Celebrating Breakthrough Innovations with the Itron Developer Program – Submit Your Nomination Today

For many years, the model for innovation in our industry was based on a reactive case-by-case basis. A utility or city would recognize a need and then source partners in search of a solution. In creating our Partner Enablement Team and the Itron Developer Program, Itron’s mission is to drive proactive development of solutions in anticipation of industry challenges much earlier in the process. We do this by providing access to necessary enabling technology and support resources for developers and customers alike. We also invest in recruiting best-in-breed solution providers to join the Itron ecosystem.

Embracing an open approach to developer enablement, the Itron Developer Program drives rapid innovation by equipping developers with the resources they need to bring solutions to market. Providing developers with access to tools, a rich library of data streams, communications modules and intelligent edge devices through an open platform, the Itron Developer Program creates an environment where utilities, cities and developers can collaborate to enable a vibrant ecosystem of solutions.

With this new approach to innovation, many Itron customers are creating and deploying breakthrough solutions to improve resource efficiencies, enhance safety or connect communities. The second annual Itron Innovator Award will recognize one of these innovative utilities or cities that has taken advantage of a partner-created solution or the developer program itself. Nominate an Itron customer here and learn more about the Itron Developer Program here.

Public Utilities Fortnightly Recognizes Itron Among Top Innovators in 2019

This November, Public Utilities Fortnightly released its Top Innovators 2019, and recognized the collaboration between Itron, New Cosmos and Con Edison as one of the top innovations of 2019. This year’s Top Innovators recognized nearly 140 innovators from 46 qualifying nominations.

Itron, New Cosmos and Con Edison collaborated to develop and deploy nine thousand battery-powered smart natural gas detectors in New York. The smart devices were developed by New Cosmos with Itron’s Milli™ 5 battery-optimized communications module and operate on Con Edison’s Industrial IoT network from Itron.

Operating on Itron’s secure, standards-based network, the natural gas detector sounds an audible alarm if it detects natural gas in the atmosphere where the device is installed to alert anyone nearby. In the case of a leak, the device will also immediately communicate with the utility, which will respond with a crew(s) and notify the local fire department so they can respond and investigate. The alarm, which includes a voice recording that advises building occupants to evacuate, will continue to sound until the utility silences the unit. Learn more about the deployment in this video.

Itron is honored to be a part of this innovative collaboration with New Cosmos and Con Edison.

Bring Your Smart City Solution to Life with Itron

Itron has invited IoT developers to submit their solutions to the inaugural Itron Smart City Challenge. The Smart City Challenge will bring together leading IoT technology providers to tackle the challenges some of the biggest cities in Europe are facing today.

These challenges have been designed by city leaders with the goal of identifying breakthrough solutions that enhance citizen well-being, while improving operational efficiencies and creating a more resourceful world. There is still time to submit your IoT solution! The deadline to apply is Jan. 4, 2019.

Europe’s premier technology accelerator program for smart city innovators will include the cities of Glasgow and London in its inaugural cohort. We are recruiting technology providers to help solve a key set of business and societal challenges within each community:

  • Glasgow: Improve the experience for residents and visitors during high traffic events
    The City of Glasgow is one of the world’s top sporting cities and a major destination for conferences and concerts. Many thousands of people come to the city on a regular basis to experience its year-round calendar of events. However, this brings significant challenges in getting people safely and conveniently around the city to their location. It also impacts the lives of residents and the local business community in terms of pressures upon the public transport system and connectivity to retail destinations in particular. In order to maintain its position as a top destination and attract even more visitors, Glasgow needs to look innovatively at how best it can manage large scale events and the movements of such large numbers of people and ensure that their experience and that of our resident and business communities is a positive one.
  • London: Enhance safety along the River Thames in central London
    London has opted to focus on improving safety along the River Thames in central London. The City of London would like to find new ways to improve river safety through technology to meet the city’s safety and health priorities. Due to the life-threatening nature of river entries, the city is seeking solutions that accelerate emergency response times and that protect citizens by ensuring the availability of safety equipment when it is needed.

Technology providers will leverage Itron’s open IoT platform and developer tools to prototype new smart city solutions. The winning companies will receive product engineering assistance, marketing and promotional support, and an opportunity to deploy their solution in a real-world environment.

Are you – or is someone you know – ready to step up to challenge? Review additional information and sign up here.

IoT World Continued: Partner Engagement Demonstrated During IoT Live! Tour

In last week’s blog post, we highlighted what we said on stage during IoT World. This week, we’re going to discuss how our partners helped us showcase the technology that has made Itron a leading provider of IoT technology.

