Microsoft and OSIsoft Releases Finds of Utility Industry Survey
The Microsoft and OSIsoft Worldwide Utility Industry Survey 2012, released today shows a 25 percent increase over last year in the number of utilities companies that have implemented smart-grid technology. The survey also shows that 28 percent of companies surveyed are in the planning phase, but 24 percent still have not started adopting any smart-grid technology. However, 63 percent of participants expect their budgets for these technologies to increase over the next two or three years.
The survey, which was a collaboration between Microsoft Corp. and OSIsoft LLC, polled 216 professionals within electric, gas and water utility industries around the world and highlights the challenges utilities face as they move from planning to actual smart-grid implementation. Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said technical issues kept them from moving forward, which was a larger group than in last year's survey.
"This year's survey shows that more and more utilities companies are adding new devices to the grid and incorporating new data sets into their operational capabilities," said Jon C. Arnold, managing director for the Worldwide Power and Utilities Industry at Microsoft and a member of the Smart Grid Advisory Committee to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "However, many of these same organizations are encountering significant interoperability and integration challenges. Leveraging technology and architectures that are adaptable removes many of the technology risks. Fortunately, the Microsoft Smart Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) provides an infrastructure that protects current technology investments while enabling the implementation of forward-thinking smart-grid solutions."
The survey indicated that 72 percent of respondents do not have an enterprisewide scalable architecture in place to support current and future smart-grid deployments. SERA provides a detailed framework for existing technologies that will enable bidirectional power and information flows around the grid, with particular attention to standards, interoperability and reduced costs. SERA also provides the first conceptual framework for adding cloud services to the development of the smart-energy ecosystem.
Business Intelligence Helps Realize Vision of Smart Grid
Smart-grid technologies provide access to large amounts of smart data, which can inundate organizational systems. When asked how they are addressing the big data challenge to the smart grid, nearly one quarter of surveyed companies referenced the importance of business intelligence solutions. Business intelligence tools and systems are critical to managing and analyzing large amounts of data, which in turn enables companies to make smarter and more proactive business decisions based on actionable information.
OSIsoft's PI System, an enterprise infrastructure designed for Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Microsoft SQL Server, Power View, PowerPivot, Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Office 2010, offers a familiar and easy-to-use interface that allows users to access and manipulate real-time data and events for enhanced business insight. The PI System can absorb massive amounts of streaming data and events, analyze it, and help the end user put it into context and use it.
"The PI System supports utilities organizations in efficient, reliable and safe smart-grid implementation," said Jon Peterson, vice president of Marketing at OSIsoft. "Our products and services help utilities transform their transmission networks into robust, two-way communications grids that provide real-time visibility into electricity and water usage from their customers to the control center. Utilities can make informed decisions that increase efficiencies and lower costs."