Itron’s Riva platform has attracted a good deal of interest since its launch with its combination of connectivity and distributed intelligence, and potential to bring a new level of insight and control to the grid.
Deployments are taking place in diverse markets such as Europe (Austria), Latin America (Brazil) and South Pacific islands (Tonga).
In an interview last year, Tim Wolf, director of marketing for smart grid solutions for Itron, told Engerati that the company’s initial focus would be on use cases in the electric sector connected to its core competencies and where it sees value, such as theft detection, outage detection, volt/var optimization and direct load control. [Engerati-The Grid Edge – New Utility Opportunities]
The Itron Riva Developers Community also has been formed to enable the broader development community to contribute applications
Internet of Things applications
But the Internet of Things is much broader than the utility sector. In another interview last year Itron’s Roberto Aiello told us that the company was looking at applications for Itron Riva outside the utility sector, indicating that in the longer term the scope could broaden to that of IoT provider. [Engerati-Energy Sector Leads Internet of Things]
Itron now appears to be taking the first steps in this direction with the formation of its new Ideas Lab “to accelerate the delivery of new solutions utilizing the Riva technology.”
Specifically, the Ideas Lab will develop “new business opportunities in high-growth industries and emerging markets” and will focus on “accelerating innovation by being agile; testing new, cutting edge solutions; engaging with customers early in the process to determine their business need; and delivering new, strategic solutions at a faster pace.”
In line with Itron’s core competences in energy and water management, the first projects announced are the Itron Solar Gate and Phase ID. The Itron Solar Gate, with embedded Riva technology, optimizes solar installations and operations by collecting and analyzing use data from solar inverters and electric meters. The Itron Phase ID offers a more efficient way of identifying which voltage phase a household is connected to as today’s options are expensive and complicated. Properly identifying a meter’s phase increases efficiencies and reliability during outage restoration, load balancing and voltage monitoring.
New technologies and business models
Additional new technologies and business models that can exploit the distributed computing power of Itron Riva will be identified with customers and partner companies.
“We have the agility of a startup company and the resources of a world-leading technology and services company,” says Dr Aiello, who is heading up the Ideas Lab. “The possibilities are endless as we broaden our conversations with customers and partners. We are confident in the growth, efficiency and innovations the collaborative effort of the Itron Ideas Lab can provide for the industry, bringing the power of IoT faster.”
For a live demonstration of Itron Riva, see Moving beyond the smart grid to the active grid