Itron and Microsoft partner to expand AMI use cases for utilities

big data

By Nicholas Nhede

Technology companies Itron and Microsoft have formed an alliance aimed at ensuring that utilities take full advantage of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and data.

The aim of the partnership is to develop highly scalable cloud-based meter data management services to help utilities fully leverage data acquired from AMI and expand smart meter use cases.

Energy companies are acquiring big data but not fully leveraging it, and as such, optimizing meter data management platforms would help utilities to simplify and ensure a fast and secure acquisition, processing, storage, and usage of smart meter data. This would facilitate the identification and implementation of new use cases for grid reliability and improved customer services, such as Time of Use energy pricing, smart meter-enabled vehicle to grid services and will allow integration of more distributed energy resources on the grid.

As part of their collaboration, Itron and Microsoft have to date completed a pilot in which they tested the performance and scalability of the Itron Enterprise Edition Meter Data Management (IEE MDM) product. This marks the industry’s only meter data management solution to perform large-scale benchmarks in Microsoft Azure. The pilot confirmed the ability of Itron’s IEE MDM to process 2.8 billion readings a day in less than three hours and deliver time-of-use billing determinants equivalent to a 10-million-meter utility.

Based on the results of the pilot, Itron and Microsoft claim that their solution will provide utilities with a cost-effective and low-maintenance platform that would support some of the largest, complex, and most process-intensive deployments. They claim the MDM can be easily expanded to incorporate other use cases over time as new data sensors or functionality requirements evolve as a result of the digital transformation of utilities. Various meter types including 15-minute and five-minute intervals and register data were tested.

Scott Harden, chief technology officer, Energy at Microsoft, said: “Our customers tell us that scalability and agility are front of mind when selecting products for their smart grid while protecting existing technology investments with comprehensive integration features.”

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