans, excluding some of the tech savvier markets like the San Francisco Bay area, don’t know or understand what the smart grid is.
  2. There are loads of other start-ups and big, established companies developing either the in-home devices, the energy management software or both. General Electric (GE), Tendril, EnergyHub and Silver Spring Networks are just a few....MORE