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.

Delivering Intelligent Connectivity: Unlock the Potential of the IIoT

Communities and utilities have a lot to consider when choosing a partner for a digital transformation initiative.

Here at Itron, we are critical infrastructure experts. For decades, we have innovated and delivered integrated technology solutions to enable valuable outcomes for our customers. We start with the “end goal in mind,” serving as a strategic and consultative partner throughout your journey.

Our strategy is simple. We apply intelligent connectivity to unlock the potential of the industrial internet of things. We map best-in-class technologies to business needs based on performance, security and cost. We stand-up for the performance of our solutions over the course of your business initiative. Itron’s open platform enables seamless interoperability across a diverse range of use cases, ensuring solution flexibility. Our multi-generational platform is designed to last for decades – and we are always innovating to create breakthrough use cases through our developer program.

With this proven approach, Itron’s Industrial IoT platform is enabling digital transformation for utilities and cities worldwide.

Watch the video to learn more.

Big Thinking Abounds in Idaho

This past weekend, I took part in the Think Big Festival located in Coeur D' Alene (CDA), Idaho – just a short drive away from Itron’s headquarters in Liberty Lake, Washington. When I first received the invite to the event, I wasn't sure what to expect, since “think big” sort of seemed to fall into the category of using smart as an adjective—overused while underdelivering.

Upon arrival at the block party, hosted on the downtown streets of CDA, my excitement grew as I found signs of real big thinking. The first thing I saw was a large robot that could be used for surgery, and it was actually usable - not just a concept. Beside the surgery robot were both young kids and adults lined up to try the advanced technology by connecting tiny tentacles with rubber bands. As I continued down the street, the whir of small drones and robots filled my ears. The following day was full of different discussions, some in the form of a forum and others one-on-one. Itron Idea Labs’ own Roberto Aiello was on stage discussing the future of smart cities with attendees from a variety of fields, ranging from solar roadways to nuclear microreactors. An interesting startup was looking at the use of a fixed-wing drone as a responder to provide information to first responders.

The festival was inspiring in its ability to really think big with talks focusing on products that can help prevent concussions in football players, virtual environments for doctors to digitally see in real time the changes they are making in surgery, and neurotech looking to enhance physical performance with the use of electricity instead of medicine. Beyond products, I witnessed conversations about life impacting topics such as the improvement of teaching with current and future technology and the place of technology in the medical field.

One of the discussions that I found personally appealing was the discussion of possible culture shifts due to technology. In the same way the internet and smart phone changed our world, there is always more coming. In this panel, they discussed the future of AR and VR. A CDA local that has joined Niantic, the makers of Pokémon Go among other things, had a lot to say about where he saw the technology going in the future, while also connecting that to where we are now.

The festival was nothing short of inspirational and really opened my eyes to what thinking big really means. So often we get stuck in our own worlds and spheres of influence, and seldom take the opportunity to peer out. My eyes were opened to the fact that smart cities are not purely the physical technology we can install in them, but a new way of thinking in how we use our city.

Roberto said it best when he explained that one of the biggest smart city applications, Google Maps, had very little to do with the integration into the city and far more to do with smart integration of the people of that city. New things abound, and forever will – so remember to think big!

Industrial IoT Takes Center Stage at IoT World 2019

Next week, Itron heads to the IoT World Conference and Exhibition hosted May 13-16 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. Throughout the show, Itron will exhibit its latest Industrial IoT (IIoT), smart city, smart utility and developer ecosystem capabilities as well as present in a keynote and educational breakout sessions. Our partners will demonstrate various IIoT applications in the Itron booth, including two new demos from Cleverciti and RWI Synthetics.

Cleverciti, a German company specializing in smart parking solutions, will showcase for the first time how it is utilizing Itron’s IoT Edge Router to integrate its solution with Itron’s networks and enable consumers to find parking in real time. RWI Synthetics utilizes behavioral research and historical data to create synthetic environments, which give cities an opportunity to design human outcomes alongside their trials of sensors, control systems, communication infrastructure and emergency notifications. During his keynote, Philip Mezey, Itron president and CEO, will showcase how cities can utilize these synthetic environments to better design cities for disaster response.

