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European Utility Week provides backdrop for news from Accenture, Siemens, Saft, geo and Vodafone
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European Utility Week provides backdrop for news from Accenture, Siemens, Saft, geo and Vodafone

Posted by Sue Pakenham-WalshOctober 17, 2013

European Utility Week, Amsterdam , The Netherlands, 17 October 2013 – The surge of activity this week continues with the announcement that Accenture and Siemens have entered into an agreement to form a joint venture in the smart grid field that will work with utilities to improve energy efficiency, grid operations and reliability.

The new company, named Omnetric Group, will provide the energy industry with advanced solutions and services focused on data management and systems integration. These solutions will integrate operational technologies – such as distribution management and real-time grid operations – with IT systems supporting smart metering, energy consumption and work and asset management.

 

“Combining the strengths of Siemens and Accenture will enable Omnetric Group to deliver the highest level of expertise and execution to a rapidly evolving global utility market,” said Jan Mrosik, CEO of Siemens’ Smart Grid Division.

 

Omnetric Group will bring together Siemens’ products and solutions; Accenture’s management and technology consulting, systems integration and managed-services capabilities. The companies’ IT and operational technology solutions and extensive experience in the energy industry will help address a range of challenges faced by energy utilities around the world.

Meanwhile Saft, the leading designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, has announced that it has won two major contracts to supply primary lithium batteries for domestic smart meter projects. In its first ever smart gas meter contract in China, Saft will supply around 500,000 Li-SOCl2 cells over the next four years to one of the country’s top five smart gas meter OEMs and around 500,000 Li-SOCl2 cells to the leading water meter OEM in China over the next six months.

 

The two orders represent an important breakthrough for Saft in the Chinese market, which is the world’s largest metering market. Recent reforms are fostering the introduction of AMR (automated meter reading) and smart meters. China’s total demand for smart gas meters is estimated at 40-50 million units between 2011 and 2015. It is also estimated that shipment of smart water meters will reach more than 10 million units in 2015.

 

Cambridge-based, Green Energy Options Ltd (geo) has announced that RWE npower has selected the geo Duet II Smart Energy Display as part of the smart meter rollout to its customers.

The Smart Energy Display shows real-time and historic data about gas and electricity consumption in an appealing graphical way. Using speedometer graphics on the upper screen, supported by a colour traffic light LED, the display shows real time power and cost, while information about cumulative and historic consumption is shown against a household energy budget on the programmable lower screen. In standby mode the display shows the current time and how much has been spent today.

The geo Duet II Smart Energy Display has been designed and developed in the UK and provides RWE npower with a clear, stylish and appealing colour display that meets the requirements of the Government’s Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification (SMETS) version 1. It was also designed specifically to support RWE npower’s Foundation Stage Smart Metering Programme. Communication between the display and the smart meter uses the wireless ZigBee Smart Energy Profile protocol, which is both secure and safe.

Neil Pennington, Programme Director of the RWE npower Smart Programme said, “We are very pleased to be working with geo as we get our smart meter installations underway. The team and their products are a key part of our smart ecosystem and we’re very much looking forward to getting real time energy information into the homes of npower customers.”

 

Patrick Caiger-Smith, chief executive officer at geo, commented: “The rollout of smart metering systems in the UK puts the needs of consumer at its heart. The Smart Energy Display will become a familiar and trusted companion in the home and will undoubtedly become a big talking point among households as they learn how to manage their consumption – particularly as energy costs rise. The npower team is leading the way by providing their customers with the benefits of smart meters and geo is proud to be part of this programme.”

 

Finally, Vodafone announced yesterday that in an exclusive partnership with Amazon, Vodafone will power the connectivity for the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE, giving customers ultrafast access to millions of books, movies, music tracks, apps and the internet via Vodafone’s 3G and 4G networks.

Working closely with Amazon, Vodafone has designed a mobile data offer specifically for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE customers. The new tablets have a Vodafone SIM card pre-installed, so when customers turn on their device they will be able to sign up to a Vodafone Internet Starter Pack with just a few clicks. The Vodafone pack offers 5GB data for 3 months, 20GB Amazon cloud storage and vouchers for the Amazon store for a flat one-off fee of €35 in Germany and £25 in the UK. After the three month period expires, customers have the option of signing up to one of Vodafone’s data plans.

Vodafone is the only telecoms operator offering the new Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE directly to consumers through its stores. Customers buying the Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE from Vodafone will be able to choose from a range of 3G and 4G data price plans, including the Group’s popular Vodafone RED proposition, and will benefit from in-store advice and support from Vodafone’s tech experts.

The partnership initially covers all Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE versions sold in the UK and Germany.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is the latest in Amazon’s series of tablets offering high performance, the latest version of Fire OS, and exclusive new features. Vodafone has worked with Amazon since 2010, providing embedded 3G connectivity for generations of Kindle e-readers. Now, for the first time, Vodafone will bring the new Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE to Europe.

Vodafone’s relationship with Amazon is underpinned by the Group’s M2M technology, which enables consumers to connect devices through a simple sign-up process. Vodafone’s M2M technology gives partners the capability to embed a single SIM for deployment across multiple geographies, enabling a wide range of devices and appliances to connect to smart networks and the internet.

Vodafone Group Director of Terminals Patrick Chomet said: “Vodafone has worked with Amazon over the years to provide Vodafone customers with an easy and reliable means of getting the content they want, whenever and wherever they want it. Vodafone and Amazon are offering a great package for those who want to get the most out of their new Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE while on the move”.

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Sue Pakenham-Walsh

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