There’s More Than One Way to Round a Number

When we were in school, we all learned the general rule for rounding – if a significant digit is followed by a number that is greater than or equal to 5, we round the number up, otherwise we round the number down. Not surprisingly, this is the behavior we see in Excel, as the ROUND function follows this general rule.

However, this method of rounding tends to create an upward bias. For this reason, another algorithm for rounding numbers has generally become the default when it comes to computer science and software development – section 4 of the IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic (IEEE 754) (otherwise known as “rounding to the nearest” or “Bankers’ Rounding”). For example, the Math.Round method in Microsoft’s .NET Framework employs this algorithm.

 

Developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), this algorithm is designed to minimize rounding bias that results from consistently rounding a midpoint value in a single direction. The way it works is, numbers, which are equidistant from the two nearest integers, are rounded to the nearest even integer. This means that a number like 63.5 would get rounded to 64.0, while a number like 62.5 would get rounded to 62.0. Below is an example generated in VBA Editor.

Essentially, values with an even significant digit (e.g., 61.45) are rounded down, while those with odd significant digits (e.g., 61.55) are rounded up.  Other decimal fractions round as you would expect.  Only significant digits followed by a 5 get this “special” treatment.


The CEC Releases “Improving Short-term Load Forecasts by Incorporating Solar PV Generation” Interim Report

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Energy Research and Development Division supports energy research and development programs to spur innovation in energy efficiency, renewable energy and advanced clean generation, energy-related environmental protection, energy transmission, and distribution and transportation.

In 2012, the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) was established by the California Public Utilities Commission to fund public investments in research to create and advance new energy solution, foster regional innovation and bring ideas from the lab to the marketplace. The CEC and the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities were selected to administer the EPIC funds and advance novel technologies, tools and strategies that provide benefits to their electric ratepayers.

The CEC recently released the interim report “Improving Short-Term Load Forecasts by Incorporating Solar PV Generation” for the grant number CEC-EPC-14-001 conducted by Itron Inc. The information from this project contributes to Energy Research and Development Division’s EPIC Program.

The interim report investigates three different methods to integrate behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic (PV) forecasts with an operational net load forecast. This work determined how to best integrate rapidly growing behind-the-meter PV into net load forecasts for the California Independent System Operator. See the full report here.


Real-time Load Disaggregation

Our final blog of #IUW17 features a session with Robert Sonderegger and Luke Scheidler from Itron discussing how Itron’s OpenWay® Riva distributed intelligence application for load disaggregation can provide new perspectives into energy usage data.

During this session, Robert and Luke discussed the possibility to deploy load disaggregation in real time with no special equipment at the customer premise. This enables utilities to gain insights to support more effective demand response projects, design better energy efficiency programs, improve customer service and build more accurate load profiles to guide the utility asset planning processes.

The quality of energy disaggregation is directly related to data availability, which includes frequency of interval data, the data elements used and the number of premises. As you increase each of these data elements, you achieve better results and your end use information becomes more accurate. Itron has an advantage in all of these areas, capturing and processing data at a one-second resolution without additional equipment in the circuit panel.

Furthermore, in order to deliver distribution deferral using distributed resources, utilities must succeed at targeting, marketing, program planning, measurement and verification, and forecasting. Demonstrating the need for these solutions, the world has become more complicated, creating a need for better predictability, access to data and location-specific information. Real-time energy disaggregation in every meter is a better starting point for these activities, as it is scalable to the population and location specific.

Therefore, the level of accuracy and data granularity needed is dependent on the specifics of each situation. Any use cases that have a distribution benefit or require temporal or locational analysis require highly granular data. With Itron you get a high degree of accuracy without additional hardware, and it enables the full range of use cases.

Understanding how customers produce and consume energy today is key to predicting how they will produce and consume energy in the future. This provides insight into how rates, tariffs and incentives can be used to benefit the grid. Robert took us through the technical aspects—explaining that Itron’s approach using metrology data, measured at high frequency. Since we are developing something that’s completely automated, which updates and evolves over time, we must deal with cases such as a new device being added to a home.

