Smarter energy data could be cloud bound

Dan Hatch News
21 Mar, 2011

Cable and Wireless and IBM team-up to provide energy suppliers with a Smart Meter data answer.

As more than 50 million energy “smart meters” are rolled-out to UK households, Cable & Wireless Worldwide has announced cloud computing technology is likely to play an integral role in the storage and analysis of the data they collect.

The company has revealed it has joined IBM in partnership to develop the ‘UK Smart Energy Cloud’ – a “new intelligent data and communication solution” designed specifically to support the Government’s Smart Meter Implementation Program.

The companies were remaining tight-lipped about whether any energy suppliers had signed-up to, or expressed an interest in, their cloud.

The company claims the UK Smart Energy Cloud will be able 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”. That data can then be sent to energy retailers for analysis to help ensure accurate billing and to Distributor Network Operators to help enable smart grid functionality.

The idea is that energy retailers will not require expensive up-front hardware and systems investments. According to C&W Worldwide it will also make switching retailers “easier and more transparent” for customers, who should also experience no service disruption when making a switch.

Under the £8 billion Smart Meter Implementation Scheme, energy suppliers are required to install the meters in their customer’s homes by 2020, in a bid to help people cut their electricity and gas bills. The meters have a display so customers can see how much energy they are using.

C&W Worldwide’s managing director of enterprise Matt Key said the roll-out of smart meters to the entire UK population would require a combination of ‘enabling solutions’ including GPRS, radio and Power Line Carrier to make it cost-effective.

“However, it is the network connecting it all and intelligent data management that is central to the smart agenda’s success,” he said.

“This alliance (with IBM) 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.”

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