IBM and Cable & Wireless Worldwide are collaborating to support the UK’s smart meter implementation programme, which aims to rollout more than 50 million smart meters in the UK.
The two companies aim to develop UK Smart Energy Cloud, an intelligent data and communications system with the potential to provide a complete overview of energy usage across the country and pave the way for easier implementation of a smart grid. It will use the experience IBM has gained from leading and implementing smart grid programmes around the world and its enabling software and middleware.
Thus will be supported by C&W’s secure next-generation 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, so consumers should receive more accurate bills. In addition, distributor network operators will also receive this data, which help 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 for replacement or significant modifications.
“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,” said Laurence Carpanini, director of smart meters and smart grids for IBM. “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.”
Energy retailers will not need to make expensive up-front investments in hardware, systems, people or the communications network. Instead, they can deploy 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.
“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,” said Matt Key, managing director of enterprise at C&W Worldwide. “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% by 2050.”