Archive for the ‘smarter cities’ Category
IBM announced a couple of nice wins these past few days.
One, a partnership agreement between IBM and Itella, a leading provider of business services in Europe and Russia.
It’s a seven-year cloud computing agreement to help Itella streamline its business operations and improve its flexibility and time-to-market, and allowing them to focus on their core business and develop new services for their clients.
Itella provides postal, logistics and financial transaction process services in Northern and Central Europe, as well as Russia.
Specifically, IBM will build a private cloud to provide hosting as well as application management and development services to Itella. With the cloud, IBM will automate basic production of technology services as well as improve the quality and management of those services.
“Through this operating model renewal, we can adopt a flexible service delivery to increase automation and introduce best practices, utilizing IBM’s world-class competence,” said Jukka Rosenberg, Senior Vice President, Itella Mail Communications. “Through the partnership, we can make our operations more efficient and cut costs, without compromising our high-quality service.”
And nearly halfway around the globe and just north of here, the great state of Oklahoma is partnering with IBM to save $15 million over the next five years and to help improve services to state residents there.
As governments institute structural changes in the way agencies measure performance and deliver services, data analytics and new delivery models can help lead the way for transformations that realize a measurable return on investment and improved quality of life.
By analyzing business processes and consolidating IT projects, IBM will help the state gain significant savings in software licensing and technology maintenance costs— resulting in an expected IT budget recovery of 30 percent.
“At a time when we all have to learn to do more with less money, IBM has been instrumental in identifying and prioritizing IT consolidation projects for the state of Oklahoma, at the same time allowing us to invest in new services for our residents,” said Alex Pettit, chief information officer, state of Oklahoma.
“IBM brought not only its extensive public sector services experience to help create the initial business case for this project, but also worked with participating agencies to verify that the new technology environment would improve mainframe service and reduce costs.”
IBM helped the state to understand the challenges of providing IT services to various agencies with diverse requirements for data management and federal reporting.
The new IT infrastructure established a model for IT compliance with federal guidelines on program data and processes, using an IBM System z mainframe. IBM also helped the state meet project funding requirements—bridging the financial gap between the initiation of the project and the cost savings.
The agreement helps ensure that the delivery of technology services is more effective and more consistent. In addition, the new infrastructure gives each agency more control over the quality, performance, and support of their technology environment.
Ultimately, the consolidation of five mainframe platforms also yielded significant savings in costs and lower lease costs. The recommended options projected an 18-30 month payback period that would save 25–30 percent of the state’s combined annual IT budget.
IBM worked with the state on a detailed analysis of the IT infrastructure and opportunities to consolidate computing capacity, storage, network, backup and disaster recovery capabilities.
The plan included development of a target architecture, establishment of a high-level roadmap, and development of a services delivery schedule between the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), responsible for operating the consolidated environments, and each state agency.
Population growth, massive urbanization and climate change are placing increasing demands on our limited water supply. Forty one percent of the world’s population – that’s 2.3 billion people – live in water-stressed areas; this number is expected to grow to 3.5 billion by 2025.
And according to the United Nations, water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase over the last century.
With advances in technology — deep computing and Big Data analytics linked to sophisticated sensor networks and smart meters — IBM is helping clients and partners make smarter decisions about water management.
By monitoring, measuring and analyzing water systems, from rivers and reservoirs to pumps and pipes, we can better understand the issues around water. IBM is applying its expertise in smart systems and Big Data to help companies, governments and citizens understand and more effectively deal with these issues.
Waterfund LLC announced today that it has signed an agreement with IBM to develop a Water Cost Index (WCI).
Scientists from IBM Research will apply Big Data expertise, acting as a calculation agent, to analyze large and diverse unstructured data sets. This will be used to develop of a WCI framework that would estimate the cost of water in different regions around the world. With its market and financial product expertise, Waterfund will work to structure and commercialize the WCI.
Discerning The Real Cost Of Water
As governments are increasingly forced to turn to the private sector to fund the construction and maintenance of complex water networks, the Rickards Real Cost Water Index™ will serve as a benchmark for helping measure hundreds of critical projects on a like-for-like basis.
Index values will reflect estimated water production costs measured in US dollars per cubic metre for a variety of major global water infrastructure projects ranging from retail water utilities and wholesale water utilities to major transmission projects.
“The backlog of investment in water systems around the world by some estimates approaches $1 trillion – quite apart from the hundreds of millions of people who have never had access to a water or sanitation system at all,” said IBM Distinguished Engineer and Big Green Innovations CTO Peter Williams.
“By creating a benchmark cost for water we intend to harness the capital market to this supremely important cause. If we can make it easier to price investments in the water sector, we can improve the flow of capital into an area where it is desperately needed. We look forward to working with Waterfund to bring this about.”
