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Welcome to IBM Smart Energy Project

The Smart Energy Project is a joint endeavor from Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University and University of Hertfordshire, UK. The project team will jointly study the impact of residential micro-generation systems (such as solar-powered technologies, ground/air source heat pumps, solar water heating and electricity and micro turbines) on the public’s understanding and adoption of green initiatives and technologies. The Texas Tech MBA team will study the market behavior in the US and the University of Hertfordshire MBA team will study the UK market.

IBM – Smart Grid

Power generation and distribution is becoming a increasingly important process, one that requires access to vast quantities of data and computational power. Energy security has now become one of the most important global challenges. The increasing move towards non-renewable energy generation is applauded by all groups, environmentalists, economists, and world statesman, but this transition over to renewable resource power generation is not a short-term strategy, most economies/countries will still depend on fossil fuels and the nuclear-powered power generation systems for decades to come. Utility networks around the global are moving towards more intelligent systems, that allow them to optimize energy generation and distribution.

Business Challenge

IBM are providing the tools to help utilities manage their resources, by managing future electricity load charging systems, overnight charging of electric cars, with the energy output of these new renewable resources like wave power, wind and biomass. There are many areas of the generation to distribution systems that are being targeted for more intelligent systems of management, from optimization of power generators, through to the prediction of preventive maintenance schedules.

IBM needs to better understand the consumers’, as well as suppliers’, level of awareness towards energy efficiency in order to be able to provide them with technologies that can change their consumption attitudes and behaviors. They must be able to identify the motivations which will encourage them to adopt energy efficient solutions.

In order to achieve this, the project team will first identify the consumers’ perceptions regarding the future scarcity of energy supply. In addition, the team will recognize the drivers and barriers of smart energy acceptance among consumers. The Team will then communicate with suppliers in order to better understand their behaviors towards smart energy. Next, the project team will identify how energy suppliers and consumers can benefit from IBM’s emerging technology on smart energy. Finally, the team will determine the market opportunities for IBM

The Project

The US and the UK project team will:
  • Identify the process by which consumers in the UK and the US find out about energy-saving initiatives and how they evaluate the costs and benefits of micro-generation systems for their homes.

  • Undertake consumer survey to evaluate the awareness, understanding, values, attitudes and behaviours towards purchasing micro-generation systems.  This would include a series of interviews with the suppliers of micro-generation systems.

  • Make recommendations to the existing processes to drive up future demand for micro-generation systems.

Each team will deliver a report that will combine together the findings from Texas and London research studies for each of the topics above.  A presentation will then be given to an audience of IBM managers at either the Texas or London Offices.