Some of the most important functions of government include the oversight of infrastructure—everything from electric power production and conservation to transportation and water management. To support infrastructure locally or regionally, many organizations are taking advantage of remote energy monitoring and control solutions that use the cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT). This year’s CityNext Partner of the Year winner, COPA-DATA, is being recognized for its thought leadership in these areas. The company is also the recipient of the 2016 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year award for Austria.

COPA-DATA’s industrial automation software, zenon®, supports end-to-end IoT solutions. Specifically, zenon helps companies and public sector organizations collect, visualize, and analyze data in real time from sensors and controllers installed in energy production systems, such as hydropower plants. COPA-DATA runs zenon on Microsoft Azure, making it an ideal tool to help foster sustainable cities within the Microsoft CityNext initiative. The initiative’s goals include promoting sustainability across the public sector through solutions focused on energy, water and wastewater, public transportation, and smart buildings. Thanks to the flexibility of the Azure platform, COPA-DATA can take these renewable-energy solutions to the cloud without rewriting customers’ existing applications, which supports high scalability, increased efficiency, lower resource consumption, and decreased costs.

COPA-DATA recently worked with the energy production company Gorenjske Elektrame (GEK), which sells through energy traders, with 1 percent of its output sold directly to local public entities. GEK has begun a project to deploy the zenon solution and has already seen reduced internal costs, easier facility management, and less downtime. The company is also testing a mobile app for the solution, to provide SMS alerts for repair crews and true remote control of key systems.

Additionally, GEK provided photovoltaic technologies (solar panels) to a group of public schools to promote renewable energy. Through IoT devices, the schools can combine zenon building management capabilities—monitoring energy usage, using smart metering, turning off unneeded lights automatically, and so on—and the energy provided by the solar panels to reduce their dependence on the more costly power grid. The project has reduced energy consumption at the schools and is a strong representation of COPA-DATA’s commitment to ensure that zenon provides strategic, practical ways to promote renewable energy.

With its forward-thinking solutions, COPA-DATA is fostering greater efficiency, conservation, and cost savings for safer, more sustainable ecosystems. Microsoft is excited about the benefits that zenon can bring to the entire public sector, including public utilities, transportation, and smart buildings. Integrating renewable energy sources such as solar panels into schools’ infrastructures is just one step in improving lives today while educating citizens on smarter energy use for tomorrow. COPA-DATA has been an official worldwide member of the Microsoft CityNext initiative since February 2014. This membership, coupled with its successful transformation from a traditional ISV to an end-to-end IoT software solution provider, has helped the company launch innovative projects like the ones at GEK.

For more information on how CityNext partners are using technology to empower more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive cities, visit the website.