For reference, here is the based flow of the application, as developed to-date:

Thanks for reading our blog, this brings #IUW17 to a close! For more information, please visit our website. We look forward to seeing you next year in Scottsdale, Arizona!


Developing the Next Generation Utility Workforce and Inspiring Leadership

Today marked the second day of the #IUW17 Knowledge Conference and we started the morning with another great general session.

We heard from Sharelynn Moore, Itron’s senior vice president of networked solutions and Dr. Michael Webber from the University of Texas at Austin. They gave us an update on the Resourcefulness App, which Itron launched through a partnership with Dr. Webber to improve energy and water literacy, encourage conservation and resourcefulness, and inspire the next generation of innovators with the app.

The interactive digital curriculum combines text with multimedia components, such as audio and video along with dozens of interactive exercises, maps and games. By working with community partners nationwide, we made the app-based curriculum available free of charge. We’re also excited to announce today that the Energy Institute High School here in Houston, a STEM-focused magnet program, has adopted the app as part of their curriculum. We are happy to provide the app for the school and believe it’s a great example of how a public/private partnership is helping to shape the next generation workforce.

Our second speaker and keynote for today’s general session was retired Colonel Mike Mullane of the U.S. Air Force and NASA. An inductee to the International Space Hall of Fame, Colonel Mullane completed 134 combat missions in Vietnam and logged 356 hours in space. He is also the recipient of many awards including the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and the NASA Space Flight Medal.

Colonel Mullane spoke with our conference attendees about teamwork, leadership and safety. Colonel Mullane truly inspired attendees by drawing on his experience as a pilot and astronaut. He left us with the notion that teamwork, leadership and safety are not final destinations, but rather, continuous journeys for our organizations. We challenge all of our blog readers and conference participants to take this notion back to their respective organizations and apply it to their daily operations.

Thanks for following along on our blog! We’ll be back with our final conference blog this afternoon discussing real-time load disaggregation. Don’t forget to follow the conversation online on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Transforming the Customer Experience

We’re well underway at #IUW17 and our second blog features a session led by Joe Thomas from Duke Energy discussing how the company utilizes data to create unique and satisfying customer experiences.

During his session, Joe examined how today’s operating realities— with demographic shifts, the proliferation of smart devices and continual access to data and innovative technologies— are evolving customer expectations. As such, companies are changing how they interact with consumers and provide access to services from banking to ordering coffee on mobile devices with real-time updates. Joe noted that customers are demanding the same type of responsiveness and interaction with their utilities. They want to know when usage and bills will be high, have access to conservation options, be notified of outages and restoration, and pay their bills easily.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology allows interaction with customers and benefits utilities by meeting customer expectations, which results in higher customer satisfaction. Ultimately, this makes it easier for utilities to respond to both the internal and external pressures such as protecting revenue, managing operational and maintenance costs, staying abreast of regulatory environment as well as remaining competitive.

Duke Energy recognized these benefits and created the Enhanced Customer Solutions (ECS) organization to design and develop offerings, enabled by data from smart meters, that provide customers more convenience, transparency and control. During the presentation, Joe walked us through three of Duke’s ECS programs that are available to customers with AMI meters: Pick Your Due Date, Prepaid Advantage and Usage Alerts programs.

  • Pick Your Due Date: Allows customers to select a billing due date that best aligns with their financial situation and/or pay days. Duke understands not everyone gets paid at the same time and often multiple bills may be due at once, leaving customers in a financial pinch. Pick Your Due Date provides customers with payment flexibility and since the program first became available in November 2016, nearly 8,000 customers have enrolled.
  • Prepaid Advantage: Eligible customers choose the amount, date and frequency at which they pay for their electricity. This provides customers with another flexible option to pay for their utilities and currently has more than 1,600 customers enrolled.
  • Usage Alerts: Provides customers automatic usage alerts via email halfway through their billing cycle. The alerts can help customers manage usage for both conservation and budgeting. Since the usage alerts rolled out this August, 643,486 customers have already enrolled. During the last couple months, Duke has sent more than 1,000,000 alerts and have received a 96 percent positive rating from customers.

