IBM Teams With eMeter For Smart Grid Technology Bundle
Package aimed at helping mid-sized utilities with smart grid deployments.
IBM Corp. said that its strategic relationship with eMeter Corp., a San Mateo, CA-based software developer, has yielded a customized technology bundle to help mid-sized utilities and municipalities implement smart grid projects.
The effort is noteworthy because smart grids, characterized by embedded sensing technology in utility meters that yields performance data useful in analyzing energy efficiency and allocation, are central to IBMs Smarter Planet design.
The new offering, accomplished under a software licensing deal between the two companies, provides an out-of-the box solution for utility companies interesting in undertaking smart grid projects.
The end product, called the eMeter Smart Grid Appliance, combines IBM Tivoli Monitoring and WebSphere 7 Application Server software with the developers EnergyIP meter data management and Energy Engage home energy solutions, preloaded and optimized on IBMs Power7 systems.
IBM and eMeter said that the Smart Grid Appliance can help utilities reduce the implementation and test cycle time from a year to as little as six months, and pare costs by 60 percent. It will be available by June this year.
IBM officials said that the vendor has invested upwards of $3 billion in Power7 systems development over the course of the last three and a half years, with its deployment in smart grid settings in mind.
Some $4.3 billion to build out smart grid projects is available in funding under the federal governments stimulus package, prompting the interest of small- and mid-sized utility companies, some of which may not be fully equipped to carry out such endeavors on their own.
By eMeter leveraging IBM technology, our utility clients will be able to streamline their Advance Metering Infrastructure projects and reduce implementation and operational costs associated with their smart grid programs," said Allan Schurr, vice president of strategy for IBM Energy & Utilities.
This serves as another example of IBM and its partners working together to help transition the world toward smarter energy and ultimately a smarter planet.
eMeter agreement shows off Smarter Planet plan
IBM believes that agreements such as the one with eMeter that yield concrete examples of smart grid technology give life to its Smarter Planet plan. The vendor said that last year it signed 500 similar software agreements with business partners worldwide, adding heft to the software groups profit line, which reached $8 billion in 2009.
Having worked with several utilities that have succeeded with large-scale Smart Grid rollouts, eMeter and IBM took on the responsibility of identifying the right set of hardware and software tools best suited for these critical projects, said Bobby Napiltonia, eMeter senior vice president, sales and alliances.
The Smart Grid Appliance delivers a solution for utilities looking to quickly and easily make the most of their Smart Grid investments.
IBM suggested that additional arrangements such as the one with eMeter are certain to follow. The vendors strategy is to forge similar relationships in energy, healthcare, government, telecommunication and retail, grow its partner ecosystem, and increase possibilities for large-scale infrastructure improvements at local and global levels.
Charles King, an analyst at researcher Pund-IT Inc., said that smaller companies, mid-market and municipal utilities tend to appreciate IT solutions that arrive fully formed and which require little in the way of customization or fiddling. This is the sweet spot which eMeter and IBM are aiming for with the Smart Grid Appliance.
In praising the appliance, King said that the new solution certainly benefits from eMeters utility software and tools background, but other key ingredients are IBMs deep expertise in developing scalable workload-optimized systems and the thought leadership implicit in the companys Smarter Planet initiative.