Itron Among Founding Partners of Spokane’s Smart City Living Lab

Itron is among the six founding partners of Urbanova, the newly-named smart city living lab in Spokane, Washington, which announced today the formalization of their collaboration. The group signed a memorandum of understanding to align their efforts around a shared vision and purpose for the project. For more than two years, the partners, including Avista, the City of Spokane, Itron, McKinstry, the University District Development Association and Washington State University (WSU), have been working to create a living laboratory to design cities of the future in the 770-acre University District, adjacent to Spokane's downtown core.


Urbanova's goal is to harness data to gain insights, empower people and solve urban challenges in new ways. It will enable healthier citizens, safer neighborhoods, smarter infrastructure, a more sustainable environment and a stronger economy. The collaborative effort is already yielding results with smart city projects, including a smart and connected streetlight pilot, “Shared Energy Economy” model and smart city research grants.

Here's a closer look at several of our proof points of success to date:

Smart and Connected Streetlight Pilot

The smart and connected streetlight pilot is the first of Urbanova's smart city projects and central to its participation in Envision America's yearlong technical support program. The pilot aims to intelligently manage and control streetlights to increase energy efficiency, among other goals. The pilot will also feature a human-scale urban air quality R&D component, measuring the quality of the air at different sensor points throughout the district and assessing its role in a healthy city.

The pilot will play a key role in helping define how to develop and design a living laboratory, from establishing a data governance platform to understanding how to architect a shared platform, while also working through issues, such as who owns the data, who controls it and how it is shared.

Shared Energy Economy Model Pilot

Avista was recently awarded a grant from the Washington Department of Commerce and Governor Jay Inslee's Clean Energy Fund to demonstrate how a Shared Energy Economy can benefit Washington energy consumers. As part of the grant, Avista will work with several partners to pilot a Shared Energy Economy model in the University District. Avista's partners in this endeavor include, UniEnergy Technologies, McKinstry, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington State University and technology partner Itron.

urbanova_whos-urbanova_712x500The Shared Energy Economy model will allow various energy assets -- from solar panels and battery storage to traditional utility assets -- to be shared and used for multiple purposes, including system efficiency and grid resiliency. By doing this, Avista and partners will demonstrate how both the consumer and utility can benefit.

Smart City Research Grant

Researchers in the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture are leading a five-year, $1.5 million initiative to develop a framework to monitor, predict and control energy and air quality in an urban environment and to record resulting health impacts in Spokane's University District.

Funded by Washington State University (WSU), the multi-disciplinary initiative is part of WSU's Grand Challenges in smart systems, which aims to harness technology to improve quality of life.  The initiative will link researchers in WSU's Energy Systems Innovation Center, the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research and the Institute for Sustainable Design with Urbanova and its public and private sector partners. The initiative will help build capacity within WSU to pursue smart city solutions and funding.

In addition, Urbanova partners have applied for several other grants and opportunities to catalyze initial efforts.

Not only Smart but Active – Distributed Intelligence for IoT

In the developing age of the Internet of Things (IoT), we must stay attune to emerging technologies and industry transformations. What if real IoT value comes not from the ability to connect devices, but from taking action with little human intervention? How will we harness IoT technology to better overcome the challenges of tomorrow? The possibilities surrounding the future of connected communities may very well require reworking, rethinking and re-imaging technology. By enabling devices to take action in the field in real time, IoT transforms smart grid and smart distribution systems into an active system for energy, water and beyond.

The utility sector is no stranger to IoT technologies and architecture. Already connecting millions of smart devices, energy and water utilities are poised to make the IoT a reality with distributed intelligence. Distributing intelligence across utility systems allows utilities to capitalize on connected devices, leveraging computing power to not only communicate and measure, but to act and solve problems in real-time. Instead of collecting quantitative data for the utility back office to decipher, active grids and systems make decisions in real time and utilize data to create value independently and make changes intelligently.

This evolution in intelligence can be attributed to specific technological characteristics, all of which work to maximize the value potential in meters, grid sensors and other types of connected devices. These characteristics include in-field processing power with the computing equivalent of a smart phone, locational awareness in relation to other devices, and multilingual devices that simultaneously speak the language. When many types of sensors, including electricity, gas or water meters; pressure, temperature or leak sensors; streetlights or solar panels are interconnected that is where the promise of IoT can be delivered. Bringing together datasets from the different sensors in a central area will enable correlations that were not previously possible because of the siloed data approach. This is being done in the utility industry today.

