Meter maker Itron snapped up its partner SmartSynch this week for $100 million, a strategic acquisition that illustrates the growing importance (and use) of cellular networks in the smart grid.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, according to an Itron statement released Wednesday. Itron expects the acquisition will add about $50 million in annual revenues. Itron president and CEO LeRoy Nosbaum said in a statement the acquisition strengthens the company's position in the industry and with its energy and water utility customers. In short, SmartSynch's cellular technology complements Itron's existing communication network.
SmartSynch provides IP-communicating technology that leverages cellular networks for utilities. The tech allows utilities to communicate and interact with any device on the grid, regardless of the type or level of network or metering technology. SmartSynch has more than 130 customers, including nine of the top 10 utilities in North America, according to Itron.
Jackson, Miss.-based SmartSynch first focused on providing its cellular networking tech at the commercial and industrial level. It's penetration into the residential meter market is smaller. However, it has grown over the past six months. Last September, Consumers Energy selected SmartSynch to provide the advanced metering system for its 1.8 million customers in Michigan.