Smart Grid links WSJ, BI, PG&E, GE, IBM and other abbreviations

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j0390142Interesting front-page Wall Street Journal story on Sept. 28 outlined how communications technology, business intelligence (BI) and predictive analytics are working together on the new Smart Grid electrical network.

Federal stimulus money is helping companies to upgrade their IT and gain deeper knowledge of power consumption patterns.  Using BI, easy-to-read graphics and dashboards, different people within companies can  track power consumption in real-time detail.  Finance executives can watch pricing and expenses, operations managers can spot peak use or areas where some machinery can be idled.

Utility companies are using business intelligence and visualization to quickly display electric  usage trends and set triggers or alerts to manage peak periods or offer incentives for off-peak use.   Duke Energy has applied for more than $200 million in stimulus funds for Smart Grid projects and is working with start-up Ambient Corp.   And Pacific Gas & Electric is hiring IBM to equip some of its business customers with BI displays that show power usage pattern.  The utility company can more closely track user habits, and customers can focus on efficiency by seeing up-to-the-minute analytics on electricity consumption and costs.

Down to the appliance level, every device is getting “smarter.”   GE  is developing boilers and other appliances that receive Smart Grid communications and function at high-efficiency levels during peak electric-use periods.   Then they can switch to higher-performance mode when loads shift.   These devices have their own business intelligence and network functions, sharing data with other appliances in the home or office and working together in harmony.

I just hope the dishwasher and microwave oven to play nicely together in the break room. . . no more brownouts when it’s time for popcorn.

David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art