Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sierra's cellular technology to support Itron's smart grid solutions

Iain Morris
October 21, 2014

Hardware player Sierra Wireless is to provide cellular technology for use in Itron’s smart grid solutions, allowing smart grid communications to work over a range of different network standards.

The communications flexibility should help energy utilities and their customers to better manage energy usage and reduce related costs.

In a statement, Sierra Wireless (Richmond, Canada) said it had been chosen to supply 2G, 3G and 4G cellular modules for inclusion in Itron’s OpenWay-branded smart grid technology.

The deal builds on an existing relationship between Itron (Liberty Lake, WA, USA) and Sierra Wireless in the energy industry that stretches back “several years”.

Sierra Wireless claims to have been selected largely because of its leadership position in 4G LTE and partnerships with mobile network operators worldwide, allowing it to provide global support – with pre-certified modules – for global markets.

Although 2G technology is still used to support most M2M services – and especially those that do not require much bandwidth – experts reckon LTE will account for the bulk of the market in the next few years as module costs fall and networks become more pervasive.

“Our strong history with Sierra Wireless, the company’s global reach, and its experience in providing wireless solutions for the energy industry, have made this collaboration the logical choice to provide the highest level of service to our North American and international customers,” said Jeff Carkhuff, the vice president of global solutions marketing for electricity at Itron.

Sierra Wireless claims that cellular connectivity can provide a range of energy-related benefits to individuals and businesses, allowing utilities and customers to monitor usage, balalnce energy demands and reduce costs.

The company’s AirPrime-branded modules are said come with support for “fully integrated software” and cloud-based services to reduce deployment costs and accelerate application development.
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