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March 16, 2017

Cisco puts its networking power behind future UK smart grids

Networking giant joins Power Networks Demonstration Centre to support IoT innovation in vital UK industry.

By Ellie Burns

Cisco is joining the UK energy fight, partnering with the the UK Power Network Demonstration Centre (PNDC) to help solve the power challenges of networks providing energy to some 28 million homes and nearly 2 million commercial properties in the UK.

Cisco joins the PNDC as a tier 1 member and joins the energy fight at a time when the odds seem stacked against the utilities industry. Power networks are battling ageing infrastructure alongside the increasing price of energy, with the risk associated with implementing and testing new initiatives juxtaposed with immense pressure to innovate.

The future of energy needs to be smart and future smart grids will need to be capable of balancing electricity demand and supply in real time. Smart grids will also have to provide monitoring and control services, support high levels of security and facilitate the connection of millions of new smart devices.

These demands for future grids is where the PNDC comes in, with the smart grid accelerator bringing together the best minds in energy and tech to find solutions to current and future energy demands.

The Centre carries out research, development, and demonstration projects that aims to  shape the electricity industry of the future. The facility is underpinned by testing facilities comprising a real high-voltage 11kV and LV distribution network and laboratories. This realistic environment is an ideal setting for testing and developing future smart grid technologies.Cisco financial

Cisco’s work with the PNDC will see the networking giant take part in a unique R&D programme, with PNDC CEO David Rutherford welcoming Cisco as a new member, saying:

“We are very excited to have Cisco join our membership. Connectivity will form the backbone of future smart grids capable of balancing demand and supply in real time on both sides of the meter. Smart systems and connectivity will play an important part in this future. Power network operators have significant challenges around visibility and connectivity to enable this smart digitalised environment. Cisco as a world class IT provider have the strength, expertise and capacity to help accelerate and facilitate that change in a UK setting”.

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Cisco will also play an active role in the evolution of the Centre as an Executive Board Member joining Scottish Power Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, UK Power Networks and Vodafone.

READ MORE: Cisco doubles down on Jasper for NB-IoT, wearables and connected cars

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “There are few sectors that have the potential to both impact and be impacted by digitisation in such equal measure. With an anticipated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, the pressure placed on power networks – whether directly, or indirectly – is set to increase exponentially in the next decade. This is a pivotal point in time for the sector, and we are delighted to be partnering with the PNDC and its members to help address the opportunities that lie ahead.”


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