Duke’s customers have positively received all three programs, which demonstrates the value smart meters and AMI deliver to customers. As non-utility companies continue to grow and innovate, simultaneously raising customer expectations, utilities will need continue to meet the demand with leading-edge technology to improve customer experience.

We’ll be back blogging tomorrow from our general session hearing from retired Colonel Mike Mullane of the U.S. Air Force and NASA as he discusses teamwork, leadership and safety.

In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for conference updates and content from our “Houston – We have a party!” networking reception.


Launching Itron Utility Week 2017

Welcome to Itron Utility Week 2017! We launched our annual customer-focused event yesterday and welcomed more than 1,000 attendees to Houston. We’re excited to be here, and following Hurricane Harvey, we’re eager to do a small part to help give back to the community.

Yesterday, we partnered with the American Red Cross and assembled 2,500 comfort kits to provide displaced residents with basic necessities like toothbrushes and toiletries. Thank you to all our Itron team members and conference attendees that helped assemble the kits.

This morning, we commenced the Knowledge Conference portion of Itron Utility Week with keynotes by Scott Prochazka, president and CEO of CenterPoint Energy as well as Itron’s CEO Philip Mezey.

#IUW17 is taking place in CenterPoint Energy’s service territory, so Scott Prochazka provided us with an overview of the company’s vision for the future and how they’re delivering service, value and safety to their customers. CenterPoint Energy has a long history dating back to 1866, delivering value for customers for over 100 years. They’ve had smart meters deployed since 2009 and the utility currently analyzes 230 million data points from the meters per day. This level of data analytics has allowed the utility to realize multiple benefits – most recently they were able to avoid 45 million outage minutes during Hurricane Harvey. As the utility looks to the future, Scott took us through their four focus areas:

  • Customers – Focusing on their needs and delivering greater value to customers. CenterPoint Energy realizes that customers want to interact with on their terms, whether through a call center, social media or a website.
  • Technology Development – Technology is currently disrupting the utility industry and CenterPoint Energy understands it’s important to embrace new technologies at the utility level as well as at the customer (end-use) level.
  • Integrated Networks – Integrated networks can help with more efficient and smarter energy delivery.
  • Data Analytics – More advanced data analytics can enable real-time information, automation, security and reliance, as well as customer empowerment.

Scott closed his presentation noting that utilities need to not only manage the dynamic utility landscape, but lead.

The second speaker of the session, was Itron’s own Philip Mezey. Philip started his speech, by informing customers that Itron is working to be a preferred vendor and provide the best solutions. Through strategic acquisitions such as Comverge and our intent to acquire Silver Spring Networks, Itron is providing a unified platform through OpenWay™ Riva, cloud services and dedication to delivering business outcomes.

During his speech, Philip noted several challenges the utility industry is facing – including an aging workforce and infrastructure as well as transmission and distribution losses – and the path to helping utilities navigate these challenges. Key items for utilities include improving business efficiency, increasing grid reliability and resiliency, integrating distributed energy resources, and meeting greater customer expectations. Philip stated that utilities that adapt to change will run their business efficiently and enhance customer service. Itron believes that the next-generation grid – the Active Grid – can serve as a foundation to address utility’s business needs.

To close the session, Sharelynn Moore, Itron’s senior vice president of networked solutions, gave an update on what the Itron team has been working on over the last year. We’ve been investing this past year and notably, we created a new Networked Solutions and Smart Cities group that has over 80 dedicated employees. We’ve also spent more than $160 million on R&D and have increased our partner network to more than 80 strategic partners including Microsoft, SAP, Verizon and more. On the OpenWay Riva front, Sharelynn noted that we’ve deployed more than 20 million end points, with another 5.5 committed, which have provided more than $26 million in energy bill savings through smart city initiatives.

