Microsoft Power & Utilities News



Jon High Res (2) Welcome to our October-November-December installment of Microsoft Power & Utilities News. Historically we have emailed this newsletter directly to our customers and partners but with this edition we have decided to post it to our blog for better access and to raise the visibility of all the great work that our teams are doing!

I am pleased to highlight for you some of our most notable announcements since our last newsletter issue. First, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie recently outlined how Microsoft is using Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics to deliver the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry, and every geography. We announced several enhancements to our enterprise-grade hybrid cloud platform, including the new Azure G-series of virtual machines and Premium Storage; the general availability of the Microsoft Cloud Platform System, powered by Dell; partnerships with Cloudera Inc. and CoreOS; and a new Azure Marketplace. You can read more about this news here.

I hope you are as excited about Windows 10 as we are here. It’s an exciting first step for a whole new generation of Windows and Microsoft is kicking off its open collaborative development effort, its largest ever, to change the way Windows is built and delivered for our customers. You can join the Windows Insider Program so you can be part of every key moment along the way as we create Windows 10.

During October and November we had the opportunity to demonstrate our strategic relationship with many of our key partners. We were pleased to see so many of you at the Ventyx Energy Portfolio Management Customer Summit. We were a sponsor for this event, which served as a great venue to explore the challenges we face in the energy industry and discuss new ideas. Larry Cochrane, our Utilities Industry Technology Strategist & CTO at Microsoft, was a featured speaker on the agenda, talking about why so many CIOs in the Utility sector are considering the cloud. We also appreciated hearing some of the great best practices that businesses like yours are driving today, as well as the collaborative discussions we shared around the latest trends and insights for maximizing performance, profitability, safety and compliance. I’d like to thank Ventyx for hosting us all!                  

In the UK we had two significant events with our partners. First was the Panasonic Utilities Innovation Forum 2014 held at The Belfry, Warwickshire. Representatives from most of the leading utility companies in the UK were there to hear presenters on subjects ranging from the latest developments in the Panasonic ruggedized and semi-ruggedized devices, customer case studies, and industry presentations. We finished with a great presentation from Wired UK on the more extreme innovation going on today. Dave Sayers (Enterprise Device Sales Director, Microsoft UK) presented Microsoft’s view on mobility and devices both pan-industry and specifically within the Utilities industry. As part of the proceedings there was also a customer panel discussion and a 1:1 “speed dating” session where attendees could speak with representatives from Microsoft and other supporting partners. During the day Panasonic ran interactive surveys, with the audience voting using Toughpads provided on the tables, with the results coming up immediately to allow further discussion. Amongst the more interesting questions asked was “Which operating system do you think is the right one for mobile solutions in the utility industry?” We were pleased to see that more than 85% voted for Windows.

Second was with our partner Bentley Systems for their Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference. This is a global gathering of leading figures in the world of infrastructure design, construction, and operations. The Microsoft team supported Bentley in a number of presentations and discussions including my keynote presentation in the Utility Keynote and the presentation by David Epp from our Developer Experience and Evangelism group in the Asset Management track. At this event Bentley unveiled its CONNECT Edition software environment which converges Bentley’s platform technology to support a hybrid environment across desktop modeling applications, cloud-services, on-premise servers, and mobile apps. The CONNECT Edition is based on our Azure cloud services to connect all users across projects. You can read more about this game-changing announcement here.

Microsoft and the Utilities team wrapped up November as a premier sponsor of OpenText’s Enterprise World 2014 Conference. The 16th annual Enterprise World features leading experts and thought-leaders who can help organizations transform for the Digital-First World through the strategic adoption of Enterprise Information Management solutions. I spoke during the Utility keynote and the Microsoft team had a significant presence throughout the conference. During the conference OpenText announced the availability of OpenText Application Governance & Archiving (AGA) 10.7 for Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft SharePoint Services. This solution enables customers to move from on-premises instances of Microsoft SharePoint to Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud, while maintaining core information governance and compliance processes, and integrating content from other enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle EBS. You can read the full story here.

Last but not least, I invite you to join us on January 13, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time for a new webinar we are hosting calledThe Innovation Challenge: Creating the 21st Century Utility. In this webinar we will explore how Power & Utility companies are reimagining themselves for the digital age through the adoption of new and exciting strategies for transforming the way their people work and the way they do business. We will explore how Utilities are reimagining themselves from a megatrend perspective covering the IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Social in order to survive in this era of deep and accelerating rate of change.

As you can see it has been a VERY busy past couple of months for the Power & Utilities team and there’s even more news below. I hope you enjoy this issue of Microsoft Power & Utilities News and May the Cloud be with You! – Jon C. Arnold

 Microsoft News

Microsoft announces major update to Azure SQL Database, adds free tier to Azure Machine Learning: At the recent Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit, we celebrated SQL Server 2014’s strong momentum and introduced new services that further expand Microsoft’s big data platform. We announced a major update coming to our database-as-a-service, Azure SQL Database, and easier access to our machine learning service, Azure Machine Learning.

Microsoft and Dropbox announce strategic partnership to give people more freedom in how they work: Dropbox and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership to help people work more effectively. The two companies are teaming up to integrate their services for collaboration across Dropbox and Microsoft Office on phones, tablets and the Web.

IBM and Microsoft to offer greater choice in the hybrid cloud: IBM and Microsoft recently announced that they are working together to provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. As adoption of hybrid cloud computing accelerates, this relationship will give clients, partners and developers more choice in the cloud, helping them drive new business opportunities, spur innovation and reduce costs.

Skype for Business: We are also working to reinvent productivity for our business customers by bringing together the familiar experience of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance, and control from Lync to create the most trusted communications platform for collaboration: Skype for Business. In the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365.

