Itron, Microsoft combine on ‘performant’ cloud-based smart meter management
Industrial IoT provider Itron, specialising in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solutions for utilities, is working with Microsoft to provide cloud-based meter data management (MDM) services to customers. The pair have completed a round of performance and scalability testing of Itron’s Enterprise Edition Meter Data Management (IEE MDM) product, billed as “the industry’s only MDM solution to perform large-scale benchmarks in Microsoft Azure”.
MDM solutions are required to support expanding use cases with an increasing volume of data and analytics in new smart-grid setups, said Itron. Itron’s works with residential gas, water and electric meters, commercial and industrial meters, and IoT sensors; its IEE solution is deployed already with 45 million smart meters 45 million meters for 100-odd customers, globally.
The integration with Azure makes it a “performant cloud-based solution”, it said, enabling “higher level of service, lower operational costs, flexible expansion, and scalability.” Recent tests of the IEE MDM product in Microsoft Azure suggested it can process 2.8 billion readings a day in less than three hours, along with time-of-use billing determinants.
The results are in line with a smart meter deployment of 10 million units, it said, and show it is ready for “some of the largest and most process-intensive deployments, globally.” Each test executed a ‘day-in-the-life’ scenario that involved processing a mix of meter types at hourly, 15-minute, and five-minute intervals, and registering data from data import, validation and estimation, to billing calculations with time of use and data exports.
A statement said: “The Azure cloud environment ultimately lowers the total cost of ownership through the ability to dynamically scale and enable Azure resources only when needed, coupled with upgrade-proof technology… The combined offering meets the strict timelines required for daily billing and critical meter-to-cash business processes and analytics, bringing unprecedented value and cloud stability to utility customers.”
Stefan Zschiegner, vice president of product management at Itron, said: “Our customers are managing more mission-critical business processes in the cloud with even more use cases, and as a result, customers are collecting and managing more data than ever before… This testing confirms that IEE MDM’s powerful processing capabilities and ability to scale on Microsoft Azure meets our customers’ future data and budget requirements.”
Scott Harden, chief technology officer for energy at Microsoft, said: “Scalability and agility are front-of-mind when selecting products for their smart grid while protecting existing technology investments with comprehensive integration features. Microsoft and Itron have focused on providing solutions that help utilities execute on the vision of a data-driven and intelligent grid. IEE MDM based on Azure SQL Server… leverages the performance and availability of the Microsoft cloud along with the rigorous security and administrative control that utilities require.”