Advanced meter management for E&U from IBM
and Cisco

Executive summary

The goal - Connect to vital usage information

Regulatory and market pressures require that utilities improve network reliability, resolve service issues faster and lower costs associated with service requests. But outdated meter systems are not connected to the network infrastructure, so essential information about usage and outages is not easily available. IBM and Cisco Systems can help you implement an advanced meter management solution that connects meters directly to your infrastructure.

The advantage - Enhance communication with smart meters

The advanced meter management solution from IBM and Cisco helps utility companies replace existing meters with "smart" meters in the field. The new meters use a combination of IBM and Cisco technology to collect and transmit accurate customer usage data through wireless and wireline network connections. Two-way communication with the meter allows remote control functions without onsite human intervention. The solution is based on a secure, reliable IP-enabled network. In addition to technology, we also provide services to help with implementation, training and management of the new meter system.

The benefits - Utilize accurate data for better decision making

The smart meters and network connections provided by our meter management solution can provide many benefits to utilities. The solution is designed to supply accurate data in near real time, which can help:

The solution can also enable new customer services, such as time-based billing, to encourage conservation, smooth peak demand and help customers lower their utility bills.

Business view

The goal - Lower costs with automated metering

Aging utility meter systems require costly human intervention to manage. As utilities work to lower costs and provide customers with new services, existing meters are working against them. The advanced meter management solution from IBM and Cisco Systems is designed to replace these outdated meters with "smart" meters that automate collection of usage data. Make more informed decisions. Deliver new services. Motivate customers to reduce power usage.

The advantage - Rely on our combined resources and experiences

The advanced meter management solution from IBM and Cisco is built on the combined strengths of two industry leaders.

The benefits - Improve operations and resource planning

Our advanced meter management solution automates the collection and transport of meter information, allowing you to extract meaningful customer usage data to understand actual resource usage. The solution can help your energy or utility company:

The approach - A vision of advanced meter management

Sending employees out to manually read meters can slow revenue collection and leave too much opportunity for utility theft. Automating the process would allow a utility to remotely connect and disconnect service, more efficiently monitor usage levels and reduce customer service costs. For a client like this, IBM and Cisco can replace traditional meters with automated electronic meters that link directly to their billing and customer service systems.

In this scenario, the utility's customers would reap significant advantages as the new solution would allow meters in customer homes to be entirely remotely managed. Customers would no longer be required to wait for a meter reader, and the company could accurately monitor consumption in real time. Over time, the solution would allow the company to introduce highly customized, flexible pricing options, bringing even more control over energy consumption to their customers.

The financial advantage - Speed revenue collection and reduce costs

The advanced meter management solution from IBM is designed to lower operational costs for energy and utility companies. The solution can help:

Technical details

The issues - Build intelligence into your meters

Utility meters are the source of vital information about resource usage, but the data within them is difficult and costly to collect. Leveraging state-of-the-art systems that automate data collection and link meters with network infrastructure can mean substantial savings. The advanced meter management solution from IBM and Cisco Systems builds intelligence into traditionally "dumb" meters, transporting data and integrating information into business and operations systems quickly and easily.

The benchmark - Benefit from our leadership in infrastructure and security

IBM and Cisco offer proven success in delivering intelligent infrastructures to provide superior reliability and end-to-end network data in virtual real time.

The components - Build on a combination of leading products and services

The advanced meter management solution from IBM and Cisco may include the following components.

IBM offers several services to support the solution, including:

The implementation - A comprehensive meter management system

IBM and Cisco could work with a utility client to implement a pilot advanced meter management project or replace hundreds of thousands of traditional meters spanning different geographic areas with automated "smart" meters. By building a comprehensive meter management system that links meters directly to the billing and customer service systems, utility companies would be able to take advantage of remote management and improved efficiency of services.

From a regulatory standpoint, this type of solution would support service continuity through customer site monitoring and automatic management extension on low-voltage networks, helping to reduce blackouts. It would also help the utility comply with government regulations regarding utility distributors' responsibilities with respect to the efficient use of electrical energy. The solution's network-monitoring capabilities would support load balancing and planned unbalancing, and they would also include a fraud/loss management mechanism. From a network optimization and investment management standpoint, the solution would provide a decision support tool that could help the company decide where and when it needs investments in the network.

The cost of ownership - Gain security, flexibility and reliability

The advanced meter management solution from IBM and Cisco is designed to help utilities lower costs. The solution:

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