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Around the world, the Internet of Things (IoT) poises an opportunity for organizations to transform their business model using connected solutions. Yet building, deploying, and implementing IoT solutions can take considerable time and resources. Which is why Microsoft recently committed to investing $5 billion in IoT over the next four years with the goals of simplifying IoT and making it available to everyone. And as those in the energy industry work to implement smart energy today, IoT solutions have never been more relevant or critical.

As renewable energy and distributed energy resources increase, the industry faces new challenges such as fluctuating demands, aging grids, decreases in nuclear and coal energy, and emerging technologies. Customized energy solutions enabled by IoT are positioning energy providers around the world to face these challenges head on. Below, I’ve outlined a couple examples of how Microsoft and their partners are helping energy providers transform business through IoT. To learn more, be sure to register for the IoT in Action webinar on July 31, Powering the Future of Energy Efficiency with IoT.


Agder Energi optimizes grid with IoT technology

By 2025, Norway will have banned gas-powered cars entirely and only allow electric vehicles to be sold. While this is excellent for the environment, the increase in electric vehicles and other distributed resources cause new challenges for utilities and grid owners, such as growth in demand and increased complexity in predicting the load. Agder Energi, Norway’s third largest energy group in hydroelectric production, was also facing these challenges and looking at potential solutions. However, the easy solution required expensive upgrades to their grid.

As an alternative, they decided to partner with Microsoft. By implementing Azure IoT and intelligent cloud technology, they are now able to manage supply and demand, predict loads, and quickly leverage distributed energy resources as flexible assets in their power system—all using their existing grid.

With smart energy today, Agder Energi has everything digitized. When a station goes into overload, they can make changes in real time, reducing the strain on the grid. The data collected from millions of sensors in the grid enables them to design new products, make better decisions, and manage their business more effectively. They are also able to give customers better service at a lower price and meet changing needs. And in turn, customers can use rooftop solar and supply energy back to the grid.

The implementation of smart energy solutions has positioned Agder Energi to save on infrastructure costs, use distributed energy resources as flexible assets, and increase customer satisfaction. As a result, they are now able to expand these customized energy solutions into new regions.

Microsoft partner Apergy transforming efficiency

IoT solutions have applications across countless scenarios. Equipment in the oil and gas industry, for instance, undergoes heavy usage. As such, technicians must perform routine maintenance and troubleshooting to keep the equipment safe and functional, which often requires massive amounts of travel time.

According to Microsoft partner Apergy, a leading on-shore equipment and digital technology provider, one large pipeline customer calculated that the cumulative mileage driven annually by all their technicians added up to a trip to Mars and halfway back.

This situation is not unique in the oil and gas industry. So Apergy set out to design the Spotlight Monitoring System to continuously monitor, diagnose, and optimize equipment health for reciprocating compressors and engines in the field. The end-to-end solution leverages Azure Cloud and IoT services and recommends condition-based maintenance versus scheduled maintenance, making it easier for industrial customers to avoid catastrophic breakdowns of their equipment and machinery while saving technicians—and themselves—thousands of miles of costly travel.

The Spotlight solution also records sensor data across their fleet. These sensors provide real-time visibility, sending data directly to the cloud where KPIs and actionable insights can be securely accessed by authorized users anytime, anywhere around the world. Ultimately, this IoT solution is improving efficiency, cost-savings, and revenue for customers while also providing greater equipment safety, maximizing uptime, and increasing operational excellence.

Register for the IoT in Action webinar on July 31

Join Microsoft for the upcoming IoT in Action webinar, Powering the Future of Energy Efficiency with IoT, to discover how IoT is transforming businesses across the energy industry. See how providers are improving energy efficiency with Azure IoT, as well as how Microsoft and energy partners are leveraging smart energy today to improve power reliability and revolutionize automated data collection.

To learn more about the application of IoT solutions across industries, be sure to explore our full IoT in Action Webinar Series.