With 28 million homes and nearly 2 million commercial properties in the UK, power distribution is vital to the running of the country. However, as pressures placed on power networks increase, infrastructure ages and the price of energy continues to rise, the risk associated with implementing and testing new initiatives is juxtaposed with immense pressure to innovate.

To help address this challenge, Cisco is proud to announce that it has joined the UK Power Network Demonstration Centre (PNDC) as a tier 1 member. Designed to support innovation in the utilities industry, the PNDC is a world class facility for research, testing and development of smart grid technologies.

As a member, Cisco will participate in a unique R&D programme and benefit from the collaboration of academia, network operators and industry partners as they shape future innovation projects to be undertaken at the facility. Cisco will also play an active role in the evolution of the Centre as an Executive Board Member joining Scottish Power Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, UK Power Networks and Vodafone.

On the cusp of a revolution in digitisation, future smart grids will need to be capable of balancing electricity demand and supply in real time, providing monitoring and control services, support high levels of security as well as facilitate the connection of millions of new smart devices. All of which will require a focus on visibility, integration, automation and management of data.

The PNDC, a world class smart grid accelerator based on the outskirts of Glasgow and part of the University of Strathclyde, brings together academics, engineers and technologists to define and execute research, development, and demonstration projects that will help shape the electricity industry of the future. The facility is underpinned by testing facilities comprising a real high-voltage 11kV and LV distribution network and laboratories. This realistic environment is an ideal setting for testing and developing future smart grid technologies.

David Rutherford, PNDC CEO commented, “We are very excited to have Cisco join our membership. Connectivity will form the backbone of future smart grids capable of balancing demand and supply in real time on both sides of the meter. Smart systems and connectivity will play an important part in this future. Power network operators have significant challenges around visibility and connectivity to enable this smart digitalised environment. Cisco as a world class IT provider have the strength, expertise and capacity to help accelerate and facilitate that change in a UK setting”.

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland, added, “There are few sectors that have the potential to both impact and be impacted by digitisation in such equal measure. With an anticipated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, the pressure placed on power networks – whether directly, or indirectly – is set to increase exponentially in the next decade. This is a pivotal point in time for the sector, and we are delighted to be partnering with the PNDC and its members to help address the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Cisco’s digitisation strategy is a long-term a partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country.

For more information on the PNDC please visit www.pndc.co.uk or email pndc@strath.ac.uk