Itron Shifts Brand to Meet Sustainability Demands

Published: March 12, 2024

The IoT technology company has rebranded itself as a renewable energy and sustainability solution provider for utilities and communities

As grid complexity and sustainability demands loom for utilities, technology company Itron has responded with a new brand identity.

Itron is aiming to showcase how it solves challenges around renewable energy, water management and the increasingly complex world of electric grids. The shift in focus includes a new logo.  

The company already offered industrial IoT solutions that connect sensors and devices (millions of them) worldwide, pointed at utilities and critical infrastructure operators to deliver reliable and resilient services.

As the transition to renewable energy continues, data and intelligence are going to lead the way forward, predicted Marina Donovan, VP of global marketing, ESG and public affairs. Therefore the company, under its revised mission, is committing to innovating new ways for utilities and cities to manage energy and water.

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Grids Gain Complexity

“With the urgency of the transition to renewable energy more pressing than ever, our new identity reflects the company we have become,” Donovan said. The utility industry, as well as Itron’s mission to understand and solve its customers’ needs, is ever-evolving, she added.

“One challenge is the fact that the grid is becoming more dynamic and complex than ever before. Transportation, heating and cooling are actively shifting toward electrification,” stated Donovan.

One way Itron plans to address this changing environment is to develop solutions focused on more intelligence at the grid edge, while transforming the way grid operators address critical challenges.

“Grid management remains a major priority for Itron, particularly in terms of improving visibility and control at the grid edge,” Donovan said.

The brand refresh marks an expansion of the company’s offerings related to management of water. Its solutions are intended to help network operators and users identify and find leaks, thereby improving safety and reducing waste.

Smart Cities

Among Itron’s customers are grid operators meeting the need for more sustainable communities. For example, its solutions with IoT sensors and devices can convert a municipality to connected and controlled smart streetlights. The program reduces energy costs, achieves sustainability goals and improves safety by automatically detecting and diagnosing lighting problems.

The company says its solutions also will provide greater natural gas delivery safety based on more insights from IoT data.

Donovan noted the company will reduce the carbon footprint of its customers—as well as itself—by focusing its IoT solutions on improved sustainability and responsible water and energy management.

Electrical Solutions

As part of the effort, Itron recently announced collaborations with advanced distribution management systems companies to optimize grid management, including Schneider Electric and GE Vernova.

Itron and Schneider Electric are working together to offer a combined solution for intelligent grid and distributed energy resource (DER) management. Itron’s Grid Edge solutions integrated with Schneider’s Digital Grid technology will enable utilities to better harness, aggregate and analyze data.

At the same time, Itron and GE Vernova are collaborating to share network-based data across an enterprise so that utilities, grid operators or other users can leverage a unified data model to ease grid-based management.

“This will close gaps in visibility that previously prevented utilities from identifying and resolving grid issues quickly and efficiently,” said Donovan.

Digitizing Data for Network Operators

Additionally, the Itron Enterprise Edition (IEE) Cloud has launched. A software platform to help utilities digitalize their operations, the system captures and manages sensor data to eliminate ongoing maintenance for grid operators.

With the data, companies can more easily make the transition to renewable energy while Donovan said the system can be scaled as the user requires expansion or transition of its services. The solution offers advanced analytics as well.

Itron’s IEE Cloud leverages Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, a generative AI solution, which works with Itron Enterprise Edition Meter Data Management, distributed intelligence applications and Itron’s DataHub platform.

EV Fleet Management

When it comes to electric vehicles, companies are requiring better ways to capture and manage data about the electrification of fleets of cars, vans or trucks. Itron has noted that EV use—driven by the ongoing electrification push—is going to grow. To manage this rising electric demand, utilities will need to prioritize the integration of edge-intelligence tools for real-time visibility and network control.

The company is working with smart charging technology company The Mobility House to offer the Fast & Flexible Interconnect (FIX) program, for charging of EV fleets in constrained distribution systems.

With Itron’s data management, the FIX system can be used to help utilities and grid operators address interconnection delays and infrastructure challenges, Donovan explained.

Greater IoT Demand for Energy Transition

Looking ahead, the company predicted that the energy transition now underway will put immense pressure on electric utilities due to increased demand and the shift towards renewable energy.

“As this transition unfolds, we will see a greater reliance on real-time data processing solutions like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), IoT platforms and edge intelligence,” Donovan said, to address evolving demands from consumers. “Over the next few years, the gas and water industries will continue to follow the path the electric utility industry paved a decade ago in the adoption of IoT solutions.”

Connectivity and automation will continue to drive initiatives like reliable meter reading, comprehensive data collection, device communication and resource conservation for water, gas and electricity.

Donovan predicted that rooftop solar, wind power, residential battery storage and other distributed energy resources (DERs), combined with extreme weather and aggressive decarbonization goals, will be challenging the utility companies.

“What once was a matter of balancing supply and demand has evolved into a highly complicated challenge for utilities and communities everywhere,” she said.

Key Takeaways:
  • The evolving challenges for utilities around renewables, climate change and safety, had led to IoT company Itron’s rebranding as a sustainability solution provider.
  • The company has multiple initiatives underway to serve cities and utilities with IoT solutions that enable connectivity and grid intelligence.