I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice that a number of the big IT consulting companies have established practices around green IT services, anything from helping you measure the green-ness or lack thereof of current technology to investing in applications and technology solutions that can help your business as a whole be more sustainable or green.
Along these lines, Accenture has come up with a new offering intended for utilities: The Accenture Intelligent Network Data Enterprise service, as described here in this post on ZDNet's sister blog site Smart Planet, is intended to help them design, deploy and manage smart grid products. The service was used in the deployment of the SmartGridCity deployment in Boulder, which was build by Xcel Energy.
The big key things that Accenture deals with are the following:
- How to integrate the old with the new, dealing with the data being generated both from legacy operations and from smart grid sensors and technologies.
- Creating a platform that can handle all the different gadgets and do-dads that a smart grid includes, from sensors to smart meters.
- A visual analytics layer, so that a human can keep better track of events and conditions that mater to the efficient operation of a utility company.
How big is this sort of project? Consider this comment from the managing director of the Accenture Smart Grid Services division, David Rouls:
"A smart grid is expected to generate up to eight orders of magnitude more data than today's traditional power network. Transforming and analyzing this data into useful business and operational intelligence is one of the biggest problems facing our industry today. ... One key area is the need for utilities to address the challenges of turning data into valuable insights to drive enhanced business value, performance and customer service, to protect existing investments and produce lasting competitive advantage."
Although the consulting company doesn't go into detail about what technologies are core to its basic service, it does talk about how it can be integrated with a pre-configured suite of Oracle technologies, which it claims can accelerate smart grid deployments.