IBM is a technology and consulting firm founded in 1911 through the merger of four timekeeping and tabulation companies. Today, the company has expanded to consulting, hosting and infrastructure services, and, most notably, computer hardware and software. IBM is listed as the 33rd largest firm by Forbes and has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation award eight times.
To facilitate the transition into the smart grid space, IBM has developed a number of solutions to optimize energy use and power generation, and also to open up communications between customers and utilities. It provides communication networks and devices to utilities that help them better understand energy consumption and to view consumption patterns in real time. For example, IBM has provided CenterPoint Energy with an advanced meter system that reads meters every 15 minutes, as opposed to the one-month intervals the utility applied before. The Solution Architecture for Energy and Utilities Framework (SAFE) connects IT to business management and streamlines data collection to give utilities the business intelligence to compete in the smart grid market. IBM also has solutions that work to optimize power generation by installing sensors and communication devices to collect data and providing the proper applications to analyze the data.
Recently, analysts have indicated that IBM may play a large role in the smart grid field, but IBM has been making headlines for different aspects of its activities. It acquired the facility and real estate management software company TRIRIGA in April.
Primary competitors: Accenture, SAS, SAP, Oracle
Analyst Note: As a company, IBM has continued the meteoric rise it has been on over the past three years. Under its Smarter Planet initiative, IBM has extensively built out its ability to use digital technology solutions to modernize the U.S. infrastructure. This is a central reason why Warren Buffet, who in part is famous for avoiding any investment in the high-tech sector, recently obtained $10 billion in IBM stock.
Smart grids are a major component of IBM’s Smarter Planet efforts, and the company has been at the forefront of both software development and integration and, perhaps more importantly (at least for the industry at large) has functioned as a political and educational force to raise awareness for the smart grid’s value to society. All of this goodwill is likely to come back to IBM in the form of profits, as countries like China have extremely large-scale urbanization projects now in full swing and as a host of other markets -- many of which can no longer be referred to as ‘emerging’ -- look to upgrade their infrastructure.
As the race to improve data and business analytics continues to speed up in the smart grid space, it is likely that IBM will remain in the driver’s seat.
To learn more about The Networked Grid 150 report in its entirety, visit http://www.greentechmedia.com/research/report/the-networked-grid-150