Ericsson buys bankrupt US smart grid firm Ambient

The Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has bought Ambient, the Newton, Mass.-based provider of communications technology for utilities that want to roll out smart grids.

Ambient’s platform is used to support functions like smart metering and distributed energy generation. Unfortunately for Ambient, the 33-person firm apparently ended up too small a player in what’s become a really big industry and filed for bankruptcy in July.

[company]Ericsson[/company], which is not a small player by any measure and is very active in the smart grid scene, moved to snap up Ambient. The Wall Street Journal reported the price on Monday as being $7.5 million, after a U.S. bankruptcy judge gave his thumbs-up to the sale.

In a Wednesday statement, Ericsson said it had completed the acquisition, and would integrate Ambient into its Global Services wing. The Swedish firm indicated it was keen on Ambient’s open IP network architecture, which can use various means of communication – Ethernet, power-line, Wi-Fi, cellular and radio frequency (RF) – in parallel.

Ericsson Global Services chief Magnus Mandersson said in the statement:

At Ericsson we are increasingly using our experience in communications and providing managed services for networks that serve more than 1 billion subscribers worldwide to assist partners and customers in the utilities sector. 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.