During IoT World 2019, we will also participate in a number of speaking opportunities, covering a wide variety of topics from natural disaster preparedness to the IIoT product development process:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019:

Be sure to visit booth #602 at IoT World to learn more about Itron’s IIoT solutions and growing developer program and partner ecosystem, including:

Innovation in the Age of ‘Smart’ Tech

Recently, I had the honor of speaking at the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting. For those who are unfamiliar with the NGA, it is a bipartisan organization representing our nation’s governors that identifies priority issues and deals with matters of public policy and governance at the state, national and global levels. I took part in a fireside chat that was moderated by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, along with Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert, about the future of smart city technologies and their deployment and applications. It was a tremendous opportunity, both professionally and personally, to speak on topics that I’m so passionate about.

One of the first topics that Governor Burgum brought up for discussion was about how to pinpoint where efficiency problems occur. As I shared during the panel, smart data is part of the solution since it can intelligently target acute problems and smart analytics can better target investments to proactively fix inefficiencies. Smart communities also need to close the gap of information between providers and their customers about the municipal services received and commodities consumed. Citizens are demanding more timely and accurate information, and Itron is working with our customers to help them deliver that. One way to achieve this is to embrace open standards that can unlock innovation and allow other players to come in and present new ways of doing things. It is imperative to create an environment that enables other people to develop ideas, as there is an incredible wealth of innovation that remains to be tapped.

During the panel, I also shared that smart city technology can really take off through early wins that have quick payback and serve as anchor tenants for other technologies. For instance, we have seen this with smart streetlights and re-lamping with LEDs, which are 70 percent more energy efficient. Starting here, cities can create a canopy where other smart technologies can be added that address air quality, traffic management or public safety. Addressing in this manner enables cities to better manage their economic risk by tackling a specific problem and then building outward with other technologies.

Smart communities need a greater focus on resiliency and modernization of systems to be more reliable and better handle disruption—whether natural or manmade. It was a sobering reality for the governors at NGA to learn that 5 to 7 percent of electricity is lost in the electrical distribution system. And 30 percent of water that is put into the water distribution system is lost before it even gets to the end consumer.

Looking ahead, there is much to be done. I applaud NGA for being open and receptive to the tech industry as a partner to help with these challenges, and Itron will continue to be a proud sponsor of NGA’s “Smarter States, Smarter Communities” initiative. I am incredibly enthusiastic about Itron’s role in this future and how we can help improve energy efficiency and create smarter cities and grids.

To watch the full recording on the panel, please visit: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4781988/itron-deloitte-nga-2019

Smarter States, Smarter Communities

Itron President and CEO Philip Mezey recently spoke to the importance of creating smarter communities at two national conferences: the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) winter meeting and the National Governors’ Associations (NGA) winter meeting in Washington, DC.

NARUC is a crowd we know very well – representing our customers’ state economic regulators (e.g. public utility commissions). The significance of their role and impact in our business cannot be understated. Securing a general session panel for Itron’s CEO to share ideas on smart communities, along with the CEO of Exelon Utilities, Anne Pramaggiore and NARUC President Nick Wager, is a direct result of our many years of support and collaboration with NARUC.

At the NGA winter meeting, Philip spoke on a panel with Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte, that was moderated by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, a former Microsoft executive. During this fireside chat, the executives shared best practices and the group discussed a vision for smarter states built on solutions that can help governors transform how government interacts with citizens and businesses. This was the first time an Itron CEO has presented in front of the nation’s governors.

In 2018, NGA launched its Smarter States, Smarter Communities initiative, which is designed to educate, accelerate and replicate efforts by states across the nation. Governors have significant convening authority to bring the right parties to the table to create smart communities that work for the greater good, a vision that Itron is proud to sponsor.

