Cap Gemini, Intel to Develop Household Energy-Management Tablet
Cap Gemini SA and Intel Corp. will offer a home energy-management system to consumers and utilities as the French and U.S. partners seek to beat rivals onto the market for power-saving upgrades to electric grids.
Cap Gemini, Europe’s largest computer-services company, and Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, will cooperate on a tablet-style computer that will let customers adjust appliances’ power use, Steven Harris, Cap Gemini’s head of smart home services, said in a phone interview. Later versions may include a smartphone application or may allow the device to be used as a data source for utilities looking to allocate electricity.
Computer-services and hardware companies are racing to expand power-management offerings as utilities spend as much as $46 billion building so-called smart grids by 2015, according to ABI Research. Atos Origin SA, France’s second-largest computer- service provider, said in March 2010 that it would form a new division devoted to the energy industry.
For Intel, “energy is a big part of our project to extend the fringe of computing out to the next thing,” Joe Jensen, general manager for low-power embedded processors at the Santa Clara, California-based company, said on the call with Harris. Intel is also targeting service-station fuel pumps, exercise equipment and advertising signs as part of a push into what Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini has estimated is a $10 billion market for non-computer chips.
Cap Gemini will soon face a stronger local rival in Atos, which is scheduled this year to complete a merger with Siemens AG’s computer-services unit to leapfrog the Paris-based company as the No. 1 computer-services provider in Europe. Cap Gemini and Intel also face competition in the home-energy market from Google Inc., which is partnering with utilities including India’s Reliance Energy to expand its PowerMeter service.
Without hardware offerings like those being developed with Intel, Cap Gemini would have to limit its ambitions in the sector rather than offering a full-service smart-grid practice, Harris said in the Jan. 27 interview from London.
“Our remit is to go and grow rapidly in the energy sector, and that wouldn’t be possible with only a consulting and services operation,” Harris said.
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