A huge thank you to all who took the time to connect with us at TechAdvantage this year. Over the past several weeks, we have all experienced new and unprecedented challenges facing the industry – but that means there is also unprecedented opportunity to help support electric cooperatives and other critical infrastructure providers in their important work. Here are a few of my takeaways from the event.

More Challenges – and Opportunities – than Ever Before
As the industry shifts and utility business models continue to evolve, electric cooperatives are being asked to do more than ever before. They are being faced with challenges such as aging distribution infrastructure, rising member expectations and the advent of new technologies—all while maintaining high service reliability and keeping rates low. Additionally, broader challenges such as the impacts of more frequent natural disasters is changing the relationships between utilities, technologies and communities. Amid these challenges, the opportunity to expand services for members is something that we see as exciting for the cooperative market.

Stepping Beyond Meter-to-Cash
Walking the show floor, I was struck by how different things looked and felt compared to a decade ago. The heavy transmission equipment, meters, aerial devices and pickup trucks were still there, but there was a noticeable shift in the types of solutions being represented. Technology companies showcased more software-driven solutions that focused less on basic data collection and more on what’s possible using the powerful capabilities of intelligently connected networks and data-driven insights. It was also exciting to see the growing cooperative interest in network-enabled solutions like Distributed Energy Management, electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) and smart community applications such as area lighting control.

Delivering More
The ability to deliver more for members remains a driving force for all electric cooperatives. With challenges such as rising member demand and service expectations, there is a renewed focus on improving grid reliability, minimizing outages and improving restoration efforts. This brings to light the importance of building strong technology partnerships to improve safety, save money and expand services for communities. Every conversation we had with our customers provided greater insight into what electric cooperatives are hearing from their members, and how they’re taking steps to bring new value and services to life.

Although TechAdvantage 2020 has come to an end, we are still thinking about all that we learned – and how we can help make a positive impact on our customers. To continue the conversation or learn more, visit www.itron.com/muni-coop/.

Laura Wright
Senior Marketing Communications Manager - Itron
Laura Wright serves as senior marketing communications manager for Itron’s Networked Solutions and Smart Cities group where she works closely with product management, marketing and sales to support go-to-market strategies for Itron’s global portfolio of network communications products and solutions. She brings more than a decade of experience in the utility and cleantech sectors of the energy industry, with a focus on developing multi-channel marketing strategies to commercialize telecommunications infrastructure, IoT devices, energy efficiency solutions, and consumer-facing applications. Laura studied at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing.