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.


Connecting Today’s Cities for Greater Resourcefulness Tomorrow

The need to apply technology to solve real challenges in our communities is growing. Cities and utilities across the country are facing a broad range of pressing problems and exploring how to best navigate and utilize technology for a smarter, more sustainable and more resourceful city framework.  Underscoring that point, the Obama administration announced funding and support for smart city initiatives in the U.S. This move by the Office of Science and Technology demonstrates that we are ready to bridge from smart cities as a concept to smart cities as a reality.

It’s important that we begin moving beyond simply thinking about how to create smarter cities to actually forming new collaborations and leveraging new technologies to see how we can be more efficient and resourceful with all of our cities’ resources—we are doing this in some cities right now.

For example, Envision Charlotte, first introduced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Sept. 2010, is leading the way in creating an innovative, scalable and replicable smart city model in Charlotte, N.C., which captured the attention of the Obama administration and will become a national role model. Envision Charlotte focused on a two-mile area and tackled energy first and successfully reduced energy use by 16 percent. That’s real progress.

On the opposite side of the country, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its private sector partners are working together to test energy efficiency in the FLEXLAB™.  FLEXLAB evaluates the energy efficiency of major building systems, as an integrated system, under real world conditions. As one of the partners, Itron is supplying real-time monitoring and management of solar photovoltaic generation using the Itron Solar Gate prototype, Itron's newest application for the ITRON RIVA™ platform.  As part of this effort, Itron's technology is demonstrating how data collected through Itron's gateway can be used to visualize regional solar production, down to the individual installation and the inverter level. That’s real innovation.

These are just a couple of examples of programs that started small but are having real, measurable impact on the smart cities movement. Connecting people and standards-based technology to achieve goals and then building on that success are things we can do today that will create a more resourceful tomorrow.

Join me and other smart city enthusiasts at Meeting of the Minds in Richmond, California this week.

 

Authored by Russ Vanos, SVP Strategy and Corporate Development at Itron

 


AWWA Anaheim: Itron Highlights from the Conference & Exposition

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) Annual Conference & Exposition recently took place in sunny California. Approximately 11,500 water professionals descended upon the Anaheim Convention Center to learn about the latest water technologies and network with their industry peers. Within the shadow of Disneyland, AWWA was not to be outdone by the cast of Disney characters, introducing their own walking talking water drop, Eddy. Eddy made the rounds on the show floor, eliciting high-fives, selfies and laughs from the conference attendees. Another show highlight was the annual Tapping Contest, which puts water field crews from around the world up against one another to see who can tap a residential water line into a water main the fastest.
With the conference taking place in California, which is experiencing the worst drought in the state’s history, water management and conservation were top-of-mind to many, if not all of the conference attendees. Itron, a longtime member of AWWA and conference exhibitor, showcased its non-revenue water solutions and had many conversations with booth visitors on distribution leak detection and the benefits of Itron’s AMI solution offers, regarding water conservation and consumer engagement. Additionally, Itron Analytics was a focal point at the show and garnered quite a bit of customer interest in how it turns data into actionable intelligence to help optimize the delivery and use of water. Customers were also excited about Itron Total Services, Itron’s managed service offering and how it can streamline solution deployments and operations for utilities.
The AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition has always been an annual highlight for the Itron water team and this year’s conference was no different. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone next year in Chicago!


To learn more about AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition, please visit www.awwa.org

 

By Peter Sanburn, Director of Corporate Marketing, Itron

 


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