In these unprecedented times, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact daily lives and individuals’ health, access to essential resources is at the forefront of communities’ priorities. As Itron navigates through this unique situation, we are focused – more than ever – on supporting our customers as they strive to maintain water and energy distribution with a limited workforce in the field.

Managing endpoints and meters in the field can be a challenge amid social distancing guidelines. Designed to simplify data collection and field operations, remote meter reading via a network or through drive-by or walk-by techniques is an immediate answer to the limitations impacting on-site operations in many countries. Communicating remotely with meters or endpoints can help utilities cope with a limited workforce and uncertain environments all the while ensuring employee safety and respecting social distancing rules.

Itron’s recently launched Cyble 5 communication module for utilities and cities in EMEA, Asia-Pacific and Latin America is one example of a remote-reading device with extended connectivity options that offers a practical solution to the working conditions utilities are currently faced with. In North America, Itron’s Encoder Receiver Transmitter (ERT) modules provide similar capabilities.

Looking ahead, the key to supporting our customers tomorrow will be our ability to learn from today’s crisis. Deploying solutions that will help prepare for unthinkable situations is an absolute necessity to help maintain the supply of essential resources for populations around the world. With over 80 million mechanical water and gas meters shipped to utilities in 2018, according to IHS Markit, auxiliary communication devices are an accessible solution that could help mitigate the impacts of outbreaks or sanitary crises in the future.

From this perspective, and with a prime focus on supporting customers through those difficult times, our product development team is already working toward designing the next-gen communication solutions that will alleviate the challenges ahead.

Vishal Mungra
Senior Manager of Product Management - Itron
Vishal Mungra is a seasoned product manager with 10+ years of experience in the water, energy, and tech sectors. Responsible for the product management and the product marketing of Itron's Device Systems portfolio, he oversees smart metering solutions across the electricity, gas & water segments with sales in 80+ countries across EMEA, APAC & LAM.

His expertise in AMR and AMI technologies across a wide array of smart metering applications (proprietary RF, MBUS, LoRaWAN, Sigfox, Cellular, SMETS2, STS prepayment) is combined with a deep understanding of market and customer challenges through his & his team's multicultural background. Passionate about contributing to the digital transformation of the utility sector, Vishal has a proven track record in developing both off-the-shelf and bespoke products to that end.