Additionally, this morning we awarded our Frost and Sullivan Resourcefulness Awards to Central Hudson for energy and Madison Water Utility for water. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

Our next blog will feature Joe Thomas from Duke Energy discussing how the company utilizes data to create unique and satisfying customer experiences. Stay tuned here and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates from #IUW17.


Delivering Smart, Sustainable Energy Solutions

There’s no question that the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform the energy and utilities industry —that’s already happening. IoT is playing a central role in the modernization of the energy sector—perhaps more than in any other industry.

Companies are already using IoT sensors and integrated energy platforms to improve their resource management, strengthen security, address compliance and, most importantly, to deliver great customer experiences.

Customers Are Taking the Power Back

Today’s customers aren’t used to waiting. They can shop online and have their products delivered the same day. Consumers are growing accustomed to fast, engaging and digitally rich experiences from all of the brands they interact with. So it’s no surprise that they’re starting to expect the same from their energy and utilities providers.

It’s not just about speed and convenience—customer empowerment matters too. Customers don’t just want to keep the lights on and take hot showers. They want a current view of their energy and water consumption, to control usage and spending, and do their part to reduce environmental impact. Like their usage and spending, customers are controlling the conversation. Consumers have a voice unlike before, which means comparing utilities across digital channels, sharing experiences on social media, and switching providers with ease online.

These changing demands mean it’s more crucial than ever for energy and utilities companies to adopt customer-centric strategies. And IoT technology is a critical enabler for delivering enhanced customer experiences.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Enterprises have a great opportunity to respond to customer demands by leveraging IoT sensors. These can be used to gather a wealth of data about supply and demand, grid capacity and customer usage habits. This information can be used to dramatically enhance the customer experience.

Smart meters enable energy providers to identify many service problems online. This means that service disruptions can often be resolved without the customer picking up the phone, or having to book a service technician. Smart meters also provide access to near-real-time consumption data. Usage-based rates provide a great incentive for customers to reduce their own consumption and save money. Offering these programs can help you to attract and retain value-conscious customers and gain the edge in this competitive industry.

These benefits don’t just apply to energy. Water companies are quickly making progress. Smart water meters can help you to generate accurate bills, while also empowering customers to monitor and reduce their own daily water consumption levels. By digitally detecting pipeline problems and leakages, irrigation problems can be quickly identified and fixed. This has obvious benefits for the customer, and the environment and community, as it helps reduce water wastage.

Getting the most from IoT solutions

To make a real success of IoT, there are two crucial factors to consider.

Network connectivity

You’ll need reliable and far-reaching network connectivity. That means working with partners that have the experience and connections you can depend on, while also leveraging the latest technology. If your company is relying on thousands of IoT sensors—and especially if those sensors are buried in the ground or hard to access—battery life is an important consideration. The latest low-power wide area network (LP-WAN) options, like LTE Cat-M1, enable you to connect thousands of disparate sensors while helping sustain battery life—and do so cost-effectively.

Security

Robust security controls need to be in place to protect your IoT systems. Energy and utilities services are maintaining critical infrastructure. Citizens rely on power and water in their everyday lives, and a severe cyberattack or outage could have serious consequences. There’s also the vast amount of customer data your IoT systems will gather—customers trust you to keep this information safe, and a data breach could damage your reputation. But security shouldn’t be perceived as a barrier to adoption. With the help of a trusted partner, and the latest security controls in place, you can design and build a resilient IoT system.

The energies and utilities industry is entering a very exciting phase. IoT technology is set to revolutionize the entire sector—leading to increased efficiency, enhanced customer experiences and greater sustainability. To find out more, and network with those at the forefront of this technology, come and see us in Texas, Oct. 16–17, at Itron Utility Week.


How Your Advanced Utilities Monitoring System Can Benefit from Real-time Data and Over-the-Air Updates

If you work in the energy sector, integrating smart grid technology is among the most positive and disruptive changes that your company can make. A streamlined, integrated grid will track each of the renewable generation source's energy production levels in real time, which makes it easier to monitor your company’s entire system from one central location.

