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Cisco Systems is hoping a simple software refresh for its Catalyst switching platform will help make the world a little greener.

Cisco’s EnergyWise technology, available as a system refresh or a simple download, piggybacks on the Catalyst switching portfolio and gives customers a view into their power use across their entire infrastructure, from the data center to the office space.

“Roughly 25 percent of the energy used by organizations is IT-related,” said William Choe, director at Cisco’s Ethernet Switching Technology Group. “This is an energy management solution that enables customers to regulate the 75 percent that is not IT-related.”

EnergyWise measures and regulate any network device around its power consumption through a dashboard monitoring system that integrates seamlessly into the Catalyst dashboard. The technology uses an open architecture and APIs developed in conjunction with third-party vendors in the power space including Schneider Electric, Solarwinds and Verdiem.

In the first iteration, available in February, EnergyWise will offer monitoring and reporting of network energy use, including power over Ethernet (PoE) and IP-enabled devices. It will enable users to set policies based on power usage, time of day and other related factors, and will offer detailed reports based on user criteria, Choe said.

Phase two, expected this summer, will provide building utility management for devices such as building security, CCTV, lighting, HVAC and elevators, as well as power distribution. The final phase, slated to be available in early 2010, will provide power management for all IT devices, including PCs, monitors, scanners and badge readers.

Creative users could take advantage of EnergyWise’s capabilities to create “personalized” energy profiles, he said.

“Imagine, for example, a hotel knows that you are a frequent guest, that you like your room to be a certain temperature, you like your lighting to be at a certain level … using EnergyWise the hotel could program your room to those preferences and it would be ready when you check in,” Choe said.

For solution providers, Choe said, EnergyWise can be a business or managed services offering they can add to their portfolio.

“EnergyWise will be able to report on any type of device, all of the devices and the wattage use of each,” Choe said. “With regulation, companies can get creative and tie energy use into their business policies. So, for example, if employees are not in the office after 7 p.m., a company could turn off its wireless access points, its phones, the lighting in its conference rooms, etc.

“Because this service dovetails nicely with managed network monitoring capability, partners could offer this as a managed service,” Choe added.

Dimension Data, for one, is already moving down that path, said Rich Schoefield, business development manager for network integration at the global solution provider.

“There are a number of different, excellent channel opportunities that Dimension Data sees in the release of EnergyWise,” he said. “The first, and probably the most significant, is the opportunity to drive more intelligence into the network and thereby provide more impetus for organizations to ensure the modernization of their network infrastructures.”

“The second opportunity we see is the ability to, through professional services engagements, engage with our clients beyond the border of the network and provide services from our other lines of business,” Schoefield adds.

The eco-friendly component will resonate well with Dimension Data’s customers, Schoefield said. “Clearly, a green component to network renovations and technology lifecycle management resonates with clients not only because of the good will built by being a good global citizen, but also because of the incremental savings obtained from such deployments.”

Choe pointed out that Cisco held back on jumping into the “green pool” until it had what it believes is a meaningful solution for its partners and customers.

“We held back in the past in coming out with specific initiatives or tactical points around green for fear of ‘green washing,’” he said. “Rather, we wanted to develop strategy for a holistic green approach and business processes for addressing the green set. EnergyWise, we believe, does that.”