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National Grid Brings Customers’ Energy Journey to Life

Latest Oracle Press Releases - 12 hours 47 min ago
Press Release National Grid Brings Customers’ Energy Journey to Life Video energy reports from Opower increase customer click-through rates by 12X

Redwood Shores, Calif.—May 28, 2020

Watch the video

National Grid is helping its customers better understand their energy journey, 90-seconds at a time. In partnership with Oracle Utilities Opower, National Grid launched a pilot of their first-ever video energy reports. In an animated story, customers received personalized insights on their natural gas usage last winter and advice on how to save energy and cut costs. Sent to 33,000 customers in Upstate New York via email in February, the videos netted 12X the average click-through rate of Opower’s standard digital energy reports. See a sample here.

“National Grid’s mission is to provide clean energy to support our world long into the future,” said Thomas Baron, senior program manager at National Grid. “Together with Opower, we have continued to innovate and refine how we engage our customers and bring them along this critical journey. Personalized videos make it fun and easy for customers to make smart energy choices.”

The National Grid videos were created by the new Opower X professional services team. Opower X projects are all designed to deliver new, measurable customer engagement value to utilities. In the case of the National Grid videos, two-thirds of viewers watched all personalized content, and 14 percent of them clicked through to National Grid’s Energy Savings Programs page for more opportunities and information.

From door hangers to digital engagement

For more than 10 years, National Grid and Opower have experimented with new ways of engaging utility customers. Years ago, that meant testing mailed door hangers and phone calls as behavioral nudges for customers to choose efficient heating and cooling setpoints. Together, the companies have evolved the use of behavioral techniques for influencing digital engagement and scaling adoption of utility programs in New York and Massachusetts. They proved how non-AMI high bill alerts deliver net new behavioral energy savings in Rhode Island. And recently, National Grid and Opower are running a unique behavioral demand response program in Clifton Park, NY, where customers receive points and rewards in exchange for reducing energy use on critical peak days.

With the success of National Grid’s pilot, the Opower X team plans to test the limits of what is possible with personalized videos: driving adoption of deep energy efficiency measures like heat pumps, educating customers about pricing plans and utility bills, and helping customers find and use all their utilities’ tools for digital self-service.

“National Grid continues to push the envelope on customer engagement. In so many cases, they have been the first to initiate, innovate and improve how they serve customers and the planet,” said Paul McDonald, senior director of industry strategy at Oracle Utilities. “With the popularity of video today, especially in apps like Instagram Stories and TikTok, video energy reports just make sense. We’re excited about what’s possible with video, and it’s just one example of how we are changing everything about the Opower Home Energy Report experience.”

National Grid will also be an early adopter of Opower’s bold new print and digital Home Energy Reports this spring. Learn more about the redesigned reports and how they will power the next era in behavioral engagement here.

Contact Info Kris Reeves
kris.reeves@oracle.com About National Grid

About National Grid: National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information please visit our website, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook, and find our photos on Instagram.

About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for Sales, Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing, plus Highly Automated and Secure Generation 2 Infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.


Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Categories: Latest Oracle News

Save money and improve agility and scale by modernizing your SQL Server to Azure SQL

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 10:00

We’re all adapting to uncertain times. As employees shift to more remote ways of working and consumer behavior changes to meet the new normal, businesses are faced with a challenging choice: slow down operations to operate more cost-effectively, lean into new opportunities that may not have otherwise existed, or both. Either way, the ability to quickly adapt and scale to changing conditions can help businesses operate in today's environment and emerge more agile and ready to serve their customers more effectively tomorrow.

Many businesses see digital transformation to the cloud as a path to developing this kind of agility. From a data perspective, if you're currently running SQL Server on-premises and the operational and financial benefits of modernizing in the cloud are appealing to you, you have a variety of options to consider. Whether you want to simply rehost your existing SQL Server workloads onto a virtual machine, modernize them on a fully-managed database service or accelerate modern cloud application development, Azure provides a range of options to help you operate more cost-effectively and agile.

