Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘smart grid

The Electric Filling Station

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Click to enlarge. With IBM’s Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform, drivers across Ireland will be able to use their mobile devices to locate their nearest electric “filling station” and even make a reservation to stop and charge their car.

Happy Monday.

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.

Written by turbotodd

October 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Smart Grids In The UK

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Well that was a bombshell that AT&T done dropped on the American telco landscape over the weekend.

It was almost as upsetting as Arizona’s last second comeback over my Texas Longhorns in the NCAA.  At this point, my brackets are a complete mess.

If you missed the headline, AT&T announced its intent to acquire T-Mobile USA, Inc. for a cool $39B.  The blogosphere lit up at the news, but GigaOM’s Om Malik ain’t havin’ any of it, saying that everybody loses in this deal.

But that wasn’t the only news in the telco space.  Just this morning, IBM and Cable & Wireless Worldwide announced their collaboration to develop a new intelligent data and communications solution, UK Smart Energy Cloud.

This effort will support the UK’s Smart Meter Implementation Program, which aims to roll out more than 50 million smart meters in the UK.

This cloud will help provide a complete overview of energy usage across the country and pave way for easier implementation of a smart grid (Though there were no confirmed reports that the stadium lights at Stamford Bridge were flickering after Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City yesterday PM. Viva Brasil’s David Luiz, even at 21M British pounds!)

The UK Smart Energy Cloud solution will utilize the extensive experience IBM has gained from leading and implementing smart grid programs around the world and its proven enabling software and middleware. And the solution will be supported by C&W Worldwide’s extensive, secure next-generation network and communications integration capability.

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.

For more information visit the IBM energy Web site.

Austin’s Smarter Grid

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The universe has a sense of humor.  This I know.

I was complaining yesterday about a power outage in my neighborhood, which forced me to go to Starbucks to get online and so I could get some work done.

The joys of being a worker from home.

I worked at Starbucks for a couple of hours (about as long as my Starbucks card bought me free wifi), then headed back to Turboville to see if the power was back on.

It was, thank heavens, but my phone was now out!

Perhaps I was meant to celebrate Thanksgiving early with my Canadian friends?  This was clearly a sign from the universe.

This morning, I was up bright and early for a call with my colleagues in NY and London, and KABOOM, I hear the transformer blow…again.

As I looked out on the skyline of downtown Austin, waiting to see if Zeus was about to appear over the Texas capitol building, trident in hand ready to strike, I wondered what I had done to deserve all this.

So, that’s the buildup, and now you can see why I laughed out loud (with all due apologies to David Duchovy in Californication), when this headline hit my desk:

City of Austin Selects IBM to Manage New Billing System

Then the subhead: Decision Paves Way for Smart Grid Initiatives

I was JUST this morning joking with my colleagues that Austin clearly needed a smart grid.  Too frickin’ funny.

So here’s the full story: IBM signed an eight-year agreement to install and manage a new utility services billing system for the City of Austin that is designed to improve customer service while preparing the city for its broader green energy initiatives.

The new billing system will support the City of Austin’s electric, water and waste-collection operations and other city operational fees.

It will have an open architecture, be compatible with other city systems, and be capable of providing real time access to information for customers and employees.

The end goal being to provide a single point of contact for customers through multiple communications channels for utility-based products and services.

Customers like me!

More to the point, the new billing system will also, when combined with new meters the city plans to deploy this fall, allow the city to begin implementing a smart electric grid.

By providing consumers with real-time information on their energy consumption, smart grids help customers better manage their energy usage and lower their monthly bills.

For utilities like Austin Energy, smart grids make it easier to detect outages and integrate cleaner, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Though I don’t think I’ll need the smart grid to detect the recent outages, I am looking forward to potentially being able to take advantage of greener energy resources via the Austin smart grid.

Jeff Smith, IBM vice president for our Communications Sector Solutions, had this to say about the deal:

“The City of Austin has long been at the forefront of green energy initiatives, so we are excited to work with the city on this new billing system, which will lay the groundwork for the development of a smart grid in Central Texas.”

IBM and the City of Austin are members of the Pecan Street Project, a consortium of public and private partners including Austin Energy, Austin Technology Incubator, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, The University of Texas at Austin, Applied Materials, Cisco, Dell, Freescale Semiconductor, GE, GridPoint, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and SEMATECH.

The group’s goal is to design a clean energy infrastructure, business model and proving ground for tomorrow’s energy technology.

The new billing system consists of the Oracle Customer Care and Billing application running on IBM WebSphere and IBM Tivoli middleware.

IBM and Smart Grid

Infrastructure investments are at the forefront of stimulus packages around the world to spur economic growth.

Smart systems are transforming energy grids, supply chains, water management and the healthcare industry to name a few. Modernizing the power grid provides consumers with the information to understand their energy usage and take actions to reduce wasteful use and integrate renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

IBM is working with clients in nearly 50 smart grid engagements across emerging and mature markets. 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 — can be found here.

Written by turbotodd

October 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm


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My power went out this morning.

I had barely finished my first blog post and was starting to attack my email and, KABOOM, a transformer across the street popped like a Black Cat bottle rocket, only much louder.

So, I went off in search of wifi, first stopping at the nice AT&T store down the street to see if they could help me with my Blackberry Bold.

I’ve been having trouble with the battery since I had the unit replaced while in San Jose for SES.  Literally, I put the thing down wrong and the power shuts off.

I want to say thanks to the nice AT&T people on the 5th Street location in Austin.

The counter rep provided me a free battery swap, and reminded me I had 3 months left in my annual warranty if I needed to do another swap on the device itself (and I reminded her I had bought their insurance).

So, fingers crossed.

I then set out for Starbucks to grab a coffee and some free wifi for a bit, first putting in my power outage report on austinenergy.com

I have a feeling it could be hours because very few of us in the complex are at home during the day, and I’m concerned one report may not do the trick.  We’ll see.

Ah, the joys of working at home.

Speaking of outage, IBM customer Air New Zealand had an IT outage that began Friday morning and lasted for several hours, impacting the company’s check-in services, online booking system and call center, and affecting more than 10,000 passengers and leaving airports in disarray.

The CEO of Air New Zealand is blaming IBM, to whom ANZ had outsourced much of its computing operations, and according to a Good Morning Silicon Valley blog post over the weekend IBM “expressed its regrets” and said the likely cause was a failed oil pressure sensor on a backup generator during a scheduled maintenance session.

Unfortunately, the incident occurred during a very busy holiday travel time for New Zealand travellers.

TV New Zealand reported late Monday that IBM had issued a statement and explained that “IBM’s primary focus was to rapidly restore services to our clients, and in particular to Air New Zealand.”

The report went on to indicate that IBM had immediately engaged a team of 32 local IT professionals, supported by global colleagues and management, to restore impacted client systems and that services to most clients were restored within an hour of the outage.

If I know my colleagues, I’m sure they’re doing everything they can to make sure not only that the Air New Zealand operations are back in working order but also to ensure this type of outage doesn’t occur again.

Written by turbotodd

October 12, 2009 at 5:46 pm

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