Let's take a short break from the Consumerization Series... and talk a little about power. Specifically, managing power consumption.  Early last week, Jennifer Geisler highlighted Energy Management Without Borders on the Cisco Innovation blog, highlighting milestones for Cisco's EnergyWise technology. That got me thinking about their approach to this whole energy management space.

When I worked for Cisco in late nineties, they released their first VoIP handset, along with VoIP support in multi-service edge devices. I recall our collective, initial intrigue as we picked up a $1000 VoIP handset and talked to someone on the other end of the demonstration set-up. Sounded just like normal. Expensive? Yes, but kind of cool nonetheless. I don’t recall thinking “wow, in a decade or so, Cisco is going to mow down a bunch of incumbent vendors with this technology & usurp the enterprise telephony budget”. But that’s exactly what happened.

I see similar beginnings in what Cisco is doing with its EnergyWise technology. EnergyWise, which is built into a host of Cisco switches and other devices, allows for centralized, policy-based control of power consumption for those devices, and some of the devices they connect. Think about the ability to manage when wireless APs, VoIP phones, POS terminals, and eventually PCs and Servers are in full power mode and when they are not.

Again, sounds cool – but isn’t there a facilities department that already handles that? Sure. And they have existing vendors, and very capable software to do some of the very same fancy things. But I’m not sure that matters. This problem is one of setting policy, driving automation, monitoring and reacting to changes quickly. IT has been doing those things forever & most facilities teams just haven’t needed to be as reactive to the business.

It may be a while away, and I can certainly see significant hurdles that Cisco will have to overcome – but I can squint and see a day when power management will be a standard service provided by the IT team, just as voice is today through VoIP. Belief in that vision is why we’ve invested to bring EnergyWise monitoring and policy configuration to our Orion NPM and NCM products this year. Download them & let us know what you think on the EnergyWise forum on thwack.