It seems like just yesterday we were writing about Silver Spring Networks’ latest partnership. Close -- actually, it was five days ago.
Without a week of breathing room, Silver Spring continues to add to its roster of interoperability, this time with Siemens-owned meter data management business, eMeter.
The two companies will integrate eMeter’s EnergyIP platform with Silver Spring’s UtilityIQ system in a standard adaptor for “out of the box” interoperability, according to the announcement coming out of DistribuTECH Brazil.
"We are excited to add Silver Spring Networks to our expanding ecosystem of commercially available, off the shelf, interoperable smart grid solutions," Shannon Amerman, Vice President Global Alliances at eMeter, said in a statement.
The MDM provider counts various AMI partners, including Elster, Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI) and Landis+Gyr. It’s also not the first time eMeter and Silver Spring are working together.
In 2008, Silver Spring Networks joined eMeter’s IntegratedMDM program. ““The purpose of eMeter’s IntegratedMDM program is to foster closer cooperation and interoperability between eMeter’s EnergyIPTM, the leading independent meter data management system, and leading AMI technologies,” Larsh Johnson, eMeter CTO, said at the time of the announcement.
Four years was a lifetime ago in smart grid, and interoperability has turned out to be more of a problem than many utilities would care to think about in the past few years. The general frustration of utilities has pushed vendors to actually try and integrate products -- and not just talk about it -- and more end-to-end solutions, so that smart grid projects can have a robust business case.
Silver Spring and eMeter are hardly alone. Every leading smart grid company boasts a network of partners and integration, although there is increasing scrutiny about just how integrated the products really are. With the announcement last week between Silver Spring and Dominion’s Edge software, there were also stronger promises of “out of the box” integration. Siemens recently partnered with Chinese metering company Wasion, in part to gain eMeter access to the potentially huge Chinese market.
Silver Spring has raised just under $300 million to date, and intends to raise as much as $150 million on the Nasdaq, for a valuation that could be as much as $3 billion. That is, if the IPO ever happens, which the rumor mill is increasingly skeptical of.
One of the keys to market share growth in coming years will be effective integration, an aim that Silver Spring has been making an effort to clarify with its partner network, which rates partners as "platinum," "premiere" or "associate." Silver Spring has more than 60 partners, for everything from distribution automation applications or home area applications.
The key now is whether Silver Spring’s ecosystem will help it to land big contracts -- or to layer services onto the contracts it already has.