GE Pushes Smart Grid Via 'If I Only Had A Brain' - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
1/23/2009
06:05 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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GE Pushes Smart Grid Via 'If I Only Had A Brain'

The current economic crisis has blurred memories of the fuel-price crisis, but now there's supposedly a low-energy-prices crisis that's heating up the alleged boiling-the-Earth crisis. To escape the vises of these crises we need an infusion of IT into the distribution and usage of energy, so GE's jumping into the smart-grid business with a Super Bowl ad featuring a dancing scarecrow singing, "If I Only Had A Brain."

The current economic crisis has blurred memories of the fuel-price crisis, but now there's supposedly a low-energy-prices crisis that's heating up the alleged boiling-the-Earth crisis. To escape the vises of these crises we need an infusion of IT into the distribution and usage of energy, so GE's jumping into the smart-grid business with a Super Bowl ad featuring a dancing scarecrow singing, "If I Only Had A Brain."GE's Beb site says the company has a set of tools that can "enable grid intelligence processes" by "converting data into knowledge that decision makers use to drive greater productivity and profitability." Hmmm -- sounds like some mainstream BI or ERP talk. Either way, the point is that forward-looking CIOs can seize huge opportunities by getting out in front of how their companies evaluate, source, measure, adjust, and pay for their energy usage.

Not surprisingly, IBM is ready to make some moves in this burgeoning field, as per this quotation from an IBM exec on the Seeking Alpha Web site:

"I'm more convinced than ever that it's just about to happen," said Drew Clark of IBM's Venture Capital Group in an interview today. "Clean tech may be the only category [of venture investing] that is left relatively unscathed and [VCs] are looking to put new money into traditional IT-type of companies and smart grid is exactly that."

The Wall Street Journal reported that GE will pay $100,000 per second for the half-minute Super Bowl spot featuring the resilient Scarecrow, whose original song promises to "answer any riddle//for any individdle//in trouble or in pain." And given the many slices of crises we're all dealing with these days, that Scarecrow will likely have lots of takers looking for answers.

Here's my own riddle: Anybody out there doing some cool new things with smart-grid technology, on either the customer or supplier side?

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