In the age of IoT, it’s time to rethink the possibilities of connection and enable optimal intelligence. Learning from an existing, successful IoT vertical like smart energy and water can help speed up the reality of IoT for everyone.


By Roberto Aiello, New Business Innovation, New Models, Itron CTO Office



Innovating for the Future of Utilities: Itron and Cisco

It’s day two of the Knowledge Conference at one of the year’s most anticipated events – Itron Utility Week.

Utility industry observers have been talking about the perfect storm brewing. It’s a coming together of aging infrastructure, distributed energy resources, changing customer relationships, and a call for increasing amounts of renewable energy. It also includes the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape of NERC, FERC, EPA, and state commissions.

Aging infrastructure: The utility industry remains the largest user of obsolete analog and TDM communications that service providers are discontinuing.

Distributed resources: Utility end-customers continue to count on the industry for safety and reliability. These expectations hold even as some seek to drastically reduce their electric bill and carbon footprint by installing solar panels.

Changing relationships: Customers want flexibility to interact with utilities via mobile and social.

Regulatory landscape: Utilities need to collaborate across their organizations, supply chain, and grid control authorities – and with their regulators and communities.

Cisco and Itron see a silver lining.

Multiple efforts are bringing together utilities, legislators, regulators, renewable energy companies, and other stakeholders to build a vision for the future of the grid. This future offers new opportunities, new business models, and a new regulatory framework. It flexibly addresses overlapping and sometimes conflicting goals and jurisdictions.

Examples of such efforts include:

  • New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision
  • Massachusetts’ Grid Modernization
  • The Gridwise Alliance Future of the Grid.

Itron and Cisco support these efforts through membership in the Gridwise Alliance.

In addition, Cisco and Itron are bringing new capabilities to the industry that provide the means to meet these new challenges.

All of the possible futures of the industry require secure, high performance, manageable communication. This is the core of Cisco’s portfolio.

All possible futures also call for sensors at the edge of the grid. Sensors provide utility end-customers with details of their energy interchange (since they can both consume and produce). They provide details on power quality, and near real time outage alerts. These sensors are the core of Itron’s portfolio.

Cisco and Itron together are the utility industry’s engine for resourceful innovation.


   By Rick Geiger, Executive Director, Cisco

To read more Cisco blogs by Rick Geiger, click here.

A Solution for Utilities Looking to Affordably Upgrade Their Capacitor Bank Controllers to Include Ami Features and Benefits.


Nighthawk’s new CCU960 Cellular AMI Capacitor Bank controller plugs into any standard capacitor bank controller socket.  It provides an affordable upgrade for advanced distribution automation technology and is meant to be a plug-in replacement for older pager based or manual control boxes. The controller offers full two way reporting and control capabilities as well as the ability to work as a self-contained fully automated device. It is incrementally deployable because of its cellular communications and lack of dependence on proprietary communications systems or other utility IT expenses.


It can be programmed with preset sag and swell voltage and temperature limits for fully autonomous operation. In addition to this you can graphically map your grid and see under or over voltage conditions as they develop.  Onsite utility personnel can engage the manual controls which have a safety feature that temporarily locks out remote commands. Nighthawk’s CCU960 comes with an externally attached neutral to ground fault current sensing feature which provides protection and alerts when any of the three relays on top of the pole have failed to close properly in a timely manner.


The CCU960 Capacitor Bank Controller is used in three-phase electrical distribution networks to buffer reactive current and boost line voltage during sags from: excessive loading, reactive current, or heat resistance on hot weather days.  Nighthawk’s Cellular AMI Capacitor Bank solution provides two way communications and logs all local, remote, or automated commands providing confirmation and direct alerts to utility personnel when alarming conditions occur.


By Chad Bowers, Marketing Manager at Nighthawk


Smart City Vision Reaches the White House: Itron Joins Team of Partners to make Envision America a Reality

Cities and utilities across the country are facing a broad range of pressing problems and considering how to best navigate and utilize technology for a smarter, more sustainable and more resourceful city framework. First introduced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Sept. 2010, the Envision Charlotte program has expanded into a robust collaborative group of industry-leading companies, ambitious community organizers, government officials and policy drivers. It sprouted from the original goal of taking advantage of the opportunities and technologies available, to create an innovative, scalable and replicable smart city model: Charlotte, NC. Now, the Envision Charlotte initiative is making bigger waves than ever before by capturing the attention of US Administration.