To vastly improve your advanced utilities monitoring system, you can update your smart meters and remote controlled grid systems with Over-the-Air (OTA) updates. When you configure your smart grid to receive OTA updates, you save time and maintenance costs. This ensures that your system is always secure and running the latest firmware. The days of manually updating your advanced utilities monitoring system are officially over

Updating Hardware and Firmware
When integrating meters and remote monitoring grid systems onto a smart grid, it is key to connect hardware and firmware. By integrating a module with a monitoring platform and configuring the platform for future updates, the system will run smoothly. To keep the process simple, it is important to unify the separate modules and monitoring platforms for each meter or grid device.

Advantages of OTA Updates
When you integrate these components into a single, end-to-end system and maintain your firmware with OTA updates, your grid remains secure. OTA updates to complete every modification on your system over a secure cellular connection allowing you to spend less time manually maintaining your advanced utilities monitoring system. This allows you to identify potential problems within seconds. With one interface, you can experience faster smart grid integration, which means that you can deploy your new system at a more rapid pace.

Real-Time Monitoring Means a Faster Response
Power grids tend to be clustered, with hundreds or even thousands of data points to monitor daily. Without real-time monitoring, hours are added to the process. Instead, when you fully integrate your smart grid with real-time monitoring, you can receive and process this data in a matter of seconds. This lets you respond to outages quickly, without the need to go through a third party to see and respond to your data. This process occurs on a rapid timescale—mere seconds instead of minutes or hours.

How to Build an Advanced Monitoring System Connected to Smart Grid 
Power panels are sensitive. Mechanical failures happen frequently and this fragile equipment requires regular maintenance, so you need to know exactly what’s happening in real time. Using cellular module firmware and alarm/event management, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to build your own advanced monitoring system for your smart grid. Alarms will notify you of any changes in your panels, delivering a bird’s eye view of your entire system on one platform. Since these features are encompassed within a single system, you can quickly see whether the problem is a module issue, a network issue or simply a weather issue.

With OTA updates included, you’ll never have to worry about whether you’re running the latest firmware on your smart grid, and you won’t have to start from scratch when you update your system with new technological advances.

Start with Sierra to create your own advanced utilities monitoring system.


Powering Women in Utilities

The work-life balance can be a challenge to manage, but as with any difficult situation, Samantha Ettus has proven it is better with pie. Ettus tackles the difficulty of juggling work and life goals in her book, “The Pie Life,” which she will discuss at the Women in Utilities Reception on Oct. 16 at Itron Utility Week.

Ettus, renowned work-life wellness expert and bestselling author, will introduce a detailed plan about managing the competing demands of work and personal life. Incorporating stories of hundreds of women from Shonda Rhimes to Gayle King, Ettus shares secrets about sustaining a thriving personal and professional life at the same time.

I look forward to sharing the stage with this known champion of gender equality. If you haven’t seen it already, I encourage you to watch her TED Talk where she highlighted the segmentation of careers for men and women based on gender stereotypes.

“As champions of potential the universal mistake we are making is the gender stereotyping of boys and girls.” Ettus’s words are applicable for all individuals, encouraging men to be artists, chefs and creators and women to be doctors, entrepreneurs and leaders. For women in the utility industry, this topic addresses an unfortunate lack of women engineers, executives and innovators that has existed for more than 40 years.

Itron’s own Annette Gardiner, vice president of gas and strategic development, reflected on this divide in a blog earlier this month, saying there is still much work to be done to advocate and champion for women in the industry. In the United States, only 5 percent of the boards in the top 200 global utilities include women. This discussion comes at a time when the utility industry employs less women than even the tech industry.

As a female executive in the utility industry, I believe that our company must be powered by both men and women who create achievable goals in all areas of their lives. To equip you with the tools to succeed, Ettus and I will discuss balancing commitments to work, life and community, while also discussing techniques to combat gendered assumptions.


