Itron’s Network Solutions Are Becoming Flexible

Itron’s Network Solutions Are Becoming Flexible

With their recent acquisition Itron has expanded their offerings to utilities and cities around the world. With its portfolio of industrial (IIoT) solutions, the company has tapped into the other IIoT devices and sensors, including department within municipalities and smart cities to further the concept of resourcefulness.

“resourceful use means not only the efficient use of electricity, gas, and water, but wastewater too. We’re not just looking at leaks, we’re now using the power of IIoT-based technology to identify and solve other problems that are associated with water, such as the impacts of flooding and sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) events,” said Stephen Johnson, Itron’s consumer energy management product line lead said during Itron Utility Week in October, 2019.

Itron has been working with a large U.S. water utility and a partner to develop a solution to detect and prevent SSO events with an IIoT sensor-based approached. When the utility was considering implementing an AMI network from Itron, they wondered if they could use the same platform to monitor their wastewater treatment facilities. The utility is located in a part of the country hit heavily by hurricanes year after year, so when there is a hurricane that causes flooding, that makes it harder for the city to keep wastewater from entering the fresh water supply.

Using Itron’s battery-optimized wireless communications module – a cost-effective, energy-efficient sub-GHz wireless communications device – the utility worked within Itron’s broad partner ecosystem to develop a wastewater monitoring solution that could address these challenges.

“it’s very important to both monitor the inflows and outflows to make sure they’re efficiently using available infrastructure, as well to monitor water levels so that they know when a problem is going to occur,” Johnson said of the project.

“With the final build out, this utility will be able to more efficiently manage their flow monitoring, as well other freshwater monitoring for flood detection,” Johnson said.

“Using this solution to mitigate SSO events means that the utility is increasing safety for the community, while avoiding cleanup bills or the EPA fine that would come with experiencing an overflow event like this,” Johnson said. “The secondary benefit is that, with that same data collection and delivery solution and network, other sensors at the lift stations could simultaneously work to monitor inflows and outflows, making sure the utility is efficiently matching sources to sinks as wastewater goes to treatment plants.”

“We’re no longer requiring non-metering devices to communicate through a metering system only,” Johnson said. “Instead, as part of our hosted network infrastructure offering, we are offering the option to manage data routing to the correct location, as determined by the utility.

“For example, let’s say all the utility wanted to do was provide data into a SCADA system. In that case, our solution has the ability to collect, package, and transmit sensor to other integrated systems need to consume that data. This flexibility allows the utility to view or analyze it in any kind of way that they want”

”That’s why here at Itron Utility Week, the theme this year has been the ‘Power of Community’, because we know that we can’t solve these problems alone, we need partners and we need other stakeholders in smart cities and municipalities to come together to have these conversations and think about solutions for resourcefulness in a different way.”