img_5666The future is now. The utility of the future already exists. This is the message that I took home from the general opening session at the 2016 Itron Utility Week. Itron CEO, Philip Mezey talked about how the Internet of Things is enabling utilities to achieve “the art of the possible”.  He noted that an overwhelming 73% of utility executives are concerned about the fast pace of IoT technology developments.

He further added that the smart grid and AMI have given us the blueprint to achieve these technologies of the future. Consumers are expecting more than ever before, and the need for technology to meet with the rising consumer demand is more pressing than ever.

Joe Thomas of Duke Energy echoed this sentiment during his presentation about how utilities are no longer immune to technology-driven expectations from their customers.

If the future is now, then the adoption of cloud-based technologies is certainly imminent as well. This came through in the presentation by Itron partner, Microsoft’s Julia White, corporate VP of cloud platform. She talked about “companies’ readiness” to adopt cloud-based technologies and how the cloud is increasing productivity and helping companies achieve things they never before thought was possible.

I was fortunate to sit on a media lunch session with Curt Kirkeby of Avista utilities, which is creating a “shared energy economy” by linking healthcare and energy use in the most extraordinary way to deploy a smart city living laboratory called Urbanology in Spokane, Washington. Curt talked about how all technology deployments ultimately come back to the consumer. Everything utilities do should bear their customers in mind.

For detailed information on how utilities are using The Internet of Things, be on the lookout for our IoT Special Report Series in January.