New app for utilities points to our mobile-first smart cities

Thu, 2016-10-13 10:33 -- SCC Staff

The release below describes a new app from Itron that underlines the mobile-first future of the smart city. Smartphone apps are nothing new, of course, but very few of them are intended for robust, mission-critical solutions. And even fewer are sold into such a conservative industry. Charged with keeping the lights on no matter what, electric power utilities are (understandably) loathe to experiment with new technology.

Imagine... utility field workers will now be able to conduct complex operations using just a phone or tablet. And soon, field workers of every type will have similar functionality. If you're not yet planning how to equip your city's employees with this power, you are missing a chance to do more with less. As our aging workforce retires, as budgets continue to be pressured, it will be essential to use technology such as Itron Mobile to get more productivity from fewer workers. — Jesse Berst

Itron, a world-leading technology and services company dedicated to the resourceful use of energy and water, announced today the launch of its Itron Mobile solution, a full mobile data collection and field asset management solution designed to transform utility field operations.

With the solution, utilities can use the Itron Mobile app on the device of their choice – including smartphones, tablets and laptops – for automated meter reading and manual data collection, all in a flexible, affordable and powerful system.

The solution is available in North America and will be available in other regions in the near future. It enables utilities to improve the productivity and efficiency of their mobile workforce while also enhancing employee safety. The solution was developed in collaboration with Itron Idea Labs, an organization within Itron that accelerates business innovation.

Itron Mobile builds on Itron’s decades of experience providing manual and automated metering reading technologies. The solution provides new capabilities, including the ability to capture photographs as a part of the meter-reading process and utilize cloud-based maps on all devices to display route and meter data. 

Meter readers can always be connected, which allows supervisors to manage their mobile workforce remotely and easily reassign work. Data collection is highly accurate with thorough and proven read validation, which ensures accurate bills and satisfied customers. Itron Mobile also improves safety with multiple methods to warn employees of hazards, including audible and vibration warnings. 

The flexible solution features several configuration options and can run on nearly any mobile platform, including Android, Apple iOS and Windows 10. Itron Mobile is integrated with Itron’s Field Collection System (FCS) for configuration and route management. The Itron Mobile app collects reads using the powerful MC3 radio for drive-by operations and the new handheld Itron Mobile Radio for walk-by operations. 

 “As a pioneer and leader in mobile data collection, Itron has a deep understanding of our utility customers’ data collection needs. As smart devices become more common in the workplace, we wanted to extend our expertise to these platforms,” said Wendy Lohkamp, senior director of solutions marketing for Software & Services at Itron. “It is our job to make our customers’ jobs easier. With Itron Mobile, we are enabling data to be captured in ways that weren’t possible before, making field operations more efficient.”