31 Gennaio 2024

Microsoft and the industrial metaverse are enabling and accelerating the energy transition

While the transition to clean, sustainable energy remains a global priority, each year brings a new set of challenges to meet growing energy demand—from geopolitical events and increasing energy disruptions to evolving consumer needs. As energy companies adapt, they continue to leverage digital and cloud technologies to enable growth, meet business objectives, and achieve carbon neutrality.

Deployment of clean energy sources like solar, wind, and biofuels, carbon capture solutions, energy storage, and electric vehicles (EVs) help us get closer to a net-zero future. However, transformation requires investment, and modernizing infrastructure for operational efficiency and innovation can be cost-prohibitive. Last year, I highlighted energy organizations that are turning to Microsoft technology and the industrial metaverse for a sustainable, clean energy future.

Field engineer inspects electrical substation on a wind farm using remote assist with a Surface tablet

Microsoft for Energy & Resources

Powering a sustainable future

Metaverse in action: Transforming the energy sector

The industrial metaverse integrates technologies like IoT, AI, digital twin, and mixed reality technologies, using the Microsoft Cloud to provide persistent, interactive experiences based on an organization’s information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), and engineering technology (ET) data and applications.

AI is already playing a major role in improving productivity, operational efficiency, and workplace safety. In a recent Microsoft commissioned study by Forrester, we learned that energy firms view the industrial metaverse as a critical component to their organization’s evolution. While implementation costs and skilling questions remain, the industry acknowledges this technology convergence is helping target improved operating margins and increase productivity and profitability. 

AI is accelerating industrial metaverse interactions, helping organizations address their innovation barriers. For example, Microsoft Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides, currently in private preview, combines the power of generative AI with mixed reality to help frontline workers complete complex tasks and resolve service issues faster with less operational disruption. Together these technologies provide frontline workers with real-time, contextual guidance and 3D instruction through point-and-ask guidance, spatial content generation, and step-by-step assistance.

In Turkey, Enerjisa Üretim teamed with Senkron.Energy Digital Services to transition to a cloud-native ecosystem based on Microsoft Azure. By leveraging the new environment, the company was able to implement a new remote operation center for 20 hydropower, wind, and solar plants within four years. Now, Enerjisa Üretim uses advanced AI analytics to monitor real-time performance, forecast production levels, and predict maintenance requirements. The firm has strengthened its security operations as well. Overall, the solution has increased operational efficiency with well-timed preventive maintenance and advanced the company toward safer and more secure and sustainable energy management.

microsoft Copilot for dynamics 365

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Industrial metaverse solutions can also include IoT technologies like Microsoft Azure IoT Operations and Azure IoT for energy, designed to help organizations optimize energy distribution while lowering operational costs.

As an integrated energy conglomerate, Ecopetrol operates across the entire hydrocarbon chain as well as linear infrastructure, such as energy transmission and road concessions according to John James, Enterprise Digital Architect at Ecopetrol. By harnessing the power of Azure IoT Operations, Ecopetrol is poised to continue expanding and enhancing its industrial IoT platform. This strategic move is designed to not only streamline and standardize intelligent edge solutions, but also to significantly improve operational efficiencies, minimize the carbon footprint, and enable rapid adoption of big data and AI technologies at the core of their business. This commitment is a testament to Ecopetrol’s dedication to leading the energy sector into a more sustainable and technologically-advanced future.

Highlighting a metaverse of customer innovation

Dutch-state owned utility provider Enexis wants to drive the energy transition at a national level. To meet its ambitious goal, Enexis needed to transform its workforce and infrastructure. With a solution based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides and Microsoft HoloLens 2, Enexis is enabling employees to master materials 40% faster than traditional methods. Next, the company plans to expand the solution to field work, with possibilities that include remote inspection and safety drills.

Global energy firm Chevron is adopting industrial metaverse technologies to realize their vision for their facilities and operations of the future—helping to improve safety with generative AI and automation while also lowering operating expenses. Assets connect to the Microsoft Cloud and edge technologies to enable intelligent monitoring and enhanced decision making. Chevron is also one of the first organizations using Microsoft Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides in private preview, bringing the power of generative AI and mixed reality to frontline workers. 

Digital twins and AI can be adapted for a variety of sustainability scenarios. For example, Anglican Water, the largest water company in England, uses digital twins to protect river health efficiently, affordably, and with a smaller carbon footprint. Data integration, 3D modeling, and predictive capabilities help provide a better real-time understanding of river ecosystems and the impact of future change. The insights help protect river health and ensure safe, clean drinking water to 7 million customers.

Private 5G and Microsoft partners enabling energy innovation

Microsoft partners are actively developing solutions running on Azure private multi-access edge compute (MEC), a cloud-managed edge infrastructure and services combined with edge networking. These innovative solutions have been designed to help our mutual customers meet their transformation goals and adopt AI technologies:

From improving workplace safety and operational efficiency to transforming infrastructure and delivering new services, energy organizations worldwide are using the industrial metaverse and AI to accelerate their energy transition journeys. Progress demands a global effort and Microsoft is committed to working with customers and partners to provide innovative solutions that enable a net-zero carbon economy. The industrial metaverse isn’t a distant vision, it’s part of today’s reality. Energy companies that embrace AI-powered tools and digital innovation now can meet their business goals and tackle new challenges while advancing a more sustainable future for the planet.  

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Source: Microsoft Industry Blog