Customer News

Office 365 inspires Activity Based Working down under at AGL Australia: AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies and largest operator and developer of renewable energy generation in the country. AGL wanted to improve collaboration and create a new work environment. AGL used our cloud based Office 365, Yammer and the unified communications platform Lync to support a series of flexible workspaces that employees seamlessly move between. AGL calls this new work style “Activity-Based Working.”

Internet of Things: Learnings from ThyssenKrupp Elevator. By now you probably have heard about the “Internet of Things” and its potential to change how we live, play and work. Granted, it has become the most hyped buzz word replacing the Smart Grid and Big Data in my view. . . IoT is one of the most frequent questions I get from partners and customers as they are all looking for use cases and real life examples of how IoT is making an impact in real life. I think one of the best examples that I have seen comes from ThyssenKrupp Elevator, who teamed up with Microsoft and CGI to create ‘smart’ elevators using the Internet of Things (IoT).

Dutch water company Evides benefits from the OpenText and Microsoft Alliance: As a productivity and platform company a key part of our strategy is working with and investing in our partners to deliver enterprise solutions that extend our core capabilities to deliver value to our customers. A great example of this in practice comes from Evides Waterbedrijf (Evides), a Dutch water company headquartered in Rotterdam, serving 2.5 million people and businesses in The Netherlands.

Kayseri ve Civarı Elektrik T.A.Ş.: Electricity Distribution Company Uses CRM Solution to Offer Better Services to Their Subscribers: After implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM all customer requests coming through phone, fax, e-mail, or individual applications, can be followed up in a single application by employees of KCETAS.

Partner News

Digital News and Trends … Delivered Digitally: Accenture has just launched Accenture Digital Connect, a unique digital magazine hosted via the Flipboard app. Curated each month by Accenture and Avanade, this magazine brings the best of industry and original ideas, trends and thought leadership that are relevant to Microsoft in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This first issue is all about how enterprises are transforming and adapting to the continuously evolving digital trends. This includes development of new ways to collaborate better, creation of new mobile and social platforms to reach out to consumers more efficiently, and progress towards innovative approaches to data analytics to better understand consumer behavior and needs.

New Capital Project Services Office (CPSO) Toolkit Available: As much as US$48 trillion in future spending is expected across all of the resources industries, but many companies still find it challenging to deliver projects safely, on time, within budget and in line with original assumptions. Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft have collaborated to develop an integrated Portfolio and Project Management solution -- the Capital Project Services Office Toolkit. Using Microsoft Project Server, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Azure, the toolkit seeks to address the need for increased real-time visibility into project status and overall portfolio health. Learn more: The CPSO Toolkit - Power of Three Brochure provides a comprehensive overview of the new CPSO Toolkit asset

The CPSO Toolkit - A P03 Solution video is a 2.5 minute general description of the CPSO Toolkit and how Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft collaborated to create it.

Build Smart Mapping Apps for Windows Desktop, Windows Store, and Windows Phone: Esri recently announced the release of its first commercial version of ArcGIS Runtime SDK for the Microsoft .NET Framework. This software development kit (SDK) joins Esri's impressive line of Runtime products, including iOS, Mac OS X, Android, Java, Qt, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET has been built as a new, shared API across native app platforms promoted by Microsoft.

OpenText Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management: Microsoft Alliance Partner OpenText recently announced that it has been positioned as a leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management1 report. Recently published by one of the leading worldwide research and advisory firms, Gartner, Inc., the report evaluates 22 vendors that address a range of user constituencies and business requirements in its annual Magic Quadrant for ECM.

Industry News

Big Data Analytics for Utilities: In the next five years, enterprise data is expected to increase by more than 650%–and the vast majority of this data will be unstructured.[4] These statistics suggest that even if corporations and utilities are currently able to manage their data initiatives through traditional tools, their methodology will likely need to evolve to enforce order and reap value from this chaotic data flow.

Gartner Says 4.9 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use in 2015: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a powerful force for business transformation, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society.

Industry Events

The Innovation Challenge: Creating the 21st Century Utility: January 13, 2015, 9:00 AM, Pacific time, webinar. In this Microsoft webcast you will hear about how Power & Utility companies are reimagining themselves for the digital age through the adoption of new and exciting strategies for transforming the way their people work and the way they do business. We will explore how Utilities are reimagining themselves from a megatrend perspective covering the IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Social in order to survive in this era of deep and accelerating rate of change.

Microsoft at DistribuTECH: February 3–5, 2015, San Diego, California. DistribuTECH is the utility industry's leading smart grid conference and exposition, covering automation and control systems, energy efficiency, demand response, renewable energy integration, advanced metering, T&D system operation and reliability, power delivery equipment and water utility technology. More details about the Microsoft presence at the event will be shared as they become available. We look forward to connecting with you at DistribuTECH!

Microsoft at HANNOVER MESSE: April 13–17, 2015, Hannover Exhibition Ground, Hannover, Germany. From April 13–17, the exhibitors at HANNOVER MESSE will showcase new products along the entire industrial value chain. The world‘s leading show for industrial technology highlights innovations and groundbreaking solutions in all the core sectors – i.e. industrial automation and IT, energy and environmental technology, industrial supply, production engineering and services, as well as research and development.

On-demand webinar: Intelligent Buildings, Predictive Analytics, Fault Detection & Diagnostics: The Essentials to Achieving Energy Efficiency: Access the on-demand webcast where OSIsoft and Microsoft demonstrated how to obtain increased energy efficiency from Intelligent Buildings through state of the art analytics and fault detection.

OSIsoft Regional Seminars: OSIsoft hosts a variety of annual conferences that are tailored to a number of different types of PI System users. Administrators, engineers, managers and executives alike will benefit from OSIsoft’s value-focused agenda and the unique opportunity to network with other PI System users. Go here to find an event in your region.