We're pleased to introduce Azure SQL, a family of managed, secure, and intelligent SQL database services. Azure SQL services, comprised of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, Azure SQL Managed Instance, and Azure SQL Database, are built upon the same SQL Server engine so you can migrate applications with ease and continue to use the tools, languages, and resources you're familiar with. You can also conveniently configure and monitor these services from a single portal.

Read our announcement to learn more about how Azure SQL helps you operate more efficiently with innovative features that help you do moreand save money along the way.

The post Save money and improve agility and scale by modernizing your SQL Server to Azure SQL appeared first on SQL Server Blog.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Open innovation, customer choice, and reliability with SQL Server on SUSE

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 10:00

With nearly two decades of delivering joint innovation to meet changing business demands, Microsoft and SUSE continue to focus on enabling digital transformation for our customers, building on open source solutions, and a seamless collaborative support model for SUSE workloads on SQL Server and Azure.

To broaden deployment options for our customers, you can run SQL Server on-premises with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server SLES 12, in the cloud with SLES-based Azure Virtual Machines, and in SQL Server SLES containers running on the SUSE Container as a Service (CaaS) Platform, and expect a consistent experience from on-premises to cloud. Customers will not need a separate repository or package requirements in case of SLES 12 SP5 and the guidelines documentation for quickstart installation remains current. Support levels are also updated in the release notes. Additionally, last week at SUSECON Digital we made announcements related to Azure Arc hybrid capabilities. Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure across on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud environments.

SQL Server 2019 on SLES 12 on-premises

Announcing SQL Server 2019 on SLES 12 SP5 is now fully supported for production use. With SQL Server 2019, you can take advantage of features such as intelligent query processing, data virtualization, accelerated database recovery, improved developer experiences, andmuch moredeployed on the SUSE SLES 12 environment of your choice. See how SQL Server 2019 customers like Ita Unibanco,a banking leader in Latin America, usethe intelligent query processing capabilities in SQL Server 2019 with virtually no code changesto achieve incredible performance for several business-critical processes.

One major performance improvement in SUSE SLES 12 SP5 is the support forForced Unit Access (FUA)for user-mode IO calls for XFS file system. Users of SQL Server on Linux may have been introduced to certain storage and IO flush related configurations due to the unavailability of FUA in user mode. With the introduction of FUA capability support in user mode for XFS filesystem by the SUSE engineering team, users can realize high-performance gains for IO-bound workloads on SQL Server.

Learn more about how you can get the best performance with SQL Server 2019 on SUSE SLES 12.

SQL Server 2019 on SLES 12 Azure Virtual Machines

For customers interested in running SQL Server as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the Azure Marketplace offers pre-configuredSQL Server 2019 on SUSE SLES 12 Azure Virtual Machines. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with High Availability Extension provides mission-critical uptime, fast failover, improved manageability, and easy configuration for Always-on Availability Groups (AG) for SQL Server High Availability setup on Azure.Whileusers will be able to set up a pacemaker cluster on SUSE SLES VM on Azure, high availability in the SUSE repository will be enabled in a future SQL Server community update.

Currently, to have a highly available environment with SUSE on Azure, you can bring your own subscriptions to Azure SLES 12 SP5 and SUSE HA extension.

Customers can bring their SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance to the cloud withAzure Hybrid Benefitto maximize cost savings, and may also considerAzure Reserved VM Instances.

Learn how to get started running SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines on SUSE Linux in this on-demand webinar.

SQL Server on SUSE CaaS Platform

Deploying SQL Server in containers simplifies and speeds up deployments making it easier for application development, database DevOps, and deploying in production. Customers can run SQL Server on the Kubernetes-basedSUSE CaaS Platformat-scalein your on-premises environment.

Learn more and get started today

There area number of exciting free virtual sessions from SUSECON Digitalfor you towatch either live or on-demand. Here's a list ofall content from Microsoft at SUSECON Digital. Highlighted sessions include:

Learn more aboutSQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, and SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters. For a technical deep-dive on Big Data Clusters, read the documentation and visit our GitHub repository.

