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IBM Global Eco-Efficiency Jam Day 2

IBM Eco Jam Screenshot

Today is the final day of IBM’s Global Eco-efficiency Jam (it finishes at 6pm CET today) and it has been awesome.

There have been hundreds of discussions on all manner of Eco-related topics – everything from LEED certification, to Green software engineering, to Energy Efficiency certificates to Smart cities and collaboration.

People have been asking questions like:

If environmental reporting and efficiency actions becomes the norm, what kinds of incentives and rebates are available to help improve the time to value and return on investments?

Currently this question has had 8 replies.

The question with the most replies (right now) is –

Would you use a mobility car service – like the bicycle rental scheme in Paris but with a small, probably electric vehicle – rather than public transportation or a taxi?

and so far it has had 78 responses!

Often answers to questions directly contradict one another – such as the following answers to the mobility question above:

Yes, I would. But more for fun or visiting a city. Visiting clients on e-bike wearing business dress is difficult

and

When Montreal introduced its version of V?lib, called Bixi, most people anticipated tourists would be the prime users. But looking around the city on a nice summer day, most the bikes are used by men and women in business suits, going from one building to the next. For short rides of 2-4 km, you needn’t even break a sweat.

These kind of contradictory answers are inevitable when the participants come from over 100 countries reflecting their country’s culture and infrastructure.

Other discussions were more straightforward

Looking beyond basic power policies on the operating system, do you have any form of PC power management operating on your PC at home or at work?

[UPDATE – this question came from @karolinashaw, Public Relations Manager 1E]

There is plenty of discussion on water as well with people discussing the merits of water metering, water harvesting and town/city water policies.

While I am contributing a bit to the discussions (I have added 39 posts and had 37 replies so far), I am learning a huge amount and coming into contact with participants I might never otherwise have met.

IBM should make this a regular event, no question.

[Disclosure] IBM asked me not to use the names of Jam participants in any blog posts I make here because IBM hadn’t sought their permission so I removed the names from the image above and didn’t credit people quoted above. If I have used your content and you are happy to have me credit you, let me know in the comments or by email (tom@redmonk.com) and I’m more than happy to do so.

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Klaus Heimann espouses SAP’s smart utility of 2020 at International SAP for Utilities conference

I attended the 7th International SAP for Utilities event in Munich last week.

Having attended the SAP for Utilities event in San Antonio last year, I had reasonably high expectations from this conference and I wasn’t disappointed. At the San Antonio event SAP talked very much about the ‘State of the Now’ talking up their, then recently launched, Energy Capital Management software. At this event however, Head of SAP Service Industries, Klaus Heimann keynoted introducing SAP’s vision for the utility company of 2020!

In what was a very forward-looking address, Klaus confidently predicted that:

In two years time this will no longer be a Utilities conference, it will be en Energy conference

This must have had a lot of the people in the room squirming in their seats because, as Klaus himself said, “Utilities are not known as being good at change!”

But change they must.

Just a few of the upcoming major changes utility companies are going to have to cope with include the growing imperative to move to a greater penetration of renewables in the generation mix, the impending explosion in the numbers of electric vehicles to be charged, and the need to roll-out smart grids and take in distributed generation.

Klaus’ vision for the utility company of 2020 is summarised in the video interview I conducted with him above, but briefly he talked of an energy market vastly more complex than today’s. An energy market:

  • where customers can be consumers and producers (via micro-generation)
  • where customers may have shares in a wind-farm which sells electricity to the local utility
  • where customers receive rebates on kWh’s saved during times of peak demand (compared to avg previous day’s use at same time, for example)
  • where utilities will have special renewable-only power offerings (I wish they had that now)
  • where utilities will need to be able to bill customers for energy used to charge electric vehicles, away from home (at the office) or even in different countries and
  • where utilities will need to be able to offer real-time consumption information, generation data and a control interface to the customer’s appliances

Nothing too earth-shattering in that list to be honest. But, when put against the types of changes utilities have gone through in the last 100 years, this is an enormous upheaval. This is probably a good time to be a change management consultant in the utilities sector 😉

For this vision to become real (and any utilities who don’t start to move in this direction can start writing their own obituaries now), there needs to be massive changes in utilities communications infrastructures and their data handling capabilities.

With big change, comes big opportunities so it is not surprising to see SAP are all over this and helping the utilities visualise where they need to go.