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IBM and Cable&Wireless to Develop UK Smart Energy Cloud

This Collaboration is to Develop New Intelligent Data and Communications for The UK's Smart Meter Implementation Program

"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", says Laurence Carpanini, Director of Smart Meters and Smart Grids, IBM UK & Ireland. "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 Program and help communities become smarter, more connected and in turn, more sustainable."

IBM and Cable&Wireless Worldwide, on Monday jointly announced their collaboration to develop a new intelligent data and communications solution, UK Smart Energy Cloud, to support the UK's Smart Meter Implementation Program, 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 extensive experience IBM has gained from leading and implementing smart grid program around the world and its proven enabling software and middleware. The solution will be supported by C&W Worldwide's extensive, secure next-generation network and communications integration capability.

There has never been a more challenging time for the energy industry with decisions being taken to protect the country's energy supply that will have significant implications for everyone in the UK. Both smart meters and the smart grid are significant steps on the journey to a new energy future, potentially changing for the better the way we consume and distribute energy.

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 shall grow in response, without the need to replace or significantly modify the solution. It will offer a secure, fully integrated and affordable solution which 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. 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.

Matt Key, Managing Director of Enterprise at C&W Worldwide, comments: "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. 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 per cent by 2050."

IBM has a long history of expertise in smart grid projects, which range from innovative research projects to full scale deployments. 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.

C&W Worldwide has a strong heritage in the UK utility sector through the assimilation of Energis, THUS and Your Comms. It has more than 1,100 operational network sites, many co-located at substations and on the transmission companies' estate, and in excess of 30,000 route kilometers of fiber wrapped around most of the earth wire of the UK's energy transmission networks.

More Stories By Elizabeth White

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