During the IoT Live! tour at our booth, we showcased significant, real products and services that were developed in collaboration with our partners. Ten different Itron partners exhibited how they use our technology to integrate third-party devices and software applications to drive innovations within energy, water and smart cities. We also demonstrated our smart grid and smart city management technology.

Here’s what was exhibited on the tour:

Operational Technology Solutions (OTS), an Australian-based utility solution provider, demonstrated power monitoring on an electricity distribution network. This solution monitors voltage, current and temperature to detect outages and alert operators to a fault location. This works with other OTS sensors such as the transformer monitor and the demand management controller for air conditioners and pool pumps.

Databuoy, a sensor network system developer, exhibited acoustic gunshot detection. This solution sends automated notifications about gunfire in less than one second as well as reports the exact time and location of the shot. This impactful technology resolves bullet trajectory and caliber, as well as multiple shooters. Itron’s Itai Dadon, director of IoT product management, demonstrated how this works during our CEO Philip Mezey’s keynote presentation.

SWIM.AI, an edge computing company, demonstrated how it collaborates with Itron’s sensors to provide real-time insights to traffic flows using edge analytics. This technology analyzes streaming data at the edge, minimizing costly backhaul communications and reducing communications to critical events. It also utilizes machine learning to predict future behavior.

D-tect Systems, a radiation and chemical detection company, exhibited how it uses Itron’s sensors to detect radiation levels at facilities such as nuclear power plants and hospitals and provides immediate alerts via SMS.

eLichens, an air quality sensing startup, showed how it enables high-resolution monitoring and forecasting of CH4 and CO2 with a miniaturized NDIR gas sensor. This can detect gas leaks in 30 to 90 seconds and accurately senses air pollution within 10 meters.
Communithings, an IoT company pioneering smart parking, exhibited how it uses Itron’s intelligent edge devices to improve city parking. The smart parking solution improves the enforcement of citations, accurately detects vehicles and integrates with any camera.

Citilog, a video-based automatic detection system, displayed how its smart streetlighting gathers traffic analytics to monitor roadways and retail locations while providing real-time data to traffic management and transportation systems. This technology saves energy and improves safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Omron, a global leader in automation-based technology, displayed how it obtains earthquake-related information from its sensor by communicating with external devices to alert utility companies when to shutdown services during seismic activity.

Aeroqual, an air-quality monitoring company, demonstrated how it uses our sensors to identify pollution trends and historical patterns using air quality sensors and SLV, our smart city management platform, for real-time data visualization.

Utility Systems Science & Software, a Utility monitoring and control company, demonstrated monitoring wastewater, storm and flood water, integrating the information to the City SCADA and GIS systems using OpenWay Riva.

We also featured our Developer Program, as well as available hardware development kits, APIs and reference applications. Our Developer Program helps solution providers accelerate time-to-market by providing developers with the tools they need to integrate smart devices, sensors and applications with the Itron network.

Thank you to everyone to stopped by our IoT Live! Tour during IoT World this year! Missed IoT World? Be sure to check out our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds to learn more about our role in the future of IoT.

IoT World 2018: Itron Leaders Share IoT Insights During Industry Event

The IoT industry is evolving quickly, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. GSMA Intelligence projects that the IoT market will be worth $1.1 trillion in revenue by 2025 as market value pivots from connectivity and applications to platforms and services.

Itron recently participated in IoT World 2018 where we shared some of the insights we’ve gained while deploying more than 190 million intelligent devices around the globe. We had two keynotes and four speaking sessions and panel engagements during the four-day event, which drew 12,000 industry leaders ready to transform the world through IoT.

Here are some highlights:

In his keynote presentation, Philip Mezey, Itron president and CEO, shared how the utility industry has been at the forefront of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), connecting millions of devices over the last several decades. He also delved into the importance of having an IIoT network based on standards because interoperability between many vendors and many applications essential to maximizing the value of the IIoT.

Philip and Itron’s director of IoT product management, Itai Dadon, showed attendees how IIoT really works in a live demo of a gunshot detection solution that utilizes Itron’s network technology integrated with acoustic sensors from Itron’s partner Databuoy. This solution sends automated notifications about gunfire in less than one second while automatically reporting the exact time and location of the shot. Itai simulated a gunshot by clapping his hands loudly near an Itron-connected smart streetlight on stage, which sent a text message alert about the “gunshot” to Philip in real-time.

