Smart Grid Infrastructure (SGiX) is an alliance of professionals working together to accelerate the deployment of viable Smart Grid 2.0 systems within our electricity, gas and water infrastructures. We are in the content creation business.
The “iX” in our name is commonly used to denote “Infrastructure”.
Our electricity, gas and water infrastructures are critical, capital-intensive systems. They are aging, and being replaced, upgraded and automated. Automation reduces operating costs, increases reliability, conserves non-sustainable resources, and achieves increased asset utilization. An automated infrastructure is commonly referred to as a “Smart Grid.”
Business cases related to infrastructure markets must take account of some unique characteristics of these types of markets. These unique characteristics are presented here, and are included in our business case template.
The Situation Does Not Give Cause for Optimism
Today, the electric sector is the furthest advanced in developing and deploying a Smart Grid (Smart Grid 1.0). Substantial amounts of capital have been expended on this effort over the past 15 years. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on developing a Smart Grid knowledge base of analyses, software simulations, and test data from technology demonstrations. Hundreds, if not thousands, of detailed reports have been published. As a result, experts have emerged in all aspects of the Smart Grid. Operating information related to the early deployments of Smart Grid systems continues to be amassed and analyzed.
Unfortunately, electric Smart Grid deployments have not been resounding successes to date in terms of delivering promised benefits. Why? It’s because the business cases to support these deployments have been poor -- driven by unrealistic expectations about technology readiness, customer acceptance, utility sales cycles, and the pace of regulatory change, and a failure to differentiate between enabling infrastructure investments (Smart Grid 1.0) and investments that add intelligence to the infrastructure (Smart Grid 2.0).
As a result, we now have the makings of a market crisis: investors have been disappointed; enthusiasm is at an all-time low; stakeholder resistance has intensified, and market momentum has turned sluggish.
Our Approach Addresses the Problem in a Unique Way
SGiX sees this impending crisis as an opportunity to get the job done right. It coincides in time with the migration of the business environment to the Web 2.0 tools used to date mostly in consumer-oriented social networking — a shift that is transforming traditional business models because of the ability of Web 2.0 platforms and tools to harness the collective intelligence of professionals worldwide.
SGiX carries out its mission by using this new paradigm to create a convergence: we bring together the abundance of scattered experts and accumulated information related to the Smart Grid to develop realistic Smart Grid 2.0 business models. This self-regulated, collaborative community uses the SGiX platform to resolve the questions, challenges and issues that are currently impeding deployment of viable Smart Grid systems. In short, SGiX integrates people, information and tools.
We focus on the human side, facilitating professional-to-professional (P2P) engagement: people connecting, interacting, learning, creating, working, reviewing, and voting. Teams of professionals self-select to address various challenges. This collaborative, online, problem-solving approach has been proven to shorten cycle time, increase productivity and be far more cost-effective than traditional approaches.
SGiX further enhances the process through working agreements with business allies and affinity groups whose goals are aligned with ours. Individual members, businesses and organizations also benefit from the opportunity to highlight their participation through online profiles and personal career brand-building. We are always interested in hearing from, and working with, groups whose objectives are complementary to our own.
Our Long-Term Vision
The emergence of the Smart Grid is inevitable.
The challenge is to set realistic expectations of its rate of uptake -- its natural sales cycle, policy support development and the evolution of consumer acceptance. Its evolution from Smart Grid 1.0's enabling infrastructure (iX) to value-added "smart" applications that overlay this iX (Smart Grid 2.0). The goal of SGiX is to facilitate Smart Grid adoption, recognizing that this can be accomplished only by removing the barriers over which we have influence.
We seek to create a sustainable, virtual “Smart Grid nation” of professionals who see it as a superlative opportunity to make a professionally beneficial and societal contribution by supporting the deployment of authentic infrastructure automation.
Our objective for SGiX is to develop a culture whereby members feel an ownership of their virtual space. In pursuit of this culture, we have plans to offer incentives to members contributing to SGiX's mission -- incentives that could provide long-term crystallization opportunities when SGiX reaches critical mass.
Our Business Goal
We believe that when we develop and engage a community that creates quality information, analysis, tools and conclusions, we will have created business value.
In that sense, we are creating value-added information in an information exchange – and, as part of this exchange, assembling a set of experts voluntarily exchanging their knowledge and time.
To sustain SGiX’s operations, we believe that this information exchange and value-added information content creation has the potential to be monetized in the future in a way that is affordable, and does not bias our mission. Since we support the idea of viable (Smart Grid 2.0) business cases, it seems consistent to want to build SGiX as a self-sustaining, value-creating business too (!).
Our Operating Philosophy
We strive for objectivity. We believe that professionals can legitimately disagree -- objectivity as seen in the eye of the beholder. However, we expect stakeholder positions should be justified, and not simply asserted. We encourage all stakeholders to deal honestly with each other.
There is no “right answer” to individual business cases. Location- and situation-specific factors can often greatly affect the value of the case. We expect that some interested parties will want to localize our publicly completed work within their organizations in private projects, or move to private on-line work-places with selected participants and under non-disclosure conditions, preserving the confidentiality of their ultimate business case.
We consider justified minority positions to be valuable in understanding the risks of business cases. Therefore, we are comfortable representing them as part of the output of SGiX.
In our public site, all information is designated open-source, for non-commercial (i.e., not for re-sale) use by the Smart Grid community. To be specific: (1) SGiX owns its web-site but offers for free all of its content, including its public archives, subject to simple attribution/accreditation of SGiX as being the facilitating source; (2) all site images are copyright, unless otherwise noted; (3) information created by the community is not owned solely by SGiX – it is made available free to the public under an open source, non-commercial license, i.e., it is community property; and (4) from time to time, SGiX may host private work-spaces, underwritten by entities interested in non-public development of business cases specific to their needs – the activities, information and products of these projects will be the property of the entities underwriting these private projects.
To be clear: our open-source license prohibits the use of information from the SGiX site being re-sold.
Information exchange between members on the SGiX site is deemed to be “at-will”.
We will post on-site public acknowledge for individuals or corporations that contribute unpublished information to our community, or citations to relevant information that we or the community have not uncovered. We would appreciate reciprocity in this matter, i.e., acknowledgment of SGiX as the source of information in situations where our information is provided by any visitor or member to others.
We pledge not to contact any visitor or member for sales or marketing purposes. RSS and e-mail subscriptions on the site solely “opt-in”. We will not share our mailing lists with anyone.
We will moderate submissions, to the extent that seems reasonable, to eliminate marketing or sales pitches.
We have instituted very strong, proven “spam” protections, and will do our utmost to prevent spam of any sort arriving at our site.