Microsoft Launches Software Architecture for 'Integrated Utility of the Future'

Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:00am EDT

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Utility industry takes significant step in smart grid development.

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 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

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

For utility industry-specific information: 
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SOURCE  Microsoft Corp.

Wendy Grover of Microsoft Corp., +1-425-705-7609,
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