During her keynote talk on driving IIoT innovation, Sharelynn Moore, Itron’s senior vice president of networked solutions, shared how Itron works with utility companies across the globe to modernize electric, gas and water systems to ensure these resources are delivered safely, securely and efficiently. She also shared an example of the smart grid in action during Hurricane Harvey last year. Houston’s CenterPoint Energy—which services 5 million metered customers across six states—was able to use smart grid technology to identify outages and restore power to residents quicker during the hurricane. With the help of Itron’s network, CenterPoint Energy avoided an estimated 45 million outage minutes for its customers by remotely locating and isolating faults and rerouting power.

Dan Evans, director of product management at Itron, joined a panel of industry experts to discuss engaging in the smart cities journey. He shared how our Partner Ecosystem program has helped us develop partnerships needed to build successful and scalable smart cities. He also shared views on the importance of collaborating to support diverse pilot projects, which are critical in achieving Itron’s smart city vision.

Todd Thayer, director of technical enablement at Itron, and Mark Anderson, CTO at Operational Technology Solutions (OTS), presented on considerations of bringing an IoT product to life from ideation to commercialization. OTS is an Australian-based utility solution provider that develops innovative smart grid devices that improve situational awareness and system uptime. They discussed the process of working within Itron’s Developer Program to deliver an IoT-connected line monitor that automatically detects faults in a utility’s electricity distribution network to accelerate outage response. Todd discussed how unlocking the value of IoT requires collaboration and how the market is too vast for one company to tackle it alone. Mark talked about how the Itron Developer Program provides OTS with developer tools and support to help them deliver new product from concept to field trials in less than 8-weeks.

During “Multi-Service Networks as a Shared and Marketable Asset,” Ty Roberts, Itron’s vice president of product marketing, talked about new ways to make the most of utility infrastructure investments. He focused on the considerations of opening utility communication networks to other entities in shared business models for increased grid reliability, safety and lower cost of ownership. Ty also discussed the evolving role of utilities as essential service providers and new opportunities to leverage multi-tenant networks to support additional revenue streams such as smart streetlights, water and gas metering, and other smart city applications.

Thank you to all who attended our speaking sessions at IoT World! Don’t miss our IoT World 2018 Recap, part 2, where we will dive into how we worked with our partners to showcase how together, we’re creating a more resourceful world.

Transforming in the IoT Space

The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) age has changed the way many industries—including Itron—engage with customers. In this new era, it’s all about content, telling a story, solving challenging problems and having a call to action. We want to take our customers on a journey and reveal how our solutions open doors to new outcomes, new possibilities—and even greater results.

For many years, Itron’s customers were primarily electricity, gas and water utilities. Now, Itron is working with city leaders, utilities (both in our traditional sense and with an eye for business transformation and new revenue streams) and a vast ecosystem of partners, with complementary technologies and some that delve into adjacent markets—all of which require a different marketing strategy than one focused solely on the traditional utility space. Just as digital transformation has reshaped what we do, our customers want to be educated and exposed to a different way of thinking.

While I’ve been at Itron for 18 years—starting in legal, moving to engineering and spending the last eight years in corporate marketing—it has been really exciting to see the shift in our industry as we market around smarter cities. We all want to live in cities where parking spots are easily located, streetlights intelligently illuminate our path and provide additional safety and security, air quality information is analyzed and assessed, waste is monitored, and our overall experience throughout the range of city services is just… Connected. Effortless. Intuitive. However, building these cities and the technology to connect them takes time, commitment and collaboration. From a marketing perspective, we need real-world proof points, thoughtful and engaging content, and creative visuals to demonstrate the feasibility and innovation of smart cities.

I have found that the key to success in the field of IoT marketing is a healthy mix of technical knowledge and brand equity. My tenure here has helped me understand Itron’s technology, but I also love that I get to be creative and work with a creative team. As a project manager at heart, the best part of my day is sitting at the table with designers and ensuring that big ideas are distilled into organized, achievable plans. And as the industry has shifted to engage the IoT, we in corporate marketing have learned to adapt, too.

Recently, I was honored to be recognized as one of Connected World’s top 10 Women of IoT Marketing for 2018. Receiving this award prompted me to take a moment to remember how I got here and what it means to promote and market a brand in the world of the IoT. This world of technology is vast and while it is appealing to dive deep into every detail of a solution, corporate marketers must simultaneously represent specific technologies and speak broadly about the company they represent.

I love the work I do every day. Although our marketing strategy and methods are changing, my passion for what I do remains the same. As Itron continues to grow and transform, so will our marketing strategy. I am excited to see what comes next.

