IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Cable&Wireless Worldwide (CW.L) announced a 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 utilize the experience IBM has gained from implementing smart grid programs and software. And it will be supported by C&W Worldwide’s network and communications integration capability.
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 will grow in response, without the need to replace or significantly modify the solution. It is meant to offer a secure, fully integrated solution that 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, the partner companies said. 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.
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 programs 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.