Posts tagged ‘IBM’
It’s been a great year for the Smart Grid. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, analysts, journalists, and regulators can’t stop talking about it. Experts are competing to project greater market potential. Zpryme puts the Smart Appliance market alone at $15.2bn by 2015, Lux Research talks about $15.8bn, Cisco estimates the overall opportunity at $100bn and Pike research uses a whopping $200bn figure.
Giants like Cisco and IBM have set aside billions to fund Smart Grid activities. The US government has kept up, allocating hefty tax credits and incentives for Smart Grid development, with $3.4bn from the stimulus bill granted to 100 smart-grid initiatives last October. VCs are investing heavily, as these three lists show. But while we anticipate the first Smart Grid IPO (market-permitting) from Silver Spring Networks, we’ve got to wonder out loud: Why isn’t water being served at this party?
Peter Williams, of IBM’s Big Green Innovations, says that the single most important improvement to water infrastructure is embedding information technology so that more effective management can happen. We agree: what water needs is the application of all the best practices, insights and network management approaches that have already suceeded in telecoms, IT and a myriad of industrial operations systems. Otherwise, pipe and valves are sentenced to silence, making it difficult to assess and manage the network’s health.
There is a twist, of course, since water infrastructure has certain unique characteristics. A great example is night-time. With IT systems, nights are great – few users tax the system and therefore outages are less likely to occur. Water systems at night actually experience more pressure, since users don’t reduce pressure by consuming water. Pressure builds up in the pipes, and dramatic bursts are more likely to happen in the dead of night.