LONDON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM and Cable&Wireless Worldwide , today jointly announce their collaboration to develop a new intelligent data and communications solution, UK Smart Energy Cloud, to support the UK's Smart Meter Implementation Programme, which aims to rollout more than 50 million smart meters in the UK.
UK Smart Energy Cloud has the potential to provide a complete overview of energy usage across the country and pave the way for easier implementation of a smart grid. The solution will utilise the extensive experience IBM has gained from leading and implementing smart grid programmes around the world and its proven enabling software and middleware. The solution will be supported by C&W Worldwide's extensive, secure next-generation network and communications integration capability.
There has never been a more challenging time for the energy industry with decisions being taken to protect the country's energy supply that will have significant implications for everyone in the UK. Both smart meters and the smart grid are significant steps on the journey to a new energy future, potentially changing for the better the way we consume and distribute energy.
Solution that grows as you grow
UK Smart Energy Cloud will have the ability to gather data many times a day, from any smart meter in the country and store it centrally in a secure, purpose built, UK based hosted cloud environment. Data can then be sent to energy retailers for assessment, therefore ensuring consumers receive more accurate bills. In addition, Distributor Network Operators (DNOs) will also receive this data which will enable smart grid functionality.
As the number of meters and the level of functionality is set to grow significantly, the UK Smart Energy Cloud shall grow in response, without the need to replace or significantly modify the solution. It will offer a secure, fully integrated and affordable solution which will link with existing industry systems.
Energy retailers will not need to make expensive up-front investments in hardware, systems, people, or the communications network. Instead, they can have confidence in deploying smart meters, knowing that any meters inherited from other retailers can be switched with no service disruption. For consumers, this means switching retailers will become easier and more transparent.
"As we start the journey towards a low carbon economy smart meters will drive a wave of change in the energy system and are set to become an increasingly important part of the nation's critical infrastructure", says Laurence Carpanini, Director of Smart Meters and Smart Grids, IBM UK & Ireland. "With this collaboration, we can provide the UK with a flexible, intelligent solution based on proven technology. We can support the national Smart Meter Implementation Programme and help communities become smarter, more connected and in turn, more sustainable."
Matt Key, Managing Director of Enterprise at C&W Worldwide, comments: "We believe a collaboration of this kind is the most natural approach to achieving an end to end solution for a complete smart metering roll-out and making smart grid a reality. The challenge is for smart meters to reach the entire UK population and this will require a combination of enabling solutions, such as GPRS, radio and Power Line Carrier to make sure it's cost effective. However, it is the network connecting it all and intelligent data management, that is central to the smart agenda's success.
"This alliance offers us exciting opportunities to work together on developing innovative solutions to create a smart grid, the next era of energy distribution in the UK, and support the Government's long-term environmental strategy to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050."
Proven global expertise
IBM has a long history of expertise in smart grid projects, which range from innovative research projects to full scale deployments. In the UK IBM is currently advising three of the six largest energy retailers on transforming their business in preparation for smart metering. Globally IBM has been involved in more than 150 smart grid programmes in mature and emerging markets. Current global projects include working in Malta to create the first nation-wide smart grid and a pilot project with DONG Energy in Denmark to install remote monitoring and control devices to gain information about the state of the grid.
C&W Worldwide has a strong heritage in the UK utility sector through the assimilation of Energis, THUS and Your Comms. It has more than 1,100 operational network sites, many co-located at substations and on the transmission companies' estate, and in excess of 30,000 route kilometres of fibre wrapped around most of the earth wire of the UK's energy transmission networks.
Notes to Editors:
Cloud computing is a new model for delivering IT whereby server, storage and applications are delivered via internet based technologies. The model differs from traditional IT service provision via the ability of customers to scale-up and down their usage as required and the capability to allow pricing to be determined by usage - i.e. on a pay-as-you-go basis.
UK Smart Energy Cloud is built on IBM's scalable WebSphere(R) enterprise messaging infrastructure and uses an Informix time-series database at its core. Security, monitoring and management is provided by Tivoli(R) products. The solution operates in a sideways-scalable, managed infrastructure, using virtualisation to achieve a robust, reliable, cost-effective solution.
Cable&Wireless Worldwide is responsible for the next-generation operational communications network that the safe transmission of electricity in the UK depends on, and which also enables the next era of power transmission in the UK. The network platform Cable&Wireless Worldwide provides sets a power utility standard which will solve problems associated with the provision of high performance telecommunication services for demanding high voltage (HV) protection, control and other operational applications in a harsh electrical environment.
For more information on IBM: http://www.ibm.com/energy