Interview with the CEO of Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI): Internet of Things (IoT) as a Path to Utility Productivity

February 2, 2022
Tom Deitrich is the President and CEO of Itron

Tom Deitrich, President and CEO of Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI)

Tom Deitrich was appointed president and chief executive officer and named to Itron Inc.’s board of directors on Aug. 6, 2019.

He joined Itron in 2015 as executive vice president and COO and has played a major role in shaping the company’s strategy to partner with cities and utilities to deliver industrial IoT solutions.

Mr. Deitrich has more than 25 years of experience in global operations at leading technology firms and has held numerous executive management positions where he led business-level strategies that transformed and significantly improved business results.

He has extensive experience in product management, research and development, supply chain management and business development in several industries, including industrial equipment, telecommunications and semiconductors.

Before joining Itron, Mr. Deitrich was senior vice president and general manager for Digital Networking at Freescale Semiconductor. Prior to Freescale, Mr. Deitrich worked for Flextronics International (NASDAQ: FLEX), Ericsson Mobile Communications (NASDAQ: ERIC) and General Electric Corporation (NYSE: GE).

Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) provides services to utility networks.

In this 3,388 word interview, the CEO of Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) Tom Deitrich details his company’s prospects and strategy:

“We go to market in three segments: Devices, Networks, and Outcomes. So a device is a measuring type of device, so a meter or a sensor, and it really makes measurements to provide data. So how much electricity are you using, how many gallons of water have you used, is an example.

Then the network takes that data, that measurement, and communicates it robustly and securely back for processing. And the processing could be as simple as what’s your monthly bill or it could be detecting all of these other things that I explained in the distributed intelligence world.

And outcomes really is using all of that data that gets collected to make intelligent business decisions.

So it could be, how much was Constance’s electricity bill? It could be, hey, you’ve got a leaky pipe in your neighborhood and water is being wasted, or it could be smart city applications to automate streetlights. It could be crowd noise.

Where is an empty parking meter? Where are assets being used incorrectly? Where is an asset or air quality monitoring?

You can hook up any kind of sensor to this and be able to process that data.

So that’s three ways that we support our customers — the device to make the measurement, the network to communicate all the information, and then the outcome is all of the processing to make intelligent decisions and use that data for the benefit of the utility as well as the consumer.”

The challenge to utility service management is the sweet spot for Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) services and products:

“We see our customers are really facing three very large challenges.

There are challenges with infrastructure — the infrastructure is getting old, and it’s starting to break down.

There’s more and more cybersecurity attacks, there’s more and more need for sustainability.

So renewables are being put into the generation side of things. How our utility customers cope with those infrastructure challenges is megatrend one.

Number two is the environmental side of things, and that is things like wildfires and floods and hurricanes.

These things are happening more and more.

Climate disruption is happening and storms happen. And that again is a real challenge too.

How do you keep the lights on and clean water flowing in that kind of an environment?

And the third is the consumer push — the service imbalance.

So, let’s suppose you used a delivery service last night to order your dinner. You knew when you ordered your dinner, when your food was going to arrive and how much it was going to cost, and where in real time you can look at your smartphone and see how quickly the driver was coming to your house.

That level of service you were having with another thing that you interacted with in your life, the delivery service, do you have that same level of service from your utility? Do you have that same insight? So that’s a real challenge for our utility customers to be able to live up to the service expectations that consumers have compared with other things that are going on in their life.

So if you combine infrastructure, environmental and consumer challenges that our customers are up against, how do they overcome these things? How do they make sure they’ve got reliable and resilient services in that kind of environment?

And fortunately, we’ve got technology solutions to be able to overcome those challenges and cope with them.”

The CEO of Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) Tom Deitrich is pleased with his company’s performance in 2021:

“Utilities generally buy technology and they deploy it and they amortize it over a long period of time.

They live in a regulated environment.

They’ve got utility commissions that govern how they spend money.

But now, because of this new business model, we’re really operating in such a way that there is a recurring revenue stream for Itron.

It’s a different way for the utility to procure technology, and it is allowing them to be more agile as to who knows what will happen next in terms of renewables or electric vehicles or storms and outages.

So it’s more flexible.

And we’re really, really pleased to have been able to A) develop the technology, but B) prove it in the field, in terms of the capability that it provides and the resiliency that it provides, the agility that it provides, but also have that new business model to put it into the field.

So deploying things as a service is different than deploying them as a sold widget or asset.

And it is that combination of new technology, new business model and proven benefits that we were really, really excited to see go from concept and vision to actual business and benefits to customers last year.”

Get the complete detailed interview that explains his company’s strategy and prospects for growth in 2022 in this 3,388 word interview with the CEO of Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI) Tom Deitrich, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript.