Turning the country’s vast islands of proprietary utility networks and isolated power equipment into an intelligent grid that manages the power going into homes, offices and factories will take decades and hundreds of billions of dollars. IBM is partnering with veteran energy efficiency and grid communications company Trilliant to ensure that the companies’ grid hardware and software will speak the same language.
The agreement to integrate IBM’s Websphere and Tivoli products for managing enterprise data into Trilliant’s smart grid communications system provides utilities with and end-to-end system for collecting information and administering grid operations.
Trilliant, which currently has more than 200 utility customers, provides technology that can relay information about power consumption and network performance from smart meters in homes, to utility equipment out in the field such as transformers and substations, and then on to centralized (head end) utility servers. The company will build its management system using Websphere’s application server and the Tivoli network management suite.
IBM and Trilliant will be able to resell each others products, enabling utilities to work with one company for all of its smart grid management needs. The two will also work together to develop grid standards, and will coordinate efforts with national standards bodies.
Trilliant is forming strategic relationships with many of the top smart grid firms, including system integrators Cap Gemini and Accenture, and equipment companies GE and Itron. “It’s a very small world where you are [both] partners and competitors. You have to be very flexible,” said Trilliant CEO Andrew White.
The federal government has provided $4 billion in stimulus funding for smart grid initiatives, and venture capital investment in energy efficiency startups grew by 168 percent during the second quarter of 2009.
IBM says the utilities and energy sector is one of the highest growth industries for the company. In addition to enhancing its products to make energy equipment more efficient, IBM is also looking to sell services to mitigate the impact of climate change (which the energy industry has had a hand in creating) on utilities.
According to a recent IBM-sponsored report, ninety percent of utilities expect that climate change will put their business at risk due to more severe weather that will damage equipment and reduce the availability of fresh water.
Appearing courtesy of Matter Network.