Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

IBM Offers Its Cloud To Watch The UK's Electrical Grid

Computing giant IBM and the British telecom concern Cable & Wireless say they’re collaborating to build a cloud computing system that would monitor the power usage of some 50 million smart electrical meters in the UK.

The idea, they say, is to use cloud computing to monitor and analyze power use at British homes and businesses, as part of an overall plan to reduce the country’s energy use and therefore its carbon footprint.

Several existing wireless players have tossed their hats in the ring to build smart meter systems, including BT, Telefonica and Vodafone. They all want a piece of a big UK government contract that could be worth as much as $14 billion to install smart meters in every home by 2020 as part of a wider plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

IBM and C&W say their plan, which they call the UK Smart Energy Cloud, will gather data many times a day from smart meters around the country and store it in a cloud hosted in the UK. The data would then go to power utilities for analysis, to make sure customers are billed according to their usage.

IBM is also involved in a nationwide smart grid project in Malta and has a hand in a pilot project in Denmark. C&W has more than 1,000 network sites, and many, it says, are located at electrical substations. IBM and C&W would essentially become a middle man, saving UK power retailers from having to make huge investments in computing and communications infrastructure.

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