Smart Meter In Utilities – The Lighthouse For Smart Computing

Some days ago at Forrester’s IT Forum in Lisbon (June 9-11) I gave a presentation together with my colleague Andy Bartels on the IT market recovery (we predict a 9.3% IT market growth in 2010) after two economically challenging years in 2008/9. In fact, we were making the point that the market rebound we currently see is not simply a recovery but the beginning of a new IT hyper growth phase fueled by a new wave of innovation.

A strong driver of this innovation is what we call Smart Computing at Forrester: the integration of physical world information into intelligent IT-supported business processes in 4 steps: Awareness (via new sensor technology), Analysis (with advanced BI solutions), Alternatives (including rules and process engines) and Action (in industry business applications), plus a 5th feedback loop of Auditability for tracking and learning.

A well-known example of smart computing solutions is smart metering in the Utilities industry. In another presentation in Lisbon, a colleague asked the audience, a room full with all the leading IT service companies, who all had an initiative running with smart metering – everyone in the room raised their hands. Then he asked who actually had more than 1-3 (pilot) projects running – and almost no one raised their hand.

Is smart metering just hype that everyone is jumping on or what is the reality of the lighthouse example of smart computing at this point in time?

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Hacking The Building Information Management And Vehicle Communication Systems

In the past week or so, I have seen many interesting articles about vulnerabilities in control systems. Just last week I came across one about security issues in the Cisco Network Building Mediator, a product from Cisco’s acquisition of Richards-Zeta. There was another interesting piece about exploiting vulnerabilities in the modern automobile networks.

Cisco issued a warning that its Network Building Mediator products have multiple vulnerabilities. It’s expected that other products from Richards-Zeta may have security flaws as well. According to the Dark Reading article:

“Cisco warned users of its Network Building Mediator products to patch the vulnerabilities, which could allow access to obtain administrative passwords and read system configuration files, making it possible for hackers to take control of a building's most critical control systems.”

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