IoT can shift ‘10% of UK energy demand’ | IBM’s IoT division


AUW 2015 Stephen Apps talking on internet of Things iotA British company is making its mark on the Internet of things (IoT) market by providing technology to aggregate energy consumption and manage demand.

Open Energi believes that 10% “of all UK demand can be quickly and predictably shifted without affecting business processes.”

“The UK’s smart energy grid is still in its infancy but I think we are on the brink of a very exciting period, which will see a transformation in how our energy system operates,” says David Hill, business development director at Open Energi, in an interview with

“The number of connected devices is set to soar over the next 10 to 15 years and this is creating a whole new value chain where energy users are empowered to take control of their demand and become active participants in the market, both taking and giving a service to the grid,” says Hill.

The company is already working with United Utilities, which is using Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand technology at three wastewater treatment plants.

“The company is now rolling out the programme across the whole north west region,” Hill reveals.

“By 2020, United Utilities expects to have around 50MW of flexible capacity to offer up to National Grid – the equivalent of a conventional peaking power station. This will reduce carbon emissions by around 100,000 tonnes per year and should generate income of around £5 million, which will be reinvested into site assets to reduce operating costs.”

The company retrofits energy intensive equipment, such as pumps and air conditioning units, effectively making ‘dumb’ devices ‘smart’. Data from a variety of sensors is analysed and acted on in real-time, with historical data to provide context and build consumption models.

As always, the issue of security is a consideration with any IoT implementation.

“Security is a major issue for smart energy systems as it is for all IoT enabled solutions and there is no silver bullet,” Hill says.

“Tackling these challenges is going to require collaboration across industries and requires a focus on security from day one so that systems are designed and built to maximise security safeguards and continually developed to ensure their resilience in the face of ever changing threats.”

IBM launches IoT division

Harriet Green
Harriet Green, former CEO of Thomas Cook Group. has been appointed to head up IBM’s newly created IoT business. Pic credit: Sunday

In other IoT news, IBM has officially created an Internet of Things (IoT) business unit, and appointed Harriet Green to the position of vice president and CEO.

Green, who previously headed up Thomas Cook Group, will eventually oversee more than 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers “that take advantage of IBM’s Watson, analytics, and cloud,” a release from the company announced.

IBM will be investing US$3 billion over the next four years in IoT.

Last year the computer company created a cloud service called IoT Foundations. The service allows two companies to “store and then share their data online in a secure environment,” according to Fortune.