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Cisco unveils energy management initiative

Posted: 29 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:power management  Ethernet switching  connected devices  energy use 

Cisco Systems Inc. has unveiled a broad power management initiative leveraging its prowess in Ethernet switching. The company seeks to extend its EnergyWise software to cover everything from Internet Protocol (IP) phones and Wi-Fi access points to PCs and building controls.

EnergyWise uses updated software on Cisco Catalyst switches to monitor and manage energy use in connected devices. It is based on an API still in development using standard and Cisco proprietary protocols.

30 per cent energy savings
One service provider using a beta version of the software said it believes it could save as much as 30 per cent of its energy use on connected devices. The initiative is one of a growing number among companies including Philips, which is seeking to use technology to address concerns about energy use and climate change.

Cisco will initially make its enabling IOS version 12.2(50) software available on fixed Catalyst switches in February. It will progressively roll it out to other systems including modular switches by the end of the year.

The first phase targets Cisco's IP phones, Wi-Fi access points and other devices that get power over Ethernet such as surveillance cameras. The company estimates there are as many as 8 crore IP phones in use and about 85 lakh access points, two-thirds of which get power over Ethernet.

In Q2 09, Cisco will publish a software developer kit (SDK) to let third parties tap into the code. It has not determined yet whether it will charge for the SDK or whether it will openly publish the API behind it. The switch software will be available as a free download to Catalyst users.

Cisco is working with Verdiem, a provider of power management software for PC networks, to develop an interface for PCs. An initial version of that API and a software client for PCs should be available in Q2 09.

Separately, Cisco is working with Schneider Electric to develop an interface for building controls. As much as 75 per cent of a building's energy use comes from non-IP devices such as HVAC systems, according to Cisco.

"We ultimately look to partner with a number of building controllers," said William Choe, a director of product management in Cisco's Ethernet switching group. "We've been working with a number of them over the past several months."

"We have a [corporate] strategic alliance with Johnson Controls, but we just are not prepared to launch an alliance with them around EnergyWise right now," he added.

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