Eric Lundquist

Cisco outsmarts Microsoft, H-P, et al

By Eric Lundquist
January 28, 2009 12:04 PM EST

Let's say you are a CIO or a IT manager and your boss calls you into his (or her) office and says, "What are you going to do to save me money in 2009?"

Are you going to tell the grim-faced visage sitting across from you that you are going to make the company "people ready?" I don't think so. 

How about saying you are going to invest a few bucks in your network infrastructure so that same network can automatically shut down all of your idle servers, laptops, printers, phones and in doing you'll cut the electric bill by ten percent or more? That would get a smile out of the most stone-faced Mr. Big. 

And therein lies the story of why Cisco stole a lot of thunder from the computer gang recently when it announced its energy efficiency push. In a slow economy, companies are only going to invest in projects with a measurable ROI and a cost saving equation. In this shattered economy, the ROI imperative rules supreme. 

The technology to manage and meter utility costs has been around as long as utility companies. Companies such as Honeywell and Johnson Controls have been leaders in creating closed, control systems. Microsoft and H-P took their eye off the ball when they all became enamored with developing in-home media networks rather than networks that would monitor and manage home power and utility use.

Kudos to Cisco for getting ahead of the curve on this one and a knock against the side of the noggin to the computer crowd for being asleep at the switch.