Itron is leveraging intelligent technology to connect people with data to create smarter communities and reduce the impact of urbanization. Technology can unlock the power of smart communities, but funding and cost recovery challenges can create headwinds in multi-jurisdictional environments. Public-private partnerships are one collaborative model that have been used to build multi-purpose infrastructure projects across a range of jurisdictions.

As government officials and regulators face increasing pressure to achieve sustainable growth and cost-effectively build resilient infrastructure, these high-profile speaking engagements enhance Itron’s position as a thought leader in the space.

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.

What I Learned About Smart Cities at Itron Utility Week 2018

I had the opportunity to attend Itron Utility Week this year on behalf of Iguá Saneamento, a water provider in Brazil. This large event is focused on the utility sector (water, energy and gas) and hosted by Itron, which is innovating the way utilities and cities manage energy and water and committed to the development of the sector.

The theme of the event already points out the purpose: To Connect, Innovate and Transform. There were three days of learning and great inspiration about the challenges and opportunities we face in creating smart cities.

What are Smart Cities?

There is much talk about smart cities; it is cool, but we are still crawling. There are examples and initiatives of success, however, this is an embryonic business and an agenda to be explored.

In summary, we are talking about making cities intelligent, using information and data that is collected using smart city infrastructure to help improve the management of cities and enable more informed decision-making. The most important and central axis involves the objective: provide better services to the citizen! As it was well stated by Phil Nevels, director of the utility of the future at Exelon during a panel on smart cities at the conference:

"We are not talking about technology, this is about service delivery!"

To a large extent, talking about smart cities involves an exercise of futurism, navigating in the universe of possibilities that the new technologies may provide. If on the one hand, we are not capable of foreseeing a clear point of arrival, it is more than tangible to observe connection and integration solutions that make the relationship of the service providers with the clients more accessible, transparent and deliver a better level of control and efficiency for the city.

No one would have imagined using Google or Uber some years ago. However, today no one conceives the idea of being without this type of service. I do not think it will be different in the vision of a smart city. The form of relationship with the water, energy or gas service providers is still archaic, and the support of these operations in its current format will remind us of the telephone lists in a little while. Connectivity, undoubtedly, will be a field to transform our business models.

Who is responsible for developing smart cities?

The challenge to create the agenda of smart cities is very similar in the U.S. and in Brazil, in spite of the differences of history and institutional context. Listening to David Graham, the deputy COO of the city of San Diego, we have the clarity that this mission needs to involve the public-private partnership, and the protagonist should be increasingly more of the public service providers (the concessionaires). It is not possible to advance without the public sector, but the agenda of undertaking and assuming the risk has much more adherence to the private sector than to the governmental sector.

The sector of utilities needs to face its long-term relationship as a service provider. It is necessary to capture in its planning the premise that the technology cost will decrease consistently (the so-called Moore's Law), and that the present restrictions will be competitive differentials soon. It is a strategic positioning of thinking big! Understand that there is a potential besides the obvious service and that the basic infrastructure is a necessary investment that needs to encompass other variables beyond the form of the present service.

Create a virtuous cycle in which more investment results in a better service provision and this results in new components of revenue, feed-backing the capacity of investment and the cycle to bring solutions to the city.

A smart city is an innovative process. There are support layers for the evolution and emergence of new ideas and applications. It is necessary to provide some abundance to allow for the disruption. In this sense, the vision of the public authority gains great relevance. The strategic agenda is in the form of creating the regulation environment and the inherent incentives. It is necessary to create a sense of integration and sharing. As it was said by Nevels during a panel on smart cities:

"It is not about thinking out of the box, but to enlarge the box!"

If the entrepreneurial protagonist is the private sector, sustaining the environment for such innovation is inherent to the public sector. Courage to break the standard of "protecting itself through the negative response" and of a low environment of trust is crucial.

How can you make progress on the agenda of smart cities?

The U.S. and some other countries in the world are more advanced, in the sense of having had the courage to create initiatives and pilots. There are, in some cases, more synergies for utilities that allow for scale gains on this agenda.

In Brazil, the theme of public lighting seems to me to be a great catalyzer of the process. There is a large space to create solutions of public-private partnerships in this territory. There is space for this service to be a platform for the smart city by integrating other solutions.