Scott Rickards, President & CEO of Waterfund said, “The principal reason behind our decision to work with IBM was their unique combination of expertise in the water sector combined with the best data analytics available. Our initiative with IBM will finally bring real financial transparency to the water sector. By calculating the unsubsidized cost of freshwater production using IBM’s Big Data expertise, Waterfund can offer the first flexibly-tailored financial tools to investors in water infrastructure. The Rickards Real Cost Water Index™ highlights the energy costs, interest rate risk, and capital expenditures required to build and maintain large-scale water treatment and delivery networks.”
Smarter Water Management Examples
Typically, investors have turned to the public equity markets to gain exposure to the water sector, with mixed results. The WCI is intended to provide a market benchmark and to spur the development of third-generation financial products for both water producers and investors and to aid the growth of the water sector globally.
Here are two examples of how it would work:
Scenario 1: A Water Agency cannot obtain bank financing for Phase 2 of a seawater desalination plant project due to previous cost overruns on Phase
1. Yet the Agency lacks the water it needs to supply a contractually specified daily volume of water to its largest customer, with a consequent risk of large penalties for each day of insufficient volume. Using strike and trigger values based on the WCI, the Water Agency could purchase a $25 million, 2 year insurance product.
Payout to the Water Agency would be triggered on the total change in its Water Cost Index (as well as some other conditions, such as a specified increase in asset failure costs). This approach would enable the Water Agency to enhance its overall credit profile with the insurance enabled by the WCI, finance Phase 2 of the desalination plant and meet its supply obligations.
Scenario 2: A large desalination and water transmission system project needs to secure private equity and institutional funding alongside that from development banks and sovereign funds, to the tune of one third of the total project cost. To achieve this, the project needs a way to reduce risk to its investors.
Based on movement in the WCI, the project could purchase $50 million in insurance. This would enable the insurance product to then be underwritten by a large reinsurer and allow the project to secure the private sector contribution it needs in order to proceed.
Go here to learn more about IBM Smarter Water Management initiatives. You can also go here to register for a report IBM prepared on why we need smarter water management for our world’s most precious resource.
A friend of mine from overseas sent me an article over the weekend featuring traffic horror stories around the globe.
Most of the stories were about emerging third world cities grappling with rapid growth, but one of them included a story about right here in Austin, Texas. The gist of the story about Austin was this: The individual in Austin traffic noted they were sitting in a car by themselves in a long line of traffic, watching as empty buses and trams whistled by.
I won’t get started on trying to change the longstanding behaviors of Texas commuters, but I WILL highlight a new project IBM is providing some assistance for in Europe that has huge potential for, if not streamlining traffic, then at least helping bridge the gap to a more electric-oriented energy and transportation future.
The Public Charge
IBM today announced that it has teamed with ESB ecars to implement a fully integrated smarter charging IT system that will help manage electric vehicle public charge points, which are being rolled out across Ireland by ESB ecars.
With approximately 1,000 public charging-points currently available, ESB Networks is on track to deliver one of the largest integrated and operational electric vehicle infrastructures in Europe.
ESB Networks will use IBM’s Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services needed to operate and manage the charge-points installed throughout Ireland.
Together the companies will add a layer of intelligence and convenience to the charging process, allowing EV drivers to access, charge and pay, using an identification card.
Additionally, this project will provide utilities with access to energy usage data that can help improve smart grid operations, reduce power strain during peak charging times, and ensure reliable energy distribution to customers.
This project is bolstered by Ireland’s energy policy to increase sustainable energy use in the transportation sector by 2020. Today, the goal is to produce 40 percent of the country’s current electricity consumption from renewable energy and have electric vehicles represent every tenth car on Irish roads.
Charging Cars, Reducing Greenhouse Gases
Already on the renewable fast track, this integrated EV charging network will allow Ireland to also contribute to the European Union legislation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution levels by approximately nine million tones before 2020.
The new system accommodates the needs of all EV owners. The IBM EV platform will enable EV drivers to select convenient payment options and access all charge-points using one ID card — a process that will aggregate usage costs and simplify billing.
This smart charging capability allows consumers to charge anywhere at anytime, regardless of their electricity provider and without the need to carry multiple access cards. Additionally, drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability, and make a reservation if the post is available.
This initiative along with the recently announced Smarter Charging demonstration with American Honda Motor Co,. Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), as well as the EKZ Smartphone Application pilot, demonstrates IBM’s ongoing focus to improve driver services, increase renewable generation, and intelligently manage electric vehicles.
IBM is involved in more than 150 smart grid engagements around the world, in both mature and emerging markets. You can learn more about IBM’s vision to bring a new level of intelligence to how the world works—how every person, business, organization, government, natural system, and man-made system interacts, here, and you can learn more about electronic vehicle infrastructures here.