Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ericsson completes takeover of smart grid specialist Ambient

Iain Morris
October 2, 2014
Sweden’s Ericsson says it has completed the takeover of smart grid communications provider Ambient and will be able to better help utilities maximize their smart grid investments following the acquisition.

Based in the US, Ambient (Newton, MA) has developed a platform that allows utilities to deploy and integrate multiple smart grid applications and technologies on a single communications infrastructure.

However, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in August after reportedly failing to expand its business beyond flagship customer Duke Energy.

Employing about 33 people, Ambient lost $17.8 million on sales of $11.4 million in its most recent fiscal year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ericsson has not disclosed how much it is paying for Ambient but various press reports have put the figure at about $7.5 million.

The Swedish firm says it will integrate Ambient with its Global Services organization, which currently employs a total of 64,000 people in 180 countries.

Besides offering product and software maintenance and implementation services, Ambient provides a variety of smart grid consulting services related to product development and network management.

Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) claims that 16,000 of its current Global Services employees are consulting and systems integration professionals – working on more than 1,500 projects in multivendor and multi-technology environments every year.

“At Ericsson we are increasingly using our experience in communications and providing managed services for networks that serve more than one billion subscribers worldwide to assist partners and customers in the utilities sector,” said Magnus Mandersson, the executive vice president and head of Global Services at Ericsson. “We’re helping utilities to adopt new types of applications and enable new business models, and I believe Ambient could make a big contribution to that effort.”

Ambient’s smart grid communications platform would allow Ericsson to integrate various smart grid applications – such as smart metering and demand response – into a common infrastructure.

GreenTech Media believes Ericsson could deploy Ambient’s technology in some of its existing smart grid projects.

The company is working to connect 600,000 smart meters in Sweden for E.ON (Dusseldorf, Germany) and 630,000 in Estonia with hardware player Landis+Gyr (Zug, Switzerland), and is also involved in gas meter projects with Italy’s Italgas (Rome) and connectivity projects with Australian utility SP Ausnet (Melbourne).
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