Our phones have been ringing ringing off the hook with utilities interested in learning more about the press release we put out yesterday announcing our release of the Microsoft Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA), a 130 page document that is intended to help utilities understand how Microsoft technologies address their implementation of the smart energy ecosystem.  image

We’ve previously talked in this blog about how utilities will need to integrate every operation of their enterprise and we’ve been working hard to spell out the nuts and bolts of that need, as well as the technologies they could deploy in that effort. But, we admit, our musings have been coming in bits and pieces. It was high time we rolled them all up in one place.

The Microsoft SERA is our comprehensive view providing our partners and power and utilities customers the details of how the Integrated Utility of the Future could work. It identifies an architecture the utilities could use to build a solid foundation and validate the steps that utilities take in developing their own smart energy infrastructure.

We realize that every utility is different, not only in their unique business models, but also in the design, hardware and software of their information technology systems as well as the regulatory models that oversee their business In fact, we’d be willing to venture that nearly every utility has, in one shape or form, it’s own Smart Grid working group that’s hashing out their company’s vision of capabilities and investments needed to implement a smarter grid and workflow.

The Microsoft SERA is intended specifically for these groups. We hope they see SERA as required reading as it offers a specific vision to utilities, providing them with a method of testing the alignment of information technology with their business processes to create an integrated utility.

We are aware that utilities worldwide are discussing such projects, as governments around the world show interest in funding national smart grid stimulus programs. To qualify for these programs, utilities will need to demonstrate that they have a sound, tested technology plan that will help them implement such smart energy systems. It’s our hope that, by learning more about Microsoft and industry partners’ technologies through our Smart Energy Reference Architectures, utilities will be able to implement solutions faster and more reliably than they could with other solutions that aren’t as well integrated or adaptable to utilities' particular needs. As we’ve said before, Microsoft technology is in place in some form at nearly every utility company around the world.  It is only natural then that utilities might have interest in maximizing those investments, and ensure that they integrate with their other in-place technologies.

We’ll definitely be writing more about SERA in coming days and weeks, but in the meantime, we’d like to hear from those Smart Grid working groups out there. Take a look at the document and provide us your feedback. This is a living document, particularly where standards and common interfaces are discussed. We’d like to learn more about your view on these matters, to make this document as complete as possible. And if you want a presentation on the SERA, we’d be happy to offer that too. In the meantime, please enjoy this first cut at a complete vision for what the smart energy information technology systems of the future will look like. Let the discussions begin! – Larry Cochrane, Senior Technology Strategist, Microsoft Worldwide Utilities