Get started today by downloading SQL Server on SUSE Linux on-premises or provisioning a pre-configured Azure Virtual Machine image.

The post Open innovation, customer choice, and reliability with SQL Server on SUSE appeared first on SQL Server Blog.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Custom Package Repositories in R

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Fri, 05/22/2020 - 09:20

by Steve Belcher, Sr Technical Specialist, Microsoft Data & AI

In some companies, R users can’t download R packages from CRAN. That might be because they work in an environment that’s isolated from the internet, or because company policy dictates that only specific R packages and/or package versions may be used. In this article, we share some ways you can set up a private R package repository you can use as a source of R packages.

The best way to maintain R packages for the corporation when access to the internet is limited and/or package zip files are not allowed to be downloaded is to implement a custom package repository. This will give the company the most flexibility to ensure that only authorized and secure packages are available to the firm’s R users. You can use a custom repository with R downloaded from CRAN, with Microsoft R Open, with Microsoft R Client and Microsoft ML Server, or with self-built R binaries.

Setting Up a Package Repository

One of the strengths of the R language is the thousands of third-party packages that have been made publicly available via CRAN, the Comprehensive R Archive Network. R includes several functions that make it easy to download and install these packages. However, in many enterprise environments, access to the Internet is limited or non-existent. In such environments, it is useful to create a local package repository that users can access from within the corporate firewall.

Your local repository may contain source packages, binary packages, or both. If at least some of your users will be working on Windows systems, you should include Windows binaries in your repository. Windows binaries are R-version-specific; if you are running R 3.3.3, you need Windows binaries built under R 3.3. These versioned binaries are available from CRAN and other public repositories. If at least some of your users will be working on Linux systems, you must include source packages in your repository.

The main CRAN repository only includes Windows binaries for the current and prior release of R, but you can find packages for older version of R at the daily CRAN snapshots archived by Microsoft at MRAN. This is also a convenient source of older versions of binary packages for current R releases.

There are two ways to create the package repository: either mirror an existing repository or create a new repository and populate it with just those packages you want to be available to your users. However, the entire set of packages available on CRAN is large, and if disk space is a concern you may want to restrict yourself to only a subset of the available packages. Maintaining a local mirror of an existing repository is typically easier and less error-prone, but managing your own repository gives you complete control over what is made available to your users.

Creating a Repository Mirror

Maintaining a repository mirror is easiest if you can use the rsync tool; this is available on all Linux systems and is available for Windows users as part of the Rtools collection. We will use rsync to copy packages from the original repository to your private repository.

Creating a Custom Repository

As mentioned above, a custom repository gives you complete control over which packages are available to your users. Here, too, you have two basic choices in terms of populating your repository: you can either rsync specific directories from an existing repository, or you can combine your own locally developed packages with packages from other sources. The latter option gives you the greatest control, but in the past, this has typically meant you needed to manage the contents using home-grown tools.

Custom Repository Considerations

The creation of a custom repository will give you ultimate flexibility to provide access to needed R packages while maintaining R installation security for the corporation. You could identify domain specific packages and rsync them from the Microsoft repository to your in-house custom repository. As part of this process, it makes sense to perform security and compliance scans on downloaded packages before adding them to your internal repository.

To aid in the creation of a custom repository, a consultant at Microsoft created the miniCRAN package which allows you to construct a repository from a subset of packages on CRAN (as well as other CRAN-like repositories). The miniCRAN package includes a function that allows you to add your own custom packages to your new custom repository, which promotes sharing of code with your colleagues.

Like many other capabilities in the R ecosystem, there are other packages and products that are available to create and work with repositories. A couple of open source packages available for working with R repositories include packrat, renv and drat. If you are looking for a supported, commercially available product to manage access to packages within your organization, RStudio offers the RStudio Package Manager.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

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