Cisco Intends To Aquire Wireless Censor Maker

Cisco on Thursday said it intends to acquire wireless sensor maker Arch Rock, a move which beefs up Cisco's smart-grid and data centre businesses. No financial terms were disclosed.

San Francisco-based Arch Rock makes a system for collecting information from networks of IP-based wireless sensors, routers, and servers. Its sensors are placed in data centres and buildings to monitor heat and other environmental conditions to optimize cooling and improve the overall energy efficiency.

The architecture of Arch Rock's wireless communications for utility networks.

Privately held Arch Rock is also developing wireless communications for utilities called Phy-Net Grid. The system is designed to use Arch Rock's radio-based sensors to shuttle information over utilities' networks back to their data centres. The wireless communications can also be embedded within thermostats and home energy controllers, which Cisco makes.

Cisco said it intends to use Arch Rock's IP version 6-based wireless sensors as part of its smart-grid product set. "This acquisition further positions Cisco as a strategic partner to utilities," Laura Ipsen, general manager of Cisco's Smart Grid business unit, said in a statement.

Although Arch Rock is a small company, the technology could play a significant role in Cisco's overall smart-grid strategy, providing the hardware to connect grid equipment, such as smart meters and sensors on transmission lines, over utilities' networks. Cisco has already developed routers and switches to send data from utility substations.

On Wednesday, Cisco announced a deal with meter maker Itron to develop communications products that use IP, rather than proprietary protocols for sending information from meters back to utilities. The deal calls for Itron to embed Cisco's IP networking in its meters and neighborhood-are networks.

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