Cisco EnergyWise – turns networks into an Energy Efficiency platforms

As mentioned previously, buildings account for 38% of CO2 emissions in the United States, buildings consume 70% of the electricity load in the U.S and CO2 emissions from buildings are projected to grow faster than any other sector over the next 25 years.

Cisco has decided to tackle this problem, by turning its networking infrastructure kit into a platform for energy efficiency with its launch yesterday of Cisco EnergyWise!

Cisco EnergyWise is a technology for their Catalyst line of Switches which will be rolled out as a free software upgrade for existing switches and included in new Catalyst switches beginning in February 2009.

From the release:

Cisco EnergyWise will roll out in three phases to improve IT and building system energy utilization:

  • · In the first phase (February 2009), Network Control, Cisco EnergyWise will be supported on Catalyst switches and manage the energy consumption of IP devices such as phones, video surveillance cameras and wireless access points.
  • · In the next phase (Summer 2009), IT Control, there will be expanded industry support of EnergyWise on devices such as personal computers (PCs), laptops and printers.
  • · In the final phase (Early 2010), Building Control, Cisco EnergyWise will be extended to the management of building system assets such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), elevators, lights, employee badge access systems, fire alarm systems and security systems

EnergyWise will allow companies to create event-based policies for energy reduction (i.e. turn off all lights in data center or hotel room unless someone swipes in – and turn off when they swipe out). It will also allow for control of the energy utilisation of everything from wireless access points, right the way up to building’s aircon systems. Policies can be grouped by tags, so you can control entire buildings campuses or geographies.

Cisco also announced the acquisition of Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence Inc. to get access to the intelligent middleware to provide interoperability and integration between building infrastructure, IT applications and Cisco EnergyWise.

EnergyWise will also enable companies to report aggregated power consumption across an organisation, provide reports of current power conditions and suggests potential changes thereby reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Demand response programs will benefit hugely from systems like this being in place.

Superb to see RedMonk client company SolarWinds being signed up as the first network management partner for the program. SolarWinds told me they hope to have the integration with Cisco EnergyWise complete in 2009 and they told me that:

  • · EnergyWise policies and configurations will be managed by Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM).
  • · Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) will show EnergyWise statistics and reports in its familiar web-based dashboard.
  • · We will also establish EnergyWise forums in thwack, to help support users as they roll out EnergyWise in their corporate environments.

Now, how long will it be before Juniper come out with a competitive offering, do you think? The more companies thinking this way and turning out products like this, the better for everyone.


  1. says

    I cannot seem to find any technical docs about the API’s or building compatible devices for EnergyWise.

    IMHO this sort of standard needs to be open and energy usages/management and efficiency needs to be transparent. If they are serious about this I would like to see such open standards and perhaps an opensource implementation example.

    If cisco don’t offer ‘open’ then I shall have to look elsewhere. What’s your take on open vs closed around this sort of standard/implementation Tom?

  2. says

    It looks a very interesting service. Although I’ve read in a press release that the only devices that you can control with it are de IP connected ones, that’s telephones, computers, servers… ¿And lights, air-conditioned? According to the video should be possible to control them. ¿How? ¿Installing internet cabling and devices to control them? This could make this service more expensive and less interesting for reducing company’s cost. Then, ¿could it be a good idea to get back the internet-by-electrical-grid technology?

    I’m not native english speaker, so I’m not sure if I’m clear enough.

  3. says

    I would also hope that the communications on which EnergyWise take place are based on internet standards like TCP/IP to allow it to operate (and inter-operate) on existing networks allowing it to truly flourish.

    It would be good to see things like REST APIs over HTTP at a higher level.

  4. Scott Lennartz says

    Cisco has outlined a vision to leverage the connected nature of devices in buildings to create a comprehensive energy management solution. Given the diversity of devices in buildings today, and the lack of well established open standards in some areas, Cisco is currently working with its customers, partners, and standards bodies to integrate what is working well today and address the gaps with additional development. This additional development will include new open APIs and technology that will be published over the course of the year and made available through the Cisco Technology Developer Program. As Cisco has done in the past, it will bring these new APIs to market while engaging in parallel with relevant standards bodies to create new or enhanced standards that benefit its customers and partners in the long run.