Published on May 20, 2022 by Chris Galford

Growing their focus on security, reliability, and value for a transitioning grid, Itron, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation announced an expansion of their existing collaboration this week, pledging to hasten cloud adoption and next-generation solutions for utilities and smart city industries.

This artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven effort will combine Itron’s energy management solutions with Microsoft’s cloud solutions to create a better system for users to view and manage their energy and to provide insights and benefits for utilities, communities, and other industry stakeholders to manage and improve grid resilience, consumer engagement, operational efficiency and decarbonization of the electric sector. Some examples of use for the high-fidelity data yielded from this, as envisioned by the companies, include the ability for utilities to track their progress toward net zero carbon goals or for distributed energy resource providers to identify customers who could benefit from their products.

“Expanding our collaboration with Microsoft is core to our commitment to delivering industry-leading solutions that make it easier for end-users to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve water,” Don Reeves, senior vice president of outcomes at Itron, said. “Our collaboration will provide analytics and data-sharing capabilities for utilities and cities, so they can optimize their operations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. As utilities begin to deploy edge compute-enabled connected IoT platforms, a new level of collaboration and co-innovation is needed for the utilities to harvest the unprecedented opportunity for growth and creating value.”

Cloud-ready solutions pursued by the pair will include greater network visibility, asset management, outage management, and electric vehicle/distributed energy resource load insights to better enable a decarbonized grid. Measurements, reports, and more will be key to these efforts. They hope to allow utilities to build out new capabilities from it, including location awareness, intelligent voltage monitoring, real-time transformer load monitoring, and more.

“The collaboration between Itron and Microsoft will enable utilities and smart cities to take advantage of cloud computing technology—in particular, edge computing—to accelerate cloud-native analytics, distribution automation, carbon reporting and provide an overall more flexible, scalable system that supports a distributed, resilient energy grid,” Darryl Willis, CVP Worldwide Energy Industry, Microsoft, said.

Microsoft will grant Itron greater global access to utility and city customers, allowing it to better identify those who could benefit from machine learning efforts. Together, the pair will also speed the development of Itron’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure, data management, and analytics solutions globally.