If there was any doubt as to which part of the smart grid some of the biggest names in IT are hungering after, let them be laid to rest. IBM is the latest one to stake a claim when it comes to laying the network foundation that will various pieces of the smart grid talk to each other.
The new service was described today by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano during a keynote at the GridWise Global Forum in Washington, D.C. Aimed at utility companies, the IBM Intelligent Utility Network service is aimed at updating their existing network infrastructure in order to handle smart grid communications. Core to these updates are security, scalability, and network management functions—along with a whopping 5,000 network consultants, architects and project managers who will support the service through IBM's Global Technology Services Integrated Communication Services group.
The service is predicated on IBM's experience so far with more than 150 different smart grid engagements of differing levels of maturity. The company also is pretty clear that it can't do this alone: It has established relationships with technology vendors representing the telecommunications and networking technology spectrum from core to backhaul and both terrestrial and wireless. Those relationships include ADVA Optical Networking, Alvarion, Ciena, Cisco, Itron North America, Juniper Networks, Landis & Gyr North America, Motorola, RuggedCom, Sensus and Trilliant. These are all companies that have gotten on board IBM's Solution Architecture for Energy & Utilities Initiative.