Persistent power grid failures, an aging workforce, the instability of oil prices, and the severity of changes in weather conditions have significantly raised the urgency of the issues of energy generation and management — for governments, corporations and the public overall.
In IBM’s view, the work extends beyond any single company, industry or even country. It will require innovation and collaboration on many fronts. The goal: sustainable energy use that can build economies while protecting the planet. The challenge: rethink and redesign the systems that bring power to the people.
This week in the valley of the Sun and Sparks (newly crowned) a number of energy providers, energy analysts and energy consultants met with us to discuss challenges, requirements, and the evolution of the industry.
Converging market forces have increased the need for greater network reliability, efficiency, flexibility and observability; and, they have increased the need for better enterprise integration and information transparency. To address these needs, energy and utility companies have begun to examine strategies that move from mostly centralized infrastructures to those that will accomodate distributed and renewable energy sources such as biomass, wind, solar, and water.
Distributed energy will need to be managed more like a computer network infrastructure,a smart grid that can take advantage of an end-to-end topology where monitoring and management will take place close to points of use and providing a platform for closed loop automation.
The IBM Intelligent Utility Network (IUN) is IBM’s instantiation of what utilities refer to as the Smart Grid, providing solutions to enable new business models and approaches to business operations. IUN provides a roadmap and data model for the processes, technology and business partners to deliver informed decision making through an IP-enabled continuous sensing network which connects all parts of the utility (T&D equipment, control systems, applications, employees and more). Key to the IUN roadmap is IBM’s embrace of open source defacto and emerging standards built on a systems oriented architecture that will allow the kind of flexibility future challenges will demand.
IBM has developed a way for utilities to strategically organize, build upon and operate their assets for maximum efficiency and flexibility - a framework design known as SAFE - Solution Architecture For Energy & Utilities(SAFE). SAFE is an extension of IBM’s business integration reference for SOA. It embraces all the functional areas necessary for an energy and utility company to integrate its systems in today's environment.
Safe also provides the perfect platform for us to connect our industry leading management products from Tivoli including Maximo, Netcool, Consul, Security, and the IBM Service Desk. We have just completed our first pass architecture for Tivoli on SAFE and are engaging in some very innovative (and exciting) POCs with customers that should drive new ways to deliver...er.. power to the people...right on!