Microsoft (s MSFT) revealed today the latest part of its plan to carve out a fatter slice of the smart grid pie: a software architecture for utilities called Smart Energy Reference Architecture, or SERA. Described by Microsoft as its “first comprehensive reference architecture that addresses technology integration throughout the full scope of the smart energy ecosystem,” SERA is meant to help smart devices connect to the grid via common standards, similar to the way a range of consumer electronics can plug into today’s PCs.
Today’s launch comes less than four months after Microsoft showed off (after two years of work) its Hohm consumer energy monitoring tool — a device that Troy Batterberry, product unit manager for the company’s Energy Management & Home Automation division, told us was only the first step to working with smart devices and ultimately moving into the control layer for energy systems.
As it did with the Hohm launch, Microsoft is boasting stamps of approval for SERA from major industry partners, including power plant equipment maker Alstom Power, systems integrator Accenture (s ACN), smart meter company Itron (s ITRI) and software maker ESRI. Microsoft also took a swipe at startups, noting in its release that stimulus-funded smart grid projects “will need sound, tested technologies,” and claiming that with Microsoft’s offerings, utilities will “be able to implement solutions faster and more reliably than they could with solutions offered by competitors.”