Don’t Miss Itron and #IoTLive at #IoTWorld

Itron is excited to yet again be participating and exhibiting at this year’s IoT World at the Santa Clara Convention Center on May 14-17. This event brings in about 12,000 leaders and innovators in the IoT space to discuss and display the top technologies, strategies and case studies for industries impacted by IoT.

At IoT World, we will exhibit our latest IoT, smart city and partner capabilities as part of our #IoTLive event at booth #510. Stop by for a demo and to get an IoT Live! tour t-shirt.

Our demos can help you learn more about how leveraging data-driven insights that can improve resource efficiencies, improve safety and connect communities in innovative ways through a proven, powerful IoT network. We’ll exhibit Itron technology in parallel with our partners to highlight how they enable utilities to safely, efficiently and reliably deliver vital infrastructure services to communities across the globe.

The capabilities and partners we’ll be exhibiting include:

  • Air quality sensor from Aeroqual;
  • Gas leak detection sensor from eLichens;
  • Traffic counting camera from Axis Communications and Citilog;
  • Seismic monitoring by Omron with Itron's GasGate demonstrating remote gas disconnect;
  • Wastewater monitoring and alerting from US Cubed;
  • Distributed intelligence from SWIM.AI;
  • Gunshot detection from Databuoy;
  • Smart parking by CommuniThings;
  • Transformer monitoring and line sensors by Operational Technology Solutions; and,
  • Radiation detection from D-tect Systems.

We’ll also feature our Developer Program, as well as available hardware development kits, APIs and reference applications. The Itron Developer Program helps accelerate integration of our open, standards-based network with new applications for Industrial IoT, smart utilities and smart cities.

Itron executives will also participate in several presentations covering an array of topics—from multi-application networks to smart city technology to multi-service networks as assets. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for their presentations and keynotes as you prepare your agenda for the event:

Can’t make it to #IoTWorld? Be sure to follow us on our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn during the show to see how we’re teaching attendees how to #beresourceful at #IoTLive!

What Does Itron Idea Labs Do?

Imagine you are planning a trip from point A to point B to get there as quickly as possible in your car where you must arrive at a specific time for a meeting. You plan the fastest route, reduce the weight you are carrying, minimize the rest stops you take and maximize your fuel consumption as much as possible. The day of your trip, you walk out and find that your car has a flat tire only to face road delays and to run out of gas. Then your phone battery dies, leaving you clueless as how to get where you’re going. What do you do at this point?

A. Light the car on fire and head for the nearest happy hour.

B. Kick the car tire, curse and call a cab to take you home.

C. Regroup, recharge that phone, fix that tire and keep going. Better late, then never!

Now imagine being charged with accelerating business ideas from concept to product release. Do you have a viable business before you spend money and cycles developing it? Is your product something customers need and are willing to pay for? You want to give customer your product quickly with minimal features to see if it meets their needs, can it be better and THEN develop the final product. This is Lean Startup thinking, Agile product development and smart business practice! These are operating principles we follow in Itron Idea Labs to evaluate and develop new business models for Itron.

Some common terms used in Itron Idea Labs are Lean Startup, Agile development, Minimum Viable Product and entrepreneurial spirit. What do these principles mean and how does Itron Idea Labs utilize them to the benefit of Itron?

There will always be unseen obstacles to disrupt your best plan or idea as in the trip example above. You can’t plan for everything or anticipate what will impede your progress. You will falter. But, if you change your approach, you may find that you succeed with a new business, new product and STILL make that happy hour to celebrate!

Stay up-to-date on Itron Idea Labs by following the Itron Idea Labs showcase page on LinkedIn!

Leaving Las Vegas @CES 2017

It is day four at CES and almost time to leave. It’s the King’s birthday, my twentieth time at CES, during CES’s 50th anniversary, and a great day to be here.  An interesting day for anyone interested in numerology.

I want to close this series with a summary of what Itron Idea Labs showed at CES. We focused on demonstrating Industrial IoT with nine live action stations on one OpenWay network. Each of them had the canonical IoT architecture: The network, cloud intelligence, sensors and controls back to the endpoints. In addition, each system demonstrated could perform actions with local computation—true Edge computing.

We showed a miniature water distribution system with leak detectors, pressure sensors and a valve to apply a leak. We had an EV charging station, a gas pipeline with a leak sensor that closes a gas gate when it detects a leak. We even has a miniature house that shakes and a gas gate that closes when a seismic detector detects an earthquake.

Let’s take the rest of the day off and start thinking what to show at CES 2018 on Monday!

