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ARMONK, N.Y. - 16 Sep 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled a new standards-based industry software platform and business partner validation program that will enable utility companies to operate more efficiently and accelerate the development of their smart utility solutions. A part of the IBM Smarter Planet strategy, the new Solution Architecture for Energy and Utilities Framework (SAFE) brings the capabilities of IBM software to power solutions across all areas of a utility company, including plant operations, smart meters and personal utility management.
IBM helps energy and utility clients implement business solutions in the areas of generation, transmission, distribution and customer operations to help deliver quantifiable results and support their strategic roadmap to achieve increased innovation, agility and competitive advantage--one business project at a time.
Energy and utility companies of all sizes seek ways to reduce their operating costs and provide enhanced services to their customer yet their approach must be flexible enough to allow new technologies to be added incrementally as their requirements dictate. These companies are also faced with growing government requirements to add new green technologies such as emissions monitoring and smart distribution, as well as renewable energy sources (wind, hydro, solar and biofuels).
"We're in a position to help our utility clients transform their networks more efficiently," said Guido Bartels, General Manager of IBM's Global Energy & Utilities industry. "The SAFE framework provides visibility, control and automation across the utility infrastructure as well as IT assets to help provide security and business agility as part of an intelligent network transformation."
Houston, TX-based CenterPoint Energy explains the benefits:
"The SAFE framework allows CenterPoint Energy to establish new capabilities while integrating and maintaining the existing functionality of its current IT investments," said Dr. Steven Pratt, Chief Technologist, CenterPoint Energy.
IBM also announced a unique and comprehensive validation process for IBM Business Partners providing energy and utility applications. IBM will work with business partners to ensure their solutions are enabled on the SAFE framework leveraging industry standards to facilitate simple integration and deployment of solutions. Validated applications from IBM business partners are easier and faster to implement for utility companies. IBM business partners including ESRI, SISCO, Retriever Communications and Trilliant are already validated on the SAFE framework:
"SAFE enables utilities to extract value from information and leverage all data sources, especially those data sources such as facility infrastructure, assets, customers, and workers that are location-based," said Bill Meehan, Director of Utility Solutions at ESRI. "ESRI has unique Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities which extend SAFE, not only geo-enabling operations such as asset management and mobile-workforce optimization, but also fusing data from disparate sources."
"Retriever Communications' wireless field force solution provides mobile and remote workers with key information to work and maintain assets through the innovative use of technology in the field--managing increasingly sophisticated assets requires access to real time data," said Mary Brittain-White, CEO at Retriever Communications. "The validation of Retriever's solution on IBM's SAFE framework provides Retriever with rich integration capability to enterprise data and incorporated systems. Retriever brings to the utilities sector solutions that improve the management of field resources and assets that result in operational efficiencies and cost benefits."
"The validation of SISCO's Utility Integration Bus product for SAFE will help utilities better manage the integration of real-time data with their business processes by bringing support for important international standards like the Common Information Model to the WebSphere environment," said Ralph Mackiewicz, Vice President of Business Development for SISCO. "Using a standardized data model like CIM with our UIB product combined with SAFE will bridge the gap between the business and the power system, thereby enabling utilities to leverage their real-time data to improve their operations."
"Utilities are increasingly recognizing that highly-scalable, functional, and standards-compliant software systems are critical to take advantage of Smart Grid technology," said Andy White, President and CEO of Trilliant. "Trilliant is proud to be the first SAFE-validated Smart Grid network provider."
In addition IBM business partners including BPL Global, Coulomb Technologies, eMeter, Enterprise Information Management, Itron, OSIsoft, and PowerSense have today committed to becoming SAFE-validated.
Venture Capital firms also see SAFE as a way for their clean tech startups to focus on innovation. "The SAFE platform will enable startups like Tendril Networks, developers of consumer-oriented conservation technologies for the optimization of energy use, to focus on their core competencies and accelerate development of the smart grid," said Lee Burrows, a Partner at VantagePoint Venture Partners. "VantagePoint sees great value in our portfolio companies teaming with established industry leaders like IBM to bring their innovative solutions for the most complex problems to market."
The SAFE framework is the software technology backbone that makes a wide range of utility solutions possible by helping the client to build a standards-based integrated platform for all of its operations across their value chain. This new framework utilizes elements of IBM's entire software portfolio including WebSphere, Tivoli, Rational, Lotus and Information Management products.
IBM's new framework offers technologies centered around seven key focus areas faced by every utility:
A key element of IBM's recently announced Smart Work initiative, the new framework is designed to help companies optimize their business to achieve new levels of productivity by marrying collaboration between people with the business processes that are at the heart of every organization.
Today's announcement represents another example of IBM's portfolio of industry solutions and frameworks. The frameworks, designed to be integrated software platforms that match specific industry needs, enable faster business solution deployment with lower project risk, expanded choice through a validated ecosystem of partners, and accelerated adoption of business IT standards.
IBM is working with clients in nearly 50 Smart Grid engagements across emerging and mature markets. More about IBM's vision to bring a new level of intelligence to how the world works--how every person, business, organization, government, natural system, and man-made system interacts, can be found here: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet
For more information on smart utilities at IBM visit: http://www.ibm.com/energy
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