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Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (MXIM - Analyst Report) recently launched a complete smart-meter system-on-a-chip (SoC) called Zeus for the smart grid. The new smart meter SoC will provide reliability, accuracy, faster processing power and advanced security for communication protocols.

A smart meter keeps a record of the power consumed, provides information about usage and helps utility companies for billing purposes.

Maxim’s Zeus is superior because it allows greater precision in the measurement of power within the smart grid and the efficient communication of the information as required. It also takes care of security, which is becoming more of a concern because smart meters are increasingly getting connected.

In the present day, there is a growing imbalance between demand and supply of energy, due to a rise in the world population, greater industrialization and depleting natural resources to feed this demand. This is leading to energy efficient structures such as the smart grid. Global energy consumption is expected to reach 20-trillion kilowatt-hours in 2012 and to grow another 10 trillion hours by 2035. Business market researcher marketsandmarkets.com states that the global smart grid market is expected to reach $80.6 billion from $22.8 billion at a CAGR of 28.7% from 2011 to 2016.

Thus, this is a good time for Maxim to build capabilities in the space that could help it tap this immense growth opportunity. Maxim’s product portfolio also boasts other smart-meter SoCs like Newport, Metrology SoCs, G3-PLC powerline modem, Secure microcontroller, Power-management controller, 24-bit sigma-delta ADC and the latest being Zeus.

Maxim is facing competition from other analog makers such as Linear Technology Corp. (LLTC - Analyst Report), STMicroelectronics (STM - Snapshot Report), Analog Devices (ADI - Analyst Report) and Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN - Analyst Report) among others.

In the fourth quarter of 2012 (the last-reported quarter), Maxim posted revenue of $605.0 million, up 5.9% sequentially, down 3.4% year over year and within management’s guidance range of $590.0-620.0 million. Revenue was down across all end-markets in the last quarter.

Currently, Maxim Integrated Products Inc. has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term ‘Hold’ rating.

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