SAP and Itron Delivering Digital Transformation in Utilities

SAP is a Gold Sponsor of Itron’s Utility Week in Houston, Oct. 15-17.  Below is a brief overview of what we will be showcasing. Please visit the SAP and Itron IEE MDM booths at this event for more details.

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” —Charles Darwin

In recent months, press and utility trade articles have covered digital transformation and why utilities need to transform their core business technology. Companies understand that this dynamic is crucial for them ensure their survival, but according the SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study, only 3 percent of companies have completed transformation projects. In this study, successful projects show common characteristics.

According to the article, “leaders invest more heavily in next-gen technologies, especially big data and analytics, the Internet of Things and machine learning. They do so using a bimodal architecture so that they can make their core infrastructure more effective and cost efficient while quickly incorporating innovations and new technologies to get ahead of the competition.”

Meter Data is Key

Meter data solutions are the lifeblood of a utility —they allow utilities to bill customers and generate revenue—but the data has so much more potential value if only it could be unlocked by the platform technology on which it resides. Existing platforms limit reporting and analytic capability, preventing utilities from addressing their pressing operational and customer satisfaction issues efficiently. Instead, they are addressed with architectural workarounds and point solutions causing increased latency, data redundancy and hindered flexibility.

To enable utilities to transform their digital core, exploit the power of their meter data and implement new initiatives, SAP and Itron have partnered to deliver the Itron Enterprise Edition TM (IEE) Meter Data Management (MDM) solution powered on SAP HANA®. This will not only provide the core of next-generation MDM solutions, but it will allow utilities to utilize the power of data that is locked up in their current MDM solution.

The Digital Utility Challenge

Meter data no longer serves a single purpose to support customer billing. It can be used for real-time analysis to forecast and balance load, monitor and improve energy efficiency and reliability, optimize energy portfolio profitability, and much more. Additionally, it can be used by customers in new ways, enabling capabilities like bill analysis and rate scenario modeling, resulting in improved customer control of their energy costs and ultimately higher customer satisfaction.

As new technologies are introduced into the utility like smart street lights, distribution system reclosers, transformer monitoring and a myriad of monitoring and controllable IoT devices, the volume, velocity and variety of data will increase exponentially. This places a tremendous load on existing platforms that are barely coping with AMI data today. Existing platforms are limited in:

  1. Data Ingestion: In large meter environments, the underlying DB cannot handle the volume of data coming into the system at current rates. Some utilities would like to increase this rate and add new digital/IoT devices, thereby compounding the issue.
  2. Data Capacity: Traditional transactional systems have their limitations for the size of data that can be efficiently handled.
  3. Data Analytics: Data needs to be replicated to secondary data stores/warehouses, which creates not only time delays but significantly increases infrastructure and management costs.

Figure 1: The Digital Utility

Meter Data Management applications, such as IEE MDM, have traditionally operated as standalone applications focused on core functions like data ingestion, data validation and storage, and data calculations for billing.  Those core functions are no longer sufficient to meet a utility’s business needs.  Now, utilities need to combine meter data with other data sources (customer, asset, geospatial, etc.) to address the expectations of their customers and to meet increasingly demanding regulatory requirements.  As the need for these additional capabilities emerge, the only solution has been to make redundant copies of the meter data outside of the current platform, which cannot handle this additional load. Those siloed solutions tend to separate operational and analytical functions.

  1. Operational: Due to platform limitations, some utilities run two or more MDM systems to handle the ingestion volume from the AMI—even more data silos will be created for smart grids, demand response systems, etc.
  2. Analytical: To meet operational requirements, data is replicated out to various warehousing solutions for reporting.

Unfortunately, this approach adds solution complexity and cost and is fraught with issues related to data transformation (multiple versions of the truth) and batch processing latency (daily/weekly/monthly).  As data volumes and processing demands only increase with IoT expansion, those siloed operational and analytical components become unmanageable; a single platform solution that meets both requirements simultaneously with low speed and agility is needed.