If we’re already envisioning Charlotte, what would it look like to Envision America? It’s certainly an idea supported by White House officials, looking to the Administration’s FY17 Science and Technology Priorities policy created in June of this year and Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The continued commitment to accelerate the deployment of technologies, driving progress toward a clean energy future with better environmental resource management, serves as a proof point for the smart city opportunities mounting.

That’s why the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has tapped Envision Charlotte as the model for a national smart cities initiative named Envision America that will launch in January 2016. Itron is pleased to play an integral supporting role for Envision America, a new nationwide nonprofit, issuing a challenge to accelerate deployment of innovative technologies that tackle energy, water, waste and air challenges to America’s cities. Envision America will be hosting a boot camp for selected winning communities in January in Charlotte, NC where they will work with leading experts from industry and academia to diagnose needs, develop solutions and create new city initiatives.

For Itron, Envision America, means a meaningful and critical opportunity for our technology, services and solutions to step-up and stand behind the national vision of creating a more sustainable and resourceful America.

To view the official White House Fact Sheet and learn more about Envision America, click here.


By Russ Vanos, Itron SVP Strategy and Corporate Development


Envision Charlotte: Building a Smart City Through Collaboration and Innovation

Itron and Envision Charlotte recently hosted a conversation about the role technology and collaboration play in driving urban modernization and results. Envision Charlotte’s story is an example of a private-public partnership at its best.

Over the last few years, Envision Charlotte has brought together Charlotte’s utilities, the City, County, large companies and universities to build a network of projects that tie all of these groups together to use technology to find efficiencies bringing the cost to do business in Charlotte down and creating a more sustainable urban core. Envision Charlotte has brought in leading companies in the Smart Cities space to use Charlotte as a living lab to test new technologies and programs for their success before launching them into the commercial space. This has allowed Charlotte to become one of the smartest cities in the country.

During the webinar, attendees posed some interesting questions. To read them, see the article written by Itron's Russ Vanos and Envision Charlotte's Amy Aussieker.

Itron Highlights Collaboration with Microsoft on CityNext Initiative

Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona

During the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Sharelynn Moore, Itron's vice president of corporate marketing and public affairs, discussed Itron's participation in Microsoft CityNext, a global initiative empowering cities, businesses and citizens to re-imagine their futures and cultivate vibrant communities.

Through the CityNext initiative, Microsoft and Itron will help leaders to do “new with less,” by combining the power of technology with innovative ideas to connect governments, businesses and citizens with city services that increase efficiencies, reduce costs, foster a more sustainable environment and cultivate communities where people thrive. As part of the initiative, Itron collaborated with Microsoft to design and deliver Itron Insights, an energy and water analyzer application. The Itron Insights application, based on Windows 8, provides cities with a clear view into energy costs, water revenue and expense and CO2 impact.

To learn more, watch the Smart City Expo video.

Itron Celebrates Frost & Sullivan 2014 North American Smart City Company of the Year Award at DistribuTECH 2015

This afternoon at DistribuTECH 2015, Itron celebrated our Frost & Sullivan 2014 North American Smart City Company of the Year Award with an award presentation and reception. Frost & Sullivan Principal Consultant Farah Saeed presented the award to Russ Vanos, Itron’s senior vice president, strategy and corporate development. Itron is excited to receive this award as it recognizes our continued commitment to innovation, our smart city growth strategy and excellence in implementation.

Energy, water and the smart grid are critical to creating smart cities. Our technologies and solutions at Itron help to provide the foundation for smart cities, by enabling cities, utilities and citizens to use information, data and communications to improve their sustainability and more resourcefully use their energy and water.

A few examples of our technologies that help create smart cities include:
• Itron Riva, our new edge intelligence platform, which will connect millions devices in cities and deliver revolutionary edge intelligence and adaptive communications technology to enable automated decision-making
• Itron Insights App, which allows city managers to track energy costs, water revenue and expenses, and CO2 impact
• Itron City App, which fosters collaboration through citizen reporting and tracking of city-related issues such as leaks etc.

We’ve also worked with several key smart city projects in different places such as Smart Detroit; SmartCity Malta; Tianjin, China; Envision Charlotte, Kalgoorlie, Australia; and Glendale, California, providing technology to help them more resourcefully use their electricity, gas and water.

To learn more about our smart city solutions, please visit

Itron Showcases New 4G LTE Smart Metering Solution at DistribuTECH 2015

As the world becomes increasingly more connected, continual communication and access to data are becoming more important. In response to this need, we recently launched a new 4G LTE smart metering solution, which will deliver improved connectivity for smart grid applications.

