Itron and Cisco have entered into a strategic alliance to advance the transformation of the world's energy infrastructure. Together, the two will deliver a definitive 21st century Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications platform to the smart grid market and help advance more consistent and reliable delivery of energy across the electric distribution system and into homes and businesses.

Itron and Cisco will collaborate on solutions that will transition smart metering technology into an open and interoperable enterprise-class network for utilities. Specifically, the two companies will develop a standards-based, highly secure technology for full IPv6 implementation of field area communications to support smart metering, intelligent distribution automation and interfaces to the customer premise. Such an approach will help ensure consistent and interoperable wired and wireless communications among the various components of the smart grid, enabling utilities to scale to meet the demands of increasingly empowered customers and highly distributed generation portfolios.

Itron will license and embed Cisco IP technology within its OpenWay meters, as well as distribute Cisco networking equipment and software as part of its smart meter deployments. Itron will continue to provide the complete solution and maintain its customer relationships.

“We want to respect the legacy systems that have been deployed thus far within smart grids while innovating for the future. Cisco believes that Itron's current-generation OpenWay solution is an excellent candidate for future upgrades to a full IPv6 implementation,” said Paul De Martini, CTO and vice president of strategy for the smart grid business unit at Cisco. “With a true smart meter platform providing full software upgradability, OpenWay will be a catalyst for launching this next-generation architecture.”

“Itron designed OpenWay to be able to adapt to evolving market needs. The move to embed Cisco IP communications continues to deliver on our promise of interoperability and open standards for OpenWay,” said Philip Mezey, of Itron North America. “This enables an expanding set of smart grid applications into the future.”

For more information, visit www.itron.com or www.cisco.com/go/smartgrid.