Smart lighting applications that are activated only with the presence of people and adapt according to the density of the event, that are integrated with noise-capture systems for public security alarms (detection of gun shots, for instance), and still support of telemetry systems for reading of water, energy and gas consumption meters are some of the possibilities. Why not think of creating a city lit up in an environment with plenty of Internet Wi-Fi access? What would that represent for the agenda of development of new businesses?

As it was very well explained by Mike Beehler, Vice President Burns & McDonnell during the conference: this is the old and good, Think Big, Start Small and Walk Fast!

It is a matter of not losing sight of the need to put the customer at the center of the solution. Something that the utilities sector still is reluctant to adopt: a legitimate and continuous concern about perception and customer satisfaction. We are talking about providing solutions to the citizen. At the end of the day, it is the citizens who pay the bill. We have a new generation of consumers who are born with a different vision of what is free and who expect more of what is basic.

The vision of society as it relates to the conference’s theme reveals a little of the way. It involves the smart city connection with the necessary sustainability agenda. A study of this perception was presented by Itron and shows how there is a space for such territory (check out the 2018 Itron Resourcefulness Report).

We want to have smart cities (after all, nobody wants to be in "dumb cities"). There is the intention. It is necessary that we advance on the action agenda! Finally, more efficiency directly involves less waste and more sustainability of our natural resources!

In this intense immersion of the world of the utilities, I observed that even in the U.S. there is a lot of space for how we address the customer’s agenda. The agenda of having the active and continuous listening, by means of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which we have at Iguá, in fact is something unique and innovative in the sector.

Our way of progress requires building partnerships and the continuity and intensification of the innovation agenda. Transforming our reality focused on providing excellent service. To connect, innovate and transform!

P.S.: What about you? How do you get into this agenda? Do you have ideas or initiatives? Do you believe in the importance of the initiatives to create smart cities? Share and let’s create a network of entrepreneurs in this theme!

Eder Sá Alves Campos is the Corporate Management Manager at Iguá Saneamento in Brazil. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Wi-SUN: The Chosen Technology Connecting the World’s Smartest Cities

Cities worldwide are ramping up deployment of smart technologies that accelerate progress towards sustainability goals, while empowering them with a toolkit for digital transformation. Offering a range of proven benefits, including energy savings, reduced maintenance cost, and enhanced safety, connected streetlights provide an ideal starting point for any smart city initiative.

While there are a variety of technologies to consider, two of the top 10 cities implementing connected streetlights—Miami (500,000) and Paris (280,000)—have chosen Wi-SUN networks as the foundation for their digital transformation initiatives, according to a new Connected Streetlights Market Report from IoT Analytics*: https://iot-analytics.com/top-10-cities-implementing-connected-streetlights/

Here are five reasons why:

Support to millions of devices
Public lighting is among the most ubiquitous assets for any city. Large cities often manage hundreds of thousands of light points. With existing deployments of millions of interoperable devices, Wi-SUN networks include some of the world’s largest industrial IoT networks. In fact, since Wi-SUN networks support peer-to-peer communications between endpoints, they actually become more resilient as new devices are deployed. Florida’s street lighting network of more than 500k streetlights, for example, is reinforced by an existing mesh network canopy that encompasses more than 5 million connected devices.

Protecting the network with enterprise-grade security
As new connected devices proliferate throughout our critical infrastructure systems, protecting the network with the most stringent security standards is essential. Enterprise-grade security is the gold standard among IoT networks. Wi-SUN-based networks have achieved this level of security, with the highest levels of protection at each layer of the network.

Delivering superior communication performance – in almost any environment
Whether it is from changing landscapes or new construction, urban network environments will evolve over time. This can be challenging for fixed networks, which often experience coverage gaps. Wi-SUN networks are engineered to evolve in these changing environments. Peer-to-peer communication provides devices with multiple redundant connection paths back to the network gateways, enabling devices to automatically re-route through their nearest neighbors in the event of an outage. This self-healing capability makes it possible for Wi-SUN networks to deliver reliable connectivity in some of the most challenging service areas on the planet, including the dense urban landscapes of New York and mountainous topographies like Hawaii.

