With a $100 million in R&D, energy data company C3 is serious about building a business model around analyzing data for utilities. So far C3 has run a smart grid data analytics project for PG&E that involved a lot of commercial and industrial building data.
C3 was founded by Tom Siebel, which built the dominant CRM provider, Siebel CRM Systems, through 2002 before being acquired by Oracle for $5.8 billion in 2005. Much of the success of Siebel Systems came from the fact that its CRM became easy to integrate for its customers, a quality that will become critical on the smart grid mainly because utilities are so IT illiterate.
Siebel Systems competed against companies like Oracle and SAP before being acquired and not surprisingly the same companies like SAP remain intent on getting a cut of the smart grid analytics market. There’s a tremendous amount of data warehousing and analysis that will be necessary to manage smart grid data and to wring efficiencies from that data.
Grid analytics remains a growing sector and it’s clear there’s a market share grab that will occur over the next 2-4 years.