Energy management technology company Trilliant, which claims the single-largest smart grid project in North America, has bought SkyPilot Networks, which makes long-range wireless mesh gear.
The rationale: The acquisition gives Trilliant a foundation for extending its smart grid solutions to virtually any place at bandwidth speeds that rivals will find it tough to match. SkyPilot Networks's technology is designed to offer about 10x the bandwidth of cellular with reduced latency and standard Ethernet IP connectivity support. It also has built-in security. Some of Trilliant's more than 200 utility customers are already using both technologies.
Here's smart grid analyst Jesse Berst's thorough analysis of the deal.
I believe this development is more evidence that the pureplay IT networking players, especially those with a footprint in WiMax or broadband wireless, will start to stake out turf in the smart grid space. There is simply too much money at stake to ignore. For network managers, esepcially those in the utilities sector, the thing to watch will be convergence of a different sort: of your IP networks and the stuff running security, lighting, HVAC and other core facilities systems.
By the way, now seems like a reasonable time to remind you about another major high-tech company that has made much ado about WiMax over the past two years: Intel.
Definitely watch this space.