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Examples and Case Studies

Utility computing is already rolling out in a number of diverse application areas. Let's consider some examples.

  • A Canadian power company is saving about $500,000 a year using laptops and PDAs, with some third-party mobile applications, for its 400 field workers. The goal of this mobile computing project at Hydro One Networks in Toronto is to switch from error-prone paper trails to fast, accurate digital data paths. The results are savings in paper processing costs and much more accurate maintenance data.

  • Men's clothing retailer Ahlers set up a self-service web site through which its retailers can quickly get product information and track orders.

  • Holiday gift specialist Harry and David installed large IBM mainframes, UNIX servers, and Intel servers to deal with an annual traffic surge before the gift-giving season. About 65% of annual sales take place between mid–November and late December; they pay the highest costs during that time period and not before—an example of "pay as you go."

  • Russian transportation company Mostransagentstvo built a new system that lets customers make travel reservations immediately.

  • Swets Information Services is an outsourcing and facilitating partner for the acquisition, access, and management of scholarly, business, and professional information. They provide links between 60,000 providers and 65,000 librarians, purchasers, and end users. Swets Blackwell set up a new online system to let customers see immediate responses to searches for information in library collections of periodicals.

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