Office Hours

How Itron makes its smart meters, a video; and it announces an acquisition

Let's do a daily-double, compliments of Itron Inc.  Yesterday we mentioned its role in a smart grid test back in the Northeast and we published its year-end earnings report here.

Today it's about its Smart Meters and other efforts to make them a bit smarter.

Itron announced it's spending $100 million to acquire a Mississippi tech company, SmartSynch.

The key detail is that SmartSynch has done a solid job of using existing cellular communications into utility networks. As utilities develop reliable networks that move data back and forth, from customers to distribution centers, the need for consistent and affordable communications becomes central.

SmartSynch does that. Here's a summary from about how its system works with smart meters: "SmartSynch's SmartMeter System facilitates two-way wireless communication with each meter, making continuously updated information available to utilities and their customers. All components of the SmartMeter are encased under the glass of the meter."

Itron has used wireless connectivity to its meters for years. We need to ask: what does SmartSynch offer that's $100 million better than the system Itron has been using?

And as the second half of today's deal: Here is a video that shows how Itron's South Carolina company makes the OpenWay meter, Itron's workhorse smart meter.

Source: this video was produced by the Discovery Channel for it's How It's Made TV series.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.




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