Even though Silver Spring Networks applied for an IPO over a year ago, the grid communications company hasn’t just been sitting on its hands.
Silver Spring continues to expand its partner network and dip into new markets. Earlier this year, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company made a foray into Brazil, and now it has landed a contract more business in New Zealand.
Unison, a distribution company in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand serving more than 100,000 customers across an area that spans 9,000 kilometers, has selected Silver Spring for its smart grid project across its distribution network and for advanced metering.
“Silver Spring Networks is recognized as a global leader in this field. Silver Spring’s standards-based infrastructure allows us to leverage a single platform to provide many smart grid applications and solutions,” Ken Sutherland, Unison Group Chief Executive, said in a statement. “Linked in to our fiber backbone, Silver Spring’s networking platform will become the cornerstone for our smart grid by enabling real-time communication with network devices, as well as real-time monitoring of the status and quality of customer supply.”
With a large partner network, Silver Spring is geared up to connect far more than just meters these days, including grid sensors, home energy devices and vehicle charging networks. The project with Unisom involves managing grid assets in real time, according to Unison’s website.
The contract in New Zealand is far smaller than its recent partnership with CPFL Energia, which is Brazil’s largest non-government utility. New Zealand is a natural extension of Silver Spring’s work in Australia, where it landed its first non-U.S. contract in 2009. A few months ago, Silver Spring also announced it was working with WEL, another New Zealand distribution company.
Silver Spring is far from the only networking and meter company spreading its wings into emerging markets. Companies like Elster, Landis+Gyr, Echelon, Aclara, General Electric, Trilliant and Siemens/eMeter are all staking their claims to Brazil’s potential 60 million smart meter market.
But outside of the really large markets, there’s action all over the place. Landis+Gyr was recently selected to provide residential meters for Elektrilevi, a distribution company in Estonia. Landis+Gyr also announced on Monday that the Guam Power Authority chose its metering technology. Itron recently expanded its contract with Eléctrica de Guayaquil, a state-owned electric utility in Guayaquil, Ecuador, for additional meters for commercial & industrial customers.
With the metering market slowing down in the U.S., firms are looking for business opportunities far and wide. For a player like Silver Spring, that means not only expanding and strengthening its partnerships, but also offering more cloud-based services to its customer.
And even though New Zealand isn’t a monster-sized market, it gives Silver Spring a stronger toehold in the Asia-Pacific region, which could open up far bigger doors down the road.