What is SAP HANA?

SAP HANA is an in-memory, streaming, transactional and analytics data platform that enables accelerated business processes, greater business intelligence and a simplified IT environment. By providing the foundation for a utility’s data needs, SAP HANA removes the burden of maintaining separate legacy systems and siloed data. Utilities can run live and leverage information that enables more effective business decisions in the new digital economy.

Figure 2: SAP HANA Platform

SAP HANA is the market-leading platform that can eliminate redundant data silos.  It allows utilities to transact, store and analyze data in one place; something that was previously desired, but not feasible. Once data is centralized and integrated on a highly scalable and adaptable platform, advanced analytical applications can be built to address spatial, predictive and streaming data use cases on a single platform without the need for incremental data silo investment.

When implemented, SAP HANA will introduce significant savings for utilities and allow them to unleash the power of their meter data, while ensuring they have the platform that will meet their future data volume needs.

Why SAP and Itron?

Both SAP and Itron are committed to increasing the efficiency of our customers.  We believe that evolving software solutions are higher-value assets that will enable utilities to become more efficient. Together, SAP and Itron can offer a solution to meet existing analytic requirements and a platform for future initiatives. IEE MDM and SAP HANA will enable utilities to initiate their digital transformation journey, thereby eliminating data silos, driving cost and complexity out of the meter-to-cash scenarios, improving operational efficiency and providing real-time advanced analytical capabilities—all on a single platform.

Figure 3: SAP / Itron Value Proposition

SAP HANA is the market-leading, enterprise-ready transactional and analytics platform that meets the needs of next generation digital and metering solutions. IEE MDM is the market leading meter-agnostic, AMI and traditionally read meter data management solution serving 38 million of meters in the field today. Together, these solutions we will help utilities reduce costs and transform to meet the needs of the digital era.

Itron Utility Week

SAP is a Gold Sponsor of Itron Utility Week in Houston, Oct. 15-17. Visit the SAP and IEE MDM booths at this event for more details.

  • SAP Booth: Please join us at the SAP booth in the Knowledge Center to see and discuss the solution in more detail or schedule time with SAP executives.
  • Itron IEE MDM Booth: The staff at the Itron IEE MDM booth will be available to discuss roadmaps, implementation, etc.
  • Session: SAP and Itron will discuss the Itron IEE MDM on SAP HANA solution in a breakout session titled “Update on IEE MDM Support for SAP HANA Database” on Monday, Oct. 16 from 1:15-2 p.m. in Liberty A&B.

Additional Resources


5 Ways to Help Houston on Your Trip to IUW

Technology advancements have forever changed the way we communicate, and through social media, we’re more connected than ever. In times of crisis, this always-connected world is able to see firsthand what is happening in communities around the world that are most affected.

But technology is only a means to our connections with one another. We have an innate drive to help others in need during times of crisis. We can easily identify and empathize with those experiencing the tragedies and aftermath of a natural disaster.

As we head to Houston for Itron Utility Week, we hope you will join us in our efforts to contribute to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast and communities in and around Houston.

  1. Build American Red Cross comfort kits with us at an Itron-hosted volunteer event at IUW.

We are partnering up with the Red Cross to build 2,500 personal hygiene kits for Houston. Why kits? More than 200,000 homes lost power, 40,000 have been evacuated to shelters and 360,000 have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The need to rebuild and return the displaced back home is still very much ongoing.

We will be packing some of the basic necessities that community members need (e.g., toothbrushes, toiletries and other personal hygiene items). If you’re attending IUW and would like to help, we welcome and encourage the extra hands. We will have four 1.5-hour shifts for 50 volunteers per session on Sunday, Oct. 15. You can sign up here or through the IUW app.

  1. Find other volunteer opportunities via VolunteerHouston.org.

There are many local and ongoing volunteer efforts that are available through the Volunteer Houston Organization website. This organization helps connect people with their passions and works with local agencies within the community to post daily, weekly and monthly opportunities based on need. You can sign-up to volunteer within the website and find an opportunity that fits your interest and schedule. Help is always needed.

