By Gerald Schreiner, business development director, Metering & Smart Energy International, directly from the Itron Utility Week in Orlando, Florida.iuw-2016Driving resourcefulness through innovation – what does this mean exactly? Allow me to illustrate some practical examples that have become apparent to me this past week during the Itron Utility Week event in Orlando.

During the Tuesday morning keynote session it was announced that Cyient, a global provider of engineering, manufacturing, data analytics, networks and operations solutions, has won Itron’s Ignite Innovation Challenge.  IoT developers were invited to create a connected, resourceful solution built on the Itron Riva platform, the distributed intelligence platform that supports sensing technologies and dynamic applications at the device level. This is just one way Itron is driving resourcefulness through innovation.

Another way is through their partnership with software giant, Microsoft. During the media and analysts trends lunch I had the opportunity to talk to Greg Richards from Itron and Corey Sanders from Microsoft about the Itron and Microsoft Cloud Partnership, and the opportunities it presents to utilities. The benefits are astonishing. In fact, some of them almost sound futuristic.

But first, I would like to address the most glaringly obvious question: Is the Cloud safe? Greg Richards put my mind at ease, ensuring me that Microsoft spends in the region of $1 billion on ensuring their Cloud offering is safe. Microsoft uses a multi-layered approach to address threats to their customers and technology platforms.  They run a number of programmes geared towards identifying cyber threats and eliminating them before they can reach a customer’s system.

media-tourAs I mentioned before, the benefits of a cloud based software platform for utilities are plenty. The new platform, Itron Total Outcomes, will offer utilities a unique opportunity to accelerate their digital transformation cost effectively and with greater efficiency.  Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform will form the backbone for the new platform. The benefits from a data management and analytics standpoint are vast. The Cloud offers the opportunity to effectively process vast amounts of data from a number of different sources, and will help drive insights into energy consumption, usage pattern, energy efficiency and asset optimization. Water utilities will be able to benefit from early warnings of potential leakage based on real-time data from households; and gas utilities will be able to monitor temperature and pipeline stress, offering enhanced safety and revenue protection. Some other benefits include streamlined IoT offerings and machine learning opportunities.

The cloud-based software will enable Itron to develop new applications customized specifically to each utility customer. It is a fully open-source platform, which means utilities will be able to plug in any other existing platforms.

Now that is what I call resourcefulness through innovation!

Metering & Smart Energy International will be doing a deeper analysis of the Itron Total Outcomes in one of our forthcoming editions.
Remember to be on the lookout for our December/ January edition, which will include our special report on IoT and will form part of our January IoT campaign which includes a webinar in the last week of January.

I will conclude this blog tomorrow by looking at the Itron Resourcefulness Index, a report which Itron publishes annually. There are some interesting findings from the utility executives they surveyed. Look out for that tomorrow.