Lessons Learned from Microsoft’s CityNext Partner of the Year

14 July 2014 | Melissa Topp, Director of Global Marketing, ICONICS

It’s hard to believe that Microsoft embarked on its CityNext initiative just one year ago. I recall hearing about it before the official announcement at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) last July from our partner management team at Microsoft. They promised that it was going to be a big deal, but I never thought it would be THIS big of a deal.

The CityNext initiative empowers cities, businesses and citizens to reimagine their futures and to cultivate healthier, greener, and more prosperous communities. It inspires city leaders and government customers to collaborate and learn from each other, and to leverage social media tools and analytics to better understand what their citizens are talking about. Their goal? To make their cities more functional and sustainable for the people who live there – today and in the future.

ICONICS embraced Microsoft’s CityNext initiative because of how closely it aligned with our ability to make cities more profitable, agile, efficient and sustainable. It also seemed like an obvious choice given that ICONICS technology already provides the basis for Microsoft’s own Energy Smart Buildings deployment across its 100+ building Redmond campus.

ICONICS customers in the Public Sector realize a range of tangible and intangible benefits, including faster ROI and increases in efficiency in day-to-day operations as soon as the solution starts getting deployed. Customers have reported energy savings as high as 20 percent, and production and efficiency increases as high as 50 percent. The Microsoft technology platform of SQL Server, Windows Azure and Windows 8 enables us to flexibly apply our cost savings solutions across numerous CityNext functional solution areas, including Energy & Water, Buildings, Infrastructure & Planning, Transportation, and Education, empowering people to transform their cities and their world.

Solution Profile – Water

At Scottish Water, ICONICS solutions were selected and deployed to provide “Situational Awareness” of all water utilities for the entire country of Scotland. All water collection, processing, and distribution systems are integrated into a single system for coordinated monitoring and supervisory control. ICONICS’ Hyper Historian maintains a Big Data store of all operations and water quality data. The selection of ICONICS was driven by our ability to provide real-time data overlaid with geographical coordinates on Bing Maps, and actionable information within rich, intuitive graphics on Windows 8. By rationalizing their disparate data systems, Scottish Water is now able to reduce incident and response times, prioritize tasks based on financial implications, anticipate and respond to live weather forecasts, and proactively inform their customers of potential service disruptions.

Solution Profile – Energy Management and Building Automation

The Washington Athletic Club is a 21-story 310,000 square foot steel and masonry structure built in 1930 in the heart of downtown Seattle, and a member of the Seattle 2030 District. It contains 113 hotel guest rooms and five floors of fitness amenities, with support areas that operate 24/7. In partnership with MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, ICONICS' MobileHMI App is powering the Washington Athletic Club through the Azure Cloud. The solution provides energy performance dashboards and reports to facilities directors to enable them to make smart decisions, any time, anywhere. First year energy savings were $207,442; 10 percent above target, which resulted in a 25 percent reduction in combined electricity and steam consumption. The carbon equivalent reduction of the consumption savings is 835 metric tons per year or 161 cars. Energy savings per square foot was $0.67 and, this year, the building expects to save even more!

Through these experiences and many more, ICONICS is leveraging our 28 years of knowledge in extracting data from sensors and devices, generating powerful analytics, and presenting compelling visualization across mobile devices in conjunction with Microsoft’s strengths in modern IT platforms (including Windows Azure). We are now working in partnership with Microsoft’s CityNext team to develop a “blueprint” for cities to become “Modern Cities”, enabling self-sustaining cycles of innovation, opportunity and progress for years to come. Two of the biggest challenges today include the lack of government-approved private cloud infrastructure on which to build this “Modern City” concept, and the lack of real-time information to keep citizens informed. This blueprint for Modern Cities includes a centralized Situational Awareness control room complete with built-in Energy Monitoring infrastructure, support to mobilize a city’s workforce, and a citizen portal with real-time information that is accessible via smartphones, tablets or Web browsers. This project has the attention of numerous cities across the world, and it would not have been possible without Microsoft’s strong support through their CityNext initiative.

With this kind of momentum after just one year, ICONICS is excited to see what’s next for CityNext! For more information on ICONICS’ CityNext solutions and benefits, visit www.iconics.com/citynext.

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Melissa Topp
Director of Global Marketing, ICONICS