Recap – Microsoft Worldwide Power & Utilities Group Hosts CIM Users Group Meeting


Following up on a previous blog, Microsoft’s Worldwide Utilities Group hosted a meeting of the Electric Utilities Common Information Model (CIM) Users’ Group December 15-18 in the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond. CIM is key for the electric utilities industry because it help define the schema for SQL repositories, the content of integration messages for BizTalk, and would be the basis for OSLO usage in utilities.

We were enthused by the turnout as 87 people representing modeling practitioners, application developers, modeling tool providers, utility customers, Microsoft product group, and CIM UG Working Group leaders attended the session.  The goal of hosting the meeting was to demonstrate Microsoft’s firm commitment to CIM as a Utility Industry Standard.  The meeting was extremely productive despite the foot of snow that blanketed the Redmond campus Wednesday night and Thursday.


Figure 1 - CIM Users Group Web Site for the Redmond Meeting at Microsoft


The Meeting

Monday kicked of the meeting with a full day of training around the CIM:  what it is, how to use it, how mature is the standard, etc.  Almost 50 people showed for this initial day, representing a significant increase in interest in the CIM in the industry.  The initial training was a history of the CIM from its inception in 1992, how the standard has evolved, and some examples of current usage.

Day 2 was kicked off by Microsoft’s Worldwide Utility Group Manager Jon Arnold giving the keynote, followed by a collection of customer testimonials around usage of the CIM in actual deployments.  Monday and Tuesday were both finished by completely packed tours of both the Microsoft Home of the Future and the Center for the Information Worker.  The tours sparked tremendous interest.  We had two more sessions planned for Thursday, but they were cancelled due to the snow!

Day 3 consisted of Breakout Sessions for the 5 CIM Users Group Working Groups.  These Groups included Enterprise Application Integration, CIM Tools, Model Exchange and Naming, Interop/Validation/Compliance, and Process & Marketing.  The day ended with a vendor demonstration fair and hospitality event where attendees were able to network as well as receive demonstrations of CIM tools. 

Day 4 consisted of significant snow discussion, Working Group Reports, and passing of the CIM Model Administration role from Kendall Demaree of Areva to Kurt Hunter of Siemens. Every year someone from Industry is identified to be the architectural and semantic authority for managing and administering the content of the CIM model.  This ensures referential integrity and that enhancements to the information model make sense across all CIM users for power system equipment.


Figure 2 CIM UG General Session, Snow Hammers the Campus, and Kendal Demaree of Areva Passing the Crown to the next CIM Model sheppard Kurt Hunter of Siemens

Future blog entries will discuss more about the CIM and its increasing role in the utility industry.

- Larry Cochrane, Worldwide Power & Utilities Industry Technology Strategist/Architect