Global technology giant Cisco has committed itself to accelerating UK smart grid innovation by becoming a tier 1 member of the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) at Strathclyde University.
The PNDC comprises bespoke testing, demonstration and simulation facilities for power network technologies.
As a member, Cisco will participate in a unique research and development programme, bringing the benefit of its expertise in innovative information technologies, including the internet of things.
Membership of PNDC will also allow Cisco to participate in collaborative schemes with fellow members from academia, network operators and industry.
As a tier 1 member Cisco will also shape the strategic direction of the centre as an executive board member. Other tier one partners include Scottish Power Energy Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, UK Power Networks and Vodafone.
David Rutherford, PNDC chief executive said he was "excited" to have Cisco join the centre.
"Connectivity will form the backbone of future smart grids capable of balancing demand and supply in real time on both sides of the meter," he said. "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 that power networks are at a "pivotal point" in their evolution.
"There are few sectors that have the potential to both impact and be impacted by digitisation in such equal measure," he said.
"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."