This year, we added new Big Picture sessions to the Itron Utility Week line up. The thought-provoking sessions were led by industry leaders and focused on technology trends and business drivers shaping utilities of the future. We planned these sessions to encourage audience participation and engagement and they proved to do just that!

One of the sessions took a look at the question, “What Will the Utility Business Model Look Like in 2025?” The session was moderated and led by Rick Thompson, president of Greentech Media. Our lineup of panelists included, Michel Gevry, vice president global utilities deputy leader, CapGemini; Mike Vogl, deputy director of customer support, City of San Diego Public Utilities Department; Rodger Schwecke, vice president customer solutions, Sempra, and Roger Woodworth, vice president and chief strategy officer, Avista.

To start off the session, Thompson asked the panelists how they thought the utility business model would look in 10 years. While the model will be slightly different for electricity, gas and water utilities, all panelists agreed that the industry as a whole will be more distributed, but also more integrated. Additionally, they all noted an increased focus on customer relationships with two-way communication and open dialog.

Another topic discussed during the session focused on the biggest challenges the utility industry faces. A main challenge sighted was time and speed of adoption. The panelists noted that multiple aspects of the industry including technology and customer expectations are rapidly changing at a rate that industry regulation and adoption cannot keep pace with.

The panelists also discussed key technology advances for the industry. It was noted that data management and analytics technology will have a big impact on the industry, allowing utilities to utilize and interpret data in a meaningful and helpful way.

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