Microsoft Launches Software Architecture for “Integrated Utility of the Future”

Microsoft Corp. today announced it has developed
a reference architecture based on familiar, cost-effective Microsoft
platforms that can serve as the basis for development of the
“integrated utility of the future.”

The
Microsoft Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) is Microsoft’s
first comprehensive reference architecture that addresses technology
integration throughout the full scope of the smart energy ecosystem.
The Microsoft SERA helps utilities by providing a method of testing the
alignment of information technology with their business processes to
create an integrated utility. This is the second utility offering to be
released from Microsoft in four months, following the announcement of
Microsoft Hohm, an online application developed to enhance the
experience of utilities’ customers and provide further insight into the
supply and demand of residential energy use.

As
utilities attempt to develop new projects that are funded by national
smart grid stimulus programs, they will need sound, tested technologies
that help them proceed. Using Microsoft and industry partners’
technologies, utilities will be able to implement solutions faster and
more reliably than they could with solutions offered by competitors.

The
Microsoft SERA has been endorsed by a number of global solutions
providers whose energy industry solutions span the entire energy
ecosystem — from the power grid to the home. Microsoft Gold Certified
Partners supporting SERA include Accenture, Alstom Power, AREVA, ESRI,
Itron Inc. and OSIsoft Inc.

Significantly,
Microsoft has been working closely with key power industry partners to
ensure that SERA addresses power utilities’ IT infrastructure needs.
Alstom Power, for example, has demonstrated its commitment to Microsoft
by fully embracing SERA and sees this move as the first step in
providing solutions for the new challenge raised by smart grids.

“Alstom
has established a long-term relationship with Microsoft in order to
provide cost-efficient, scalable architectures for electrical producers
like solar, hydro, wind, coal, steam or nuclear power plants,” said
Laurent Demortier, senior vice president of Alstom Power’s Energy
Management Business. “This Microsoft reference architecture accelerates
solution development to enable developers to provide enhanced, more
cost-effective, secure and scalable solutions.”

Customers
such as Fujairah F2 O&M Company Ltd. are seeing the benefits of
solutions built according to an architecture that provides the
alignment of IT with their business processes. “Developing a quality
ALSPA Series DCS system for such a large and complex plant like ours is
not that easy, and the Alstom team has responded to that great
challenge in an exceptional manner,” said Soloman Premline Prince,
production manager, Fujairah F2 O&M Company.

“Utility
industry executives who are concerned about changing their business
models to ones that enable a smarter energy ecosystem will view
Microsoft as a partner of choice because of its current strengths
within their technology regimes as well as our solutions’ adaptability
to future, sometimes unknown, conditions and business environment
needs,” said Larry Cochrane, Worldwide Utilities Industry technology
strategist/architect, Microsoft. “The Microsoft Smart Energy Reference
Architecture represents our continuing commitment to our utility
industry customers and our holistic vision of how the smart grid fits
into the much larger energy ecosystem that’s evolving daily.”

The
Microsoft SERA for the smart energy ecosystem will help create a world
where thousands of smart devices can seamlessly plug into the grid
thanks to common standards and interoperability frameworks, just as the
plug-and-play model allows thousands of devices to seamlessly plug into
PCs today.

Consequently, utility industry
systems integrators such as Accenture are leading proponents of the
Microsoft SERA for smart grids.

“Microsoft’s
reference architecture provides an end-to-end solution that can
position utilities to take operational performance and customer
response to a higher level,” said Greg Guthridge, utilities customer
service practice lead at Accenture. “Their integrated architecture
leverages proven Microsoft platforms to support new smart processes and
customer support capabilities. Innovative solutions, especially in the
area of visualization and analytics, support important new capabilities
in a smart-enabled energy services organization.”

As a result, the grid and
the broader energy ecosystem can achieve the vision of becoming smarter
as companies inject Microsoft and industry partners’ software into the
various control points in the power system, so that households and
businesses have ready access to timely, user-friendly information that
eventually can help them make more rational choices about their energy
use.

The Microsoft SERA provides a road map
for utilities to help identify and solve the integration issues facing
grid and energy ecosystem advancement. It also empowers users to drive
improvements in real time, as well as to accelerate continuous
improvement over time.

Founded in 1975,
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services
and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
potential.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here