IBM, VELCO join forces to create smart energy solutions firm Utopus

IBM's Smarter Energy team will come under the Utopus umbrella as part of the agreement.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

IBM and Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) have announced the creation of Utopus Insights, a company which will specialize in smart energy products.

On Friday, the companies revealed that Utopus Insights, based in Valhalla, New York, will "strive to be a leading provider of the next generation of intelligent energy solutions."

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1956, Rutland, Vermont-based VELCO is an electric transmission company which transforms power from substations to lower voltage local customers in Vermont.

VELCO, owned by in-state electric distribution companies, will be an investor and strategic partner in the new company, while IBM Research's Smarter Energy team -- alongside the unit's intellectual property and technologies portfolio -- will become part of Utopus Insights.

IBM and VELCO hope the new venture will be able to create "create dependable, industry-tested software" which utilizes Big Data and analytics for the green energy market.

Dr. Chandu Visweswariah, an IBM fellow, has been named President and CEO of Utopus Insights. The executive says that as the renewable energy sector continues to innovate -- now including energy storage, electric vehicles, smart, energy-saving products, and renewables -- vendors need to move quickly to keep up.

By harnessing IBM's portfolio, the company will be able to offer an energy analytics platform from the outset for use with the cloud (SaaS) and IoT solutions, which can also be integrated with third-party software due to the use of open APIs.

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"Utopus Insights plans to bring these same solutions to other utilities' ongoing grid transformation work," Tom Dunn, VELCO President, and CEO said. "These next-generation tools can enable our industry to continue to deliver increased system reliability and operational performance in an era of rapid change."

"Utopus Insights will combine an established team of experts in energy analytics and optimization, software engineering and deep utility knowledge to offer new insights, tools and customer savings to grid customers," the executive added.

The new venture will launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Earlier this month, IBM announced a new partnership with Northern Trust to develop blockchain technologies suitable for use in the private equity funds market.

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