By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications
Andy Stanford-Clark built his first sensor when he was six years old to alert his mom if it started raining after she had hung the wash out to dry. His “rain detector” involved nothing more than a few copper strips on a small board that attached to the clothesline and a little box in the house that beeped, alerting her to bring in the laundry.
Already at that young age, Stanford-Clark was able to recognize a problem and solve it with a simple solution. Today, 40 years later, he is still doing the same thing, but on a much grander scale. Continue Reading »
By Amitabh Kant
By Juan Hindo
Today, World Community Grid celebrates eight years of bringing together volunteers from around the world to support humanitarian research. World Community Grid taps the spare computational power of computers volunteered by the general public and provides it – free of charge – to scientists who might not otherwise have access to the intensive computing power they require for timely, humanitarian research.
In eight years, our volunteers have provided research scientists with the equivalent of more than 600,000 years of computing power to seek cures and new treatments for many diseases, identify clean sources of energy and seek to improve water quality. These projects have yielded more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers – industry recognition of scientific research being advanced by World Community Grid.
Continue reading at Citizen IBM.
- By Ron Ambrosio
Over the last few years, an interesting transformation has been taking shape in the Pacific Northwest.
Research laboratories, product developers, testing companies, utility engineering departments, and universities have been working together to design and implement a new and smarter approach to managing electricity delivery.
This approach, being developed by the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Project (PNW-SGDP), called for devising ways to move electricity from generation plants through customer equipment, such as smart meters, heating and cooling systems, and just about everything in between.
By Fabienne Guildhary, IBM Communications, Energy & Utilities/Media & Entertainment
Often, history serves as a tool to teach us valuable lessons and help us avoid repeating the same mistakes. As Chief Architect of the IBM Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities, Charles Vincent is leveraging his considerable knowledge of Electric Vehicles (EVs) to better shape the future of transportation.
Charles’ passion for EVs was sparked long before his career in electronic transportation took off. Fascinated by the technology at an early age, Charles devoted a lot of time poring over vintage publications on the subject, such as American Electric Vehicle Association newsletters from the early 1900’s. Then in the 1980’s, Charles got the opportunity to put his knowledge and passion to work.
By Jim Fletcher, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect, Smarter Infrastructure, IBM
With gas once again flirting with $4 per gallon, imagine shopping for a car in a world where vehicles didn’t come with mileage ratings.
Sure, a smart driver would likely a gut feeling that the pint-sized Prius would be cheaper to fuel than the hulking Hummer for sale next to it. But without official data, or at least a Hummer driver willing to share mileage figures, it’d be tough to know for sure what it would cost to operate the two vastly different vehicles for years to come.
It sounds absurd. Yet for most buyers of houses, commercial buildings and other properties, that far-fetched scenario is pretty much the reality today. Buyers have precious little information of how much energy a given property will consume.
Yet while we’d roll our eyes at the owner of a super-sized SUV who seems surprised about high fill-up costs, who hasn’t heard a story of a person who bought a home only to discover later that it’s hugely expensive to heat and cool?
Luckily city planners, engineers and companies are recognizing that the vacuum of information about building performance is a key to boosting building efficiency, and improving real estate market information—better data helps owners and their tenants make smarter decisions.
An intriguing effort to make this sort of building performance data more transparent surfaced recently in New York City. It’s a map of the city’s five boroughs, color-coded to show the energy intensity of practically every building in the Big Apple’s dense mix of commercial, residential, and mixed-use regions.
At the United Nations’ climate summit in Rio, the German minister of environmental development, Peter Altmaier, created a new word for the English speaking world: Energy-Wende.
Energy-Wende is the shift away from nuclear power toward alternative energy sources like solar energy, wind power and other renewable energies. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011, the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to phase out nuclear power, which is being followed with great interest by the whole world. “If we succeed in converting the energy revolution, and still remain competitive, then we become a model for the world,” Altmaier added.
Large power networks are required for the nuclear phase-out and conversion to renewable energy. Wind is currently the most important source among renewable energy. Unfortunately, wind power is generated not where the need is greatest, but where the wind blows most – in front of the North and Baltic Sea coast.
This electricity has to be transported from the north to the south. That was different in the past, when conventional power plants were built near large cities and industrial centers. In addition, the supply varies with wind and solar power, depending on the weather. The electricity networks must be able to efficiently absorb it and move it to the point of consumption. The network expansion is therefore a fundamental part of energy policy, just as Smart Grids should be. Smart Grids use IT to gather and act on information in an automated way to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity.
IBM Germany calls for the extension of intelligent networks to support the “Energy-Wende” in Germany
Smart Grids: Nervous system of the energy transition
By 2020, renewable energy sources should supply at least 35 percent of the required electricity in Germany. This conversion will cost about 200 billion Euros, though reliable estimates are difficult. Apart from investments in new power plants, transmission lines and energy storage, power grids must be equipped with additional intelligence. Without “smart grids” the green rebuilding of the energy supply is inefficient and the stability of the networks is at risk. Therefore the technology industry and leaders like IBM must partner with energy suppliers and governments to help accelerate smart grid activity.
By Andy Bochman, Energy Security Lead
Read the headlines and you will see that Cybersecurity threats to critical infrastructures continue to evolve. While it’s important for utility companies to stay abreast of the latest attack types, they must also look beyond external factors and turn their efforts to re-establishing and strengthening their organizational structure. The first step must start from within if they are to succeed in maintaining the stability, safety and security of the Smart Grid. It starts with re-defining the term “leadership.”
Recently IBM met with Michael Assante, President and CEO of the National Board of Information Security Examiners to get his perspective on the evolving security landscape within the Energy & Utilities industry. In his current role and also once serving as the Chief Security Officer for North Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and American Electric Power (AEP), Michael shares his thoughts on why significant change is necessary if we are to create an intelligent Smart Grid infrastructure.
Q1. How has the energy and utilities industry changed in terms of security measures? Did the Stuxnet virus and its successors drive this?
M.A.: Interestingly enough, I don’t believe the Stuxnet worm or any other notorious threat spurred the need for change. Instead, I see the shift being associated with the acceleration of connected digital technology. Computer and communication technology, smart meters, for example, is becoming an integral part of generating, transmitting, and delivering power, and as a result, we’re seeing a significant need not just for improved cybersecurity measures, but a new, more sophisticated approach to business management. Our current defense and protection models are not sufficient against highly structured and resourced cyber adversaries, so utilities should act quickly to develop and apply their greatest resource in this contest: the professionals who work to defend, operate, and protect our critical systems and infrastructure.
By Ricardo Klatovsky, Vice President Energy & Utilities Europe IOT, IBM
In January 2008 the European Commission announced the “20-20-20” plan, a pledge to cut energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020. To help drive this initiative, they also set a mandate for all participating countries to upgrade 100 percent of electric meters to smart meters by 2022 (80% by 2020).
Yes, this plan sparked excitement and many European countries saw this as an opportunity to finally reduce energy demand and drive economic growth. Now that the initial excitement has died down slightly, we can clearly see the hurdles and are now realizing that there are many factors for success.
Some transformations can affect a person, a team, clients, and sometimes even reach a continent. Global Energy & Utilities Industry Leader, Michael Valocchi’s journey as a consultant has taken him through all of this and more.
Last year, Michael joined a group to revitalize IBM’s strategy in Africa which included examining how dozens of African countries can be transformed – infusing intelligence into government, bank, communications, energy processes. The team was steeped into African cultures, speaking and listening to African leaders about their critical challenges. Continue Reading »