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A vision for orchestrating the network

How analytics will help us power our growing planet

Over the next 20 years, our planet’s population is expected to grow by more than 750 million people. With this increase, the global demand for energy is expected to rise by around 40%.

Over the next 20 years, our planet’s population is expected to grow by more than 750 million people. With this increase, the global demand for energy is expected to rise by around 40%.

As we continue to deplete precious fossil fuels and introduce more renewable energy sources into the mix, utility companies, consumers, and government regulators will need to be more active participants in managing the energy value chain.

Utility companies that recognize and want to succeed in powering our growing planet will invest in technologies that optimize generation and distribution, and empower the consumer with the information and tools to make decisions and manage their energy use.

Many utilities are already piloting and investing in technologies to instrument and interconnect the grid, such as smart meters, remote asset monitoring, demand response systems, and information portals.

2 3

Participants in the Olympic Peninsula Project used a web portal to record their temperature preferences.  The utility used this information to control the thermostats in the participants’ homes.  Over the course of 1 year, the project yielded a 10 percent reduction in customer electric bills and a reduction of 15 percent in peak grid loads. Enel, a leading power company in Italy, installed 30 million smart meters at a total cost of €2.1 Billion and is recouping its investment at the rate of €500 Million per year, largely through cost savings.

Going beyond technology investments like these, however, can significantly enhance economic gain for all stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to create insight that drives orchestration of the network and allows its participants to create value for themselves and the entire ecosystem.


Product and service innovation from strategic IT investments

Our research shows that investment in technologies for information management, data analysis and optimization will help utilities create a more flexible and responsive grid – and realize significant return on those investments. For example, we found that by leveraging operational and information technology to gain better control of the grid, a utility can avoid capital investment and improve their bottom line from reduced energy costs.

The journey to smarter energy and utilities, including the competencies and associated financial benefits, is detailed in our executive report, The value of smarter energy: Making the case for orchestrating the network. The report uses an illustrative utility to demonstrate the outcomes from harnessing the data that becomes available from a smart grid.


Smarter Energy and Utilities: a competency outcome map

Graphic: Orchestrate the network and all its participants to continuously assure an outcome that is better than the sum of the individual parts.

Using our model, we can demonstrate the benefit to your company based on your own data.and help you build the case for investing in smarter energy.

Utilities that begin this transformation today will be in an advantageous position in the coming decade; they will be better equipped to counter emerging competitors and market threats. Begin your journey today by working with IBM to make the case for investments in smarter energy.



1 Dr. Tim Jones, et al, FutureAgenda: The World in 2020

2 GridWise Demonstration project Fast Facts.

3 Unlocking the €53 Billion Savings from Smart Meters in the EU, Brattle Group, October, 2009.