The solution, which will be available at the end of this quarter, features an OpenWay® CENTRON 4G LTE meter. This solution provides broad territory coverage, low latency and network longevity using cellular communications. LTE communication is ideal for hard-to-reach territories or for opt-in scenarios and provides a unique solution for our utility customers.

The LTE meter is on display at our DistribuTECH booth #2613. If you’re attending the conference, please stop by to talk to our experts and see the LTE meter.

An Open Dialogue: The Benefits of Two-Way Communication in Demand Response Programs

This blog was originally posted on Itron acquired Comverge on June 1, 2017, and  all future demand response blogs will be posted here. 

As consumers, we are all becoming more engaged in our energy management and as a result, electric utilities are increasingly looking for ways to maintain an ongoing dialogue with us. And one of the best ways for utilities to achieve this within an energy management initiative - such as a demand response program - is through the use of Wi-Fi and cellular two-way devices.

We've discussed communications methods for demand response in the past, such as in this eBook, but we wanted to go further into the benefits delivered by two-way devices for both utilities and their customers. These low latency and highly responsive devices, when coupled with an underlying software platform for managing demand management programs, allow utilities to create two-way, real-time communication with their residential customers. The result? More effective demand response, energy efficiency and customer engagement programs.

But this isn't merely conceptual. In fact, today we announced that Comverge has agreements with electric utilities for the installation of more than 400,000 two-way devices. What's more, we've already implemented 260,000 of these devices across the country. Based on these numbers, there's clearly a huge market appetite for this technology.

Why has this technology become so popular? The simple answer is that utilities are increasingly looking to deliver an enhanced customer experience, which as Forrester Research highlighted, is certainly not unique to the energy industry. And other analyst firms are echoing this sentiment: in fact, managing the customer experience has become more important for organizations across all industries in recent years, with industry analyst firm Gartner predicting that 90 percent of companies will compete almost entirely on the basis of customer experience within the next two years.

Simply put, utilities can leverage the two-way information exchange enabled by these devices to optimize program performance, as well as improve the customer experience. If you'd like to learn more about how Comverge can help you achieve this, drop us a line.

The Power of Prices

It’s 3 p.m. on a warm summer San Diego afternoon. My south facing windows are hot to the touch, but the building air conditioning units efficiently maintain a comfortable temperature. Nevertheless, it’s now time to stretch my legs and breathe some fresh air.

I exit the front door of the building and turn right, following the path along the building through the shade. As I reach the end of the building, once again, I turn right and see a world without prices. That’s right, an electric vehicle with a long extension cord snaking its way into the building.

I can’t speak to the moral qualities of this picture. I do not know what the electric charging arrangement is between the car and building owner. Perhaps there is an agreement or charge back mechanism that allows this person to charge the EV in this manner. Or perhaps it’s just stealing. In fact, I technically don’t know whether or not the car is plugged in beyond the locked mirrored doors.

But, I do consider the economics of this picture and wonder. For the past couple years, utilities have explored time-of-use rates, EV rates, and EV load shape impacts. In all those studies, price is assumed to change customer behavior leading to higher off-peak usages. Yet, sitting before my very eyes is a prime example of what happens in a world with incorrect price signals (whether incorrect, hidden, or ignored). Without an appropriate price signal (or maybe you just don’t care about the cost), the rational thing to do is charge your car during the peak hours just in time for the commute home. As forecasters, let’s hope they get the price signals correct.

European Utility Week 2014 Talks Smart Cities

Exhibitions and sessions at the upcoming European Utility Week will highlight new demands for a sustainable future and offer the biggest smart utility meeting place yet! The Smart Cities Council is working with cities around the world to create a roadmap for innovation, collaboration and resource management.

Itron’s Russ Vanos, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development is a founding member of the Smart Cities Council and will be kicking off the smart cities strategic program with the session: The Next Step for Smarter Cities: Analysing the New Demands for a Sustainable Future on Wednesday, November 5th from 9:00 a.m.-9:20 a.m.

Itron’s Ed May will also be leading the smart cities session: The Detroit Smart City Demonstration Project on Wednesday November 5 from 10:00-10:20 a.m.

In addition to joining Itron in these sessions we encourage you to visit us in Itron booth # 1.D16 for a comprehensive overview of our resource management solutions.

For more information about EUW, sessions and speakers, click here.

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