We continue to get the question, what is Microsoft doing about enabling the Smart Grid. The short answer is “A lot.”

The more meaningful answer is that we are working with a number of partners in several engagements to enable several different pieces of the Smart Grid. It’s nearly impossible to roll them up in one place so thankfully this blog can serve as a place to roll them out as they come out on their own.

Today’s lesson in our involvement comes from EMC Consulting’s Julian Harris who reports in his blog on their work with our technologies to create a customer-focused smart metering program. Harris discusses the type of touch-based relationship they are trying to engender with users, and then the Microsoft technologies that are used to create this relationship, like Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows 7 and Silverlight, for the Web counterpart.

Our key calling card for all these Smart Grid/Smart Meter projects is flexibility. As Harris says:

So, as an energy and utility company the opportunity exists to evolve the consumer relationship and to embrace the technology as other customer-centric brands with national coverage become interested in the space. Embracing change in energy consumers’ behaviour is also key; as desires and expectations are changing, so rewards for energy efficiency and eco-awareness materialise.

The Smart Grid and utilities’ interactions with customers will evolve over time. The key is to have an architecture and plan in place for creating the flexibility that will respond to changes as they arise. – Jon Arnold