  1. Don’t have time to volunteer? Make an impact with donations.

Donate to the American Red Cross by texting HARVEY to 90999 to give $10 or donate any amount via their website, give to the Greater Houston Community Foundation or use your Delta SkyMiles to support disaster relief efforts.

  1. Give blood.

Blood banks across the country have asked for donations because of the impacts of recent hurricanes. Texas hospitals experienced severe impacts of blood shortages while taking in those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. If you have time on this trip, you can visit a local blood drive or head to a donation center.

  1. Support the local economy.

Help out Houstonians by shopping, dining and playing locally. Food is at the heart of this city. Skip the chains and give to the community by exploring the local cuisine before and after the conference. Options like Treebeards, BB’s Cafe, Hubcap Grill and Public Services Wine and Whiskey are all worth a visit, to name a few.

There are also many attractions to explore, from the Space Center Houston to the robust sports culture. Two words: The Beard. The Houston Rockets will be in town on Oct. 13 and 21, and you could watch alongside some passionate fans in a local sports bar as they battle the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 17 from afar (after the IUW closing reception, of course).

We want you to enjoy your time in Houston and join our mission to give to this city hosting us. Whether you volunteer between sessions, give dollars via donations or food experiences, or walk around to discover the downtown architecture, we thank you for joining us as we work to create more resourceful communities.

 

https://vimeo.com/234680563


Disruption Ahead

Thomas Edison would have no trouble recognizing most of the component parts in any electrical generation and distribution network today. The technology that made the electrical utility cutting edge in the late 1800s is still an optimal solution. But, that is changing quickly. Electrical utilities are on the cusp of a disruptive redesign. When this is done, what emerges will have more in common with the Jetsons than with filament light bulbs.

The Other Side of Disruption

Trends are easier to embrace when they are described in the form of a user experience, so imagine this: Today’s personal assistant (Siri… or Cortana or Alexa, depending on your loyalties) expands into every device with a microprocessor, including utility monitoring, television, computers and cars. A whole-home personal assistant exists to offload the minutia of your life.

Let’s apply this scenario to the electric grid where energy companies are deploying time of use energy pricing that more accurately reflects the true cost of energy. This also means that consumers may want adjust their thermostat by a couple of degrees to take advantage of demand response incentives. But consumers won’t have to worry about doing it themselves thanks to the home personal assistant. Responding to demand response signals is offloaded to the assistant to handle.

It’s So Much More Than a Smart Thermostat

The home personal assistant does something much more intelligent than simply turning the thermostat up or down based on pricing provided by the energy company. First, it looks at the changing consumption of electricity, water and security sensors to decide whether you are home. If you are not, it has greater flexibility in the acceptable temperature. Having estimated the thermal efficiency of the home from external datasets, it decides how best to modify the temperature through the day. By shifting cooling on hot days into the early hours, it can use the reservoir of cooler air to reduce energy consumption at peak cost hours in the evening.

But this assistant isn’t just about keeping your energy costs low. It will also protect your home and family. It can use methane sensors to detect gas leaks and CO sensors to look for incomplete gas combustion. It can use advanced electrical meters to look for excessive loads indicating the potential for an electrical fire. It can use smart water meters to detect a significant water leak and allow it to be shut off even when you are at work or at the beach. The whole-home personal assistant and its associated IoT sensors infuses every aspect of the utility experience.

This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Utility Any Longer

Hidden in this description is evidence of several significant trends. Data that was previously held in utility silos will also be fused with other datasets to enable personal assistants to act broadly on the consumer’s behalf. Personal assistants will talk to consumers on behalf of utilities. Finally, smart meters are no longer just about billing. They are about delivering data at high resolution that permits analysis and actionable understanding.

Thomas Edison was ahead of his time in the creation of the first electric utilities, but that era is about to be disrupted. Your Siris, Alexas and Cortanas, and the datasets that feed them, will usher in the next era in electricity and utility services.


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