Are Walled Gardens and Vendor Lock-In Strategies old business?
Our power grids are the largest remaining artifact of the Industrial Age, and they’re due for a smart upgrade. Using broadband data streams, digital sensors and advanced analytics, demand can be understood in real time. Utilities can source and manage power more intelligently, helping to bring renewable sources onto the grid. And consumers could understand the variable cost of power and alter their behavior accordingly. A smarter utility network could also handle the growing demand for hybrid and electric cars. Today’s utility grid would struggle to manage this burden.
How in the world will this happen without open standards? Is IBM an indicator of this massive shift from proprietary technologies to open standards? In a single press release IBM announced plans to increase the publication of its technical innovations by 50% (>3000) foregoing the need for seeking patents. This, from a company that has just completed their 16th consecutive year leading all companies in patents with 4186 awarded in 2008.
Meanwhile, Cisco looks to manage connected devices using proprietary technology locked in their routers. It’s a good approach that continues the silo trend in building energy management, but this will not work for the home. Why not leverage their commitment to the IPSO Alliance keeping the management of devices open and IP-oriented?
Today, we are on such a precipice of change that large corporations are forced to hedge their bets on open technology and proprietary solutions. If you are their customer, at what point will you want to be free of mandatory service contracts and proprietary hardware?