Cisco to manage energy of tech gear and buildings

EnergyWise software for its networking gear will manage energy levels of phones and other tech equipment. Company also plans to get into building-automation systems.

Cisco Systems on Tuesday introduced software for controlling energy use in networked computing equipment as well as building heating and cooling systems.

Called EnergyWise, the software is a free upgrade to Cisco Catalyst switches that can monitor and manage how energy is used on IP-connected devices, including phones and wireless routers. This summer Cisco will release a version, based on Verdiem's Surveyor PC management software, that reduces energy levels of PCs.

With EnergyWise, a company can set policies on energy use, allowing PCs or networking equipment to go into sleep mode after work hours, for example.


Cisco's longer-term plan is to get beyond tech gear and into building-automation systems.

Early next year, EnergyWise will be able to manage building assets, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and employee badge systems.

On Tuesday, Cisco said it bought a company called Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence that makes software that translates information from building equipment, such as heating and cooling systems, into a format that can be read by EnergyWise and other software applications.

Other large IT vendors, like IBM, are making similar efforts to manage both IT equipment and building management systems.

Cisco is also working with Schneider Electric to tie its building management system to the EnergyWise software. But William Choe, director of Cisco's Ethernet switching technology group, toldLight Reading that many of the energy savings for companies will occur by installing the software on smaller routers in a business.

"The majority of these switches in this application are in the wiring closet, touching the endpoints--the APs (access points) and the IP phones," Choe said.

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