Trilliant, provider of radio transmission devices and networks that allow smart meters to wirelessly beam energy consumption data between utilities and their customers, has become the newest of IBM’s partners in its smart grid efforts.
Trilliant will be integrating its software, called UnitySuite, with two of IBM’s software products, WebSphere and Tivoli. The result should help utilities scale their smart meter rollouts much faster and more securely, Trilliant says. The deal gives IBM rights to a wider array of smart grid offerings, while endowing Trilliant with the firepower of a major IT company. No financial terms have been released.
The two companies will also work together to create and share industry standards to encourage interoperability between smart grid projects. This is something IBM has taken a keen interest in of late, as other big players like Intel and Cisco have joined consortia to develop workable standards. The company will also benefit from the more than 200 utilities Trilliant counts as customers.
In May of this year, IBM sunk $2 billion into the smart grid space to help both startups and utilities develop related projects (that’s nearly half the amount earmarked by the government for these initiatives). Its goal was to provide enough in low-rate loans and structured lines of credit to make companies more appealing to the U.S. Department of Energy’s smart grid stimulus program. The DOE has since collected a first round of applications for this money, and will take in another round later this month. Utility recipients should be notified later this fall. By supporting companies vying for federal support IBM could find itself at the front of the pack depending on which utilities win out, and which technology they opt to use.
Redwood City, Calif.-based Trilliant is a venture-backed company that has raised $40 million to date from MissionPoint Capital Partners, Zouk Ventures and others. The last time VentureBeat reported on the company, it had just acquired SkyPilot Networks, a providor of mesh broadband coverage.