Ensuring solution longevity
Delivering intelligent solutions is about creating lasting value, which is why a smart city should choose a network solution designed to last for decades. With over-the-air firmware upgrades, devices will always be able to support the most advanced features. Remote upgrades are essential for delivering security updates in the event that a firmware patch is needed. Wi-SUN networks are also designed to enable seamless interoperability across multiple generations of network technology, while reducing the total cost of ownership.

Enabling endless possibilities with open standards
Cities are living ecosystems with diverse needs. Delivering a truly “smart” city will require intelligent devices that support a wide range of operational issues. Deploying single-purpose networks would require redundant network infrastructure and support systems, which can be costly and complicated to manage. Wi-SUN networks utilize widely adopted industry standards to enable an open ecosystem of interoperable solutions. For cities, this gives them the flexibility to start with their top priority use cases and then connect new devices and sensors as their needs change.

As the deployment of smart technologies continues apace, leading cities like Miami and Paris have set the benchmark for demonstrating a truly “smart” approach. With connected streetlights as the foundation, these cities are already unlocking efficiencies while laying the groundwork for future applications that improve and enhance citizen lives and wellbeing.

* The Connected Streetlights 2018-2023 Market Report is 96- page report, which examines worldwide deployment, revenue and shipment of connected streetlights, with segmentation analysis by region, technology and product. Additionally, the report examines the market landscape, including a market share analysis, and identifies the 111 smartest cities in terms of deployment of connected streetlights by region and country.

Focusing on the Future of Smart Cities at ITS World Congress

As Itron continues to influence and make an impact on the future of smart cities, we are excited to be an exhibitor at the upcoming Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Copenhagen, Sept. 17 – 21. This event is the world’s largest exhibition focused entirely on the digitalization of transport and smart mobility. For this year, ITS World Congress will showcase the latest advances and solutions in intelligent transport systems and services and bring together industry leaders from all over the world—giving Itron a great opportunity to showcase our expanded portfolio, smart streetlight offering and meet with like-minded individuals focused on creating a more resourceful world.

At ITS World Congress, we will be exhibiting our latest street and area lighting, intelligent traffic monitoring and partner capabilities at booth #C3-035. We will highlight our expanded technology platform, which serves as the foundation for a connected city and provides energy and water savings, improves security, saves people money and provides communities rapid and visible success.

In addition, Itron’s senior vice president of networked solutions, Sharelynn Moore, will speak on a panel regarding the essentials for developing a smart city. This panel will focus on what early innovators in the smart city movement have found imperative to implementation and the vital decisions that pave the way to creating smart urban networks.

We look forward to demonstrating our technology and engaging with other industry leaders at ITS World Congress this year.

To learn more about ITS, visit https://itsworldcongress.com. To learn more about how Itron helps cities around the world become more efficient and sustainable, go to www.itron.com/smart-cities.

Itron Customers Top Smart City Governments List

Itron delivers solutions that help cities become more efficient and sustainable. Recently, Eden Strategy Institute, a strategy consulting firm, put together a collection of the Top 50 Smart City Governments—and 12 cities on the list are Itron customers, including:

  • London
  • Singapore
  • New York
  • Melbourne
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Charlotte
  • Copenhagen
  • Wellington
  • Dubai
  • Dublin
  • Paris

The Smart City Governments list details the development of smart cities from a city government’s perspective. Cities were ranked on a scale of one to three representing low to high based on the following 10 factors:

  1. Vision
  2. Leadership
  3. Budget
  4. Financial Incentives
  5. Support Programs
  6. Talent Readiness
  7. People Centricity
  8. Innovation Ecosystems
  9. Smart Policies
  10. Track Record

Lastly, interviews were conducted with city officials to validate facts, measure outcomes and learn about the unique challenges and pathways taken by each city.

To read the full report, click here.

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