Grid Net, the smart grid communications provider known for championing WiMAX as the best option for transmitting energy data between meters, utilities and consumers, announced that it is partnering with Oracle’s utilities division to sell network and meter management software.
Oracle delved deep into the smart grid software space last year, when it launched an end-to-end solution for utilities integrating smart grid systems into their offerings. This bundle includes Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management and Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing. Essentially, it offers software to help utilities parse all the data flowing in from smart meters into actionable information, and to help them more efficiently serve their customers.
Grid Net will be selling these products to complement its own software offerings: the PolicyNet SmartGrid Network Management System and Smart Network Operating System. Basically, it has landed a plum alliance with this Oracle deal, buddying up with one of the companies that has been serving utilities for years.
That said, Grid Net is not the only firm Oracle has formed this kind of relationship with. It is also working with other smart grid software providers eMeter and AMX International, as well as smart meter builder Sensus.
Software is an increasingly vital component of the electrical grid. Updating hardware, like meters, substations and the like only happens once every couple of decades. Now that many of these have been revamped with modern technology, software can be used to update them in the interim.
The deal between Grid Net and Oracle is advantageous for both parties for several reasons. It will allow Grid Net to quickly expand and diversify its relationships in the utility industry and to move outward from its core WiMAX strategy before it gets pigeonholed. It will also give Oracle another valuable startup partner in providing utilities with all the tools they need to further their smart grid strategies.
Grid Net has been on a roll lately, recruiting its new chief strategy officer, Andres Carvallo, fresh off a successful run at Austin Energy, one of the first utilities in the U.S. to deploy smart meters. In March, Cisco Systems took a large stake in the company, taking an obvious interest in its WiMAX technology.
Based in San Francisco, Grid Net has raised several rounds of funding from Intel Capital, GE Capital, Catamount Ventures, and Braemar Energy Ventures.