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Putting it all together: communications for water, power and smart cities

Submitted by scc staff on February 12, 2016

Council Lead Partner Itron's OpenWay Riva communications platform promises quite a lot: interoperability, distributed intelligence and more -- in one unified multi-service network -- for smart cities and electric and water utilities.

As Simon Pontin, Itron chief technology officer, describes it "The OpenWay Riva communications platform redefines the smart network. Utilities require a network that does more than collect reams of data for back office analysis. The OpenWay Riva communications platform enables decision-making at the edge, optimizing analytics where they need to happen, enabling utilities to run multiple applications in edge devices, creating capabilities not available before in the industry while opening the door for new revenue opportunities."

At the platform's core are its three distributed intelligence capabilities:

  • Self-defined and refreshed locational awareness of devices
  • Support for multiple communications and application protocols
  • Processing power at the edge of the low-voltage network

What those capabilities are designed to do covers a lot of ground and include: revenue assurance and theft detection, leak detection, high impedance detection and other safety features, outage detection and analysis, transformer loading and demand response and management of distributed generation at the sub-transformer level.

Another element of the platform is what Itron refers to as Adaptive Communications Technology, meaning it brings together radio frequency, powerline and Wi-Fi to ensure reliable connectivity. Cellular communications also is a part of the package for electric utilities.

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