In Search of Machine Intelligence @CES 2017

Day three at CES. I was on a mission to find machine intelligence, not a product but an ingredient technology. I was expecting to see it embedded in a variety of products and applications on the show floor, but I have seen less than expected. So here is my prediction: We’ll see more machine intelligence in the coming years.

In the meantime, here are some of the cool things that I did see. I’ll skip the self-driving cars since I already mentioned them in yesterday’s blog. I saw both hardware and software face recognition and tracking. One of them consuming only a few milliwatts. I saw Cortana in Nissan cars, which gives all the assistant features in the car and helps with navigation and driving actions. Sanbot showed an assistant robot that helps in healthcare, classroom, etc. For example, the assistant can talk and help you when you check-in at a doctor’s office. I touched its head and held its hand and it showed me a heart on the display on its body.

Nvidia showed an AI co-pilot that recognizes the driver, reads her lips, tracks her gaze, communicates with the driver in plain English, warning about bikes, etc. It will also probably be able to recognize if the driver is tired or distracted to prevent accidents. It certainly beats the backseat drivers in my car!

I wanted to look for machine intelligence because I think it is going to become more and more important in our world and for Itron. We have several projects related to machine intelligence underway. Two of them turned into products in 2016 and will start shipping in 2017.

Our first product, the Solar Gate, not only measures energy produced from a solar panel and consumed in a house, but it also diagnoses the solar panel, taking into account weather, tariffs, occupancy and other parameters. It optimizes home energy consumption by timing EV charging, storage, pool pump, etc.

Our other product identifies, with nearly 100 percent accuracy, on which phase and to which transformers homes are connected to. This is important to electric utilities. And, the beauty is the machine learning algorithms only needs voltage information from the electric meters, no expensive and inconvenient field labor.

I’d say, given what I saw on the show floor, Itron is tracking with some of the best companies here at CES.

The Connected World and Autonomous Cars @CES 2017

Day two at CES was all about the cars—self-driving cars—a.k.a. Autonomous Vehicles (AV). AVs will change transportation as we know it by creating a different consumer experience and new business models.

Safer cars and fewer accidents are the first in a line of benefits. Sending my car to pick up my kids at school will be necessary after the first time I do it. AVs have the potential to bring a better way of owning cars, easier ways to rent, and crowdsourced carpools and busses.

After talking to some friends in the industry, I am convinced that we’ll see hundreds of thousands of cars in the street by 2020. My youngest kid won’t need a driver’s license.

I have seen that Nvidia and Audi are partnering to bring a driverless car to market. There is a new use for GPUs after computer games and smartphone displays. Also at CES, Microsoft announced its Connected Vehicle vision, which supports the consumer’s desire to save time, get more done and stay connected.

But guess what, Itron can have a play in the space. Enter: Itron Idea Labs. Stay tuned for Itron idea Labs projects in 2017 that will include AVs in the connected world (i.e., a dedicated HOV lane, perhaps a connection to traffic lights, awareness of street conditions, temperature, etc.). This means that there is a tight connection between AVs and Smart Cities. As we build more OpenWay IoT infrastructure in cities and we connect more sensors to the network, we’ll have the ability to connect AVs to the environment through our network.

I can’t predict how many AVs will ship in 2020, but at least one to my house!

Virtual Reality, Tech, Tools and Smart Energy and Water @CES 2017

CES day one. It’s been a crazy day of taking in the latest and greatest gadgets and technology in Las Vegas. As usual, I’ve geeked out as much as possible. I was expecting that VR would be big this year and I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite takeaway of the day is the remarkable leap virtual and augmented reality is taking—from the lab to the mainstream. CES organizers say AR/VR exhibitors are up 48 percent from last year.

With AR/VR, the user experience can be entertaining, informative, instructional and affordable. Most of the industry is looking at games as enabling apps (i.e. Samsung, Google, HTC, Sony, Qualcomm, and Intel). It is going to happen, no question. Even though current products can be considered primitive.

Today, the AR/VR application that is available and making money is in the industrial sector. And there are some companies demonstrating it. Itron is one of them. Itron Idea Labs is demonstrating augmented reality applications, along with Itron Riva platform and energy and water applications, at the Venetian in suite 30-320 as part of CES this year.

We’re showing AR for training water pipe field techs. The idea is that field techs can use encoded instructions to help them troubleshoot issues on site. Water trainees often forget which way to turn a valve, or which valve is the one to be turned. An AR prompt can help avoid any errors in the field.

Oh and check me out in my VR glasses. Pretty cool, huh?

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