Itron and Microsoft Pledge to Speed Up Development of Controversial AMI “Smart” Meter Infrastructure, Data Management

By B.N. Frank

Opposition to utility “Smart” Meters (electric, gas, and water) has been worldwide since they first started being deployed (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  There was even a documentary produced about these horrible devices!  Nevertheless, utility companies continue to install them because “Smart” Meters allow them to collect customer usage data 24/7 (and sell it to 3rd parties), whereas traditional analog meters do not.  “Smart” Meters are one of numerous costly, privacy invasive, and unsafe technologies that are being installed in “Smart Cities” which are also controversial and expensive (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).  Nevertheless, “Smart” Meters and “Smart Cities” continue to be promoted by those who profit from them including manufacturer, Itron, which has also warned shareholders about reported issues associated with its “Smart” Meters:

“We may face adverse publicity, consumer or political opposition, or liability associated with our products…We may be subject to claims that there are adverse health effects from the radio frequencies utilized in connection with our products. If these claims prevail, our customers could suspend implementation or purchase substitute products, which could cause a loss of sales”  Itron Inc, SEC Form 10 K 2017

From Daily Energy Insider:

Itron, Microsoft expand partnership on grid-focused cloud adoption and smart city efforts

Published on May 20, 2022 by Chris Galford

Growing their focus on security, reliability, and value for a transitioning grid, Itron, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation announced an expansion of their existing collaboration this week, pledging to hasten cloud adoption and next-generation solutions for utilities and smart city industries.

This artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven effort will combine Itron’s energy management solutions with Microsoft’s cloud solutions to create a better system for users to view and manage their energy and to provide insights and benefits for utilities, communities, and other industry stakeholders to manage and improve grid resilience, consumer engagement, operational efficiency and decarbonization of the electric sector. Some examples of use for the high-fidelity data yielded from this, as envisioned by the companies, include the ability for utilities to track their progress toward net zero carbon goals or for distributed energy resource providers to identify customers who could benefit from their products.

“Expanding our collaboration with Microsoft is core to our commitment to delivering industry-leading solutions that make it easier for end-users to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve water,” Don Reeves, senior vice president of outcomes at Itron, said. “Our collaboration will provide analytics and data-sharing capabilities for utilities and cities, so they can optimize their operations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. As utilities begin to deploy edge compute-enabled connected IoT platforms, a new level of collaboration and co-innovation is needed for the utilities to harvest the unprecedented opportunity for growth and creating value.”

Cloud-ready solutions pursued by the pair will include greater network visibility, asset management, outage management, and electric vehicle/distributed energy resource load insights to better enable a decarbonized grid. Measurements, reports, and more will be key to these efforts. They hope to allow utilities to build out new capabilities from it, including location awareness, intelligent voltage monitoring, real-time transformer load monitoring, and more.

“The collaboration between Itron and Microsoft will enable utilities and smart cities to take advantage of cloud computing technology—in particular, edge computing—to accelerate cloud-native analytics, distribution automation, carbon reporting and provide an overall more flexible, scalable system that supports a distributed, resilient energy grid,” Darryl Willis, CVP Worldwide Energy Industry, Microsoft, said.

Microsoft will grant Itron greater global access to utility and city customers, allowing it to better identify those who could benefit from machine learning efforts. Together, the pair will also speed the development of Itron’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure, data management, and analytics solutions globally.

Activist Post reports regularly about Smart Cities, Smart Meters, and unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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