In September Erik Aasberg and Sigurd Seteklev visited Microsofts Redmond Campus as part of the Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) for Azure's new cloud based data platform. All members of RDP are forward thinking companies with the ability and desire to use Microsofts latest technology.
eSmart's main focus in the RDP was the Azure Machine Learning platform. The platform is at the heart of eSmart's machine learning initiative, where we in addition are collaboration with Ostfold University College, and Microsoft's Data Science team and are sponsoring a ph.d. student.
Big Data is not only about handling vast amounts of data, but in order to be able to harvest value from the data one has to exploit advanced algorithms. Machine learning is a term used for algorithms that "learn" from data, and ranges from simple algorithms fitting a line through points in a graph, to advanced artificial intelligence. The combination of big data and machine learning is therefore very powerful, and the leading companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM are competing to acquire the best Machine learning talent in the world (see e.g. this article about Googles purchase of DeepMind)
At eSmart the main usage of machine learning today, is prediction. In order to operate the Smart Grid efficiently, predictions are used to identify problems before they happen. One of the key advantages of eSmart's platform is that we can handle all data from sensors, smart meters, social media, weather services and many more, and be able to quickly analyse and discover possible problems in the future.
During our stay at Microsoft's Redmond campus, we were able to meet Data Scientists, Senior VP's and Engineers from Microsoft, and network with fellow RDP-companies. Not only did we learn a lot about Microsoft's vision for Azure Machine Learning, but we got thorough insight into how to best use the newest big data technologies in Microsoft Azure environment. A key advantage with the program is that we connect directly with the key people at Microsoft HQ, and can therefore harvest their knowledge as we develop the next generation of IT-systems.
Microsoft and eSmart is currently joining forces to ensure that eSmart has the most advanced predictions algorithms in the industry. We are very excited about this opportunity, and look forward seeing the results in action at a utility near you.