BOSTON, December 11 /PRNewswire/ --

- Itron's Ember-enabled OpenWay Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) platform to benefit consumers and utilities

Ember, a leading provider of ZigBee networking systems, and Itron (Nasdaq: ITRI) have teamed up to help electric utilities reduce peak load demand and home owners conserve energy by using ZigBee-enabled wireless technology.

Itron has integrated Ember's ZigBee technology into its OpenWay(TM) by Itron Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) platform. Specifically, Itron's OpenWay CENTRON smart meters are embedded with Ember's ZigBee chips and software to provide a two-way communication pathway to the home for energy load control and demand response. The technology enables homeowners to make more informed decisions about their energy usage and promotes energy conservation.

OpenWay CENTRON smart meters serve as a gateway for Home Area Networks (HANs) of wireless devices such as ZigBee thermostats, load control devices, in-home displays, and smart appliances. Itron's OpenWay smart meters also support time-of-use pricing, load profile data and other advanced features required for "Smart Grid" initiatives, such as California's Title 24 regulations aimed at modernizing the electric grid to reduce peak demand. These features include full two-way communication between the home and utility, a load-limiting remote disconnect and reconnect switch, positive power outage detection and restoration notification, voltage monitoring, theft detection, and the ability to reprogram the meter remotely.

"Coming from the number one vendor of electric meters in the U.S., OpenWay is crucial for enabling the promise of residential demand response," said Arun Sehgal, product line manager for Itron's OpenWay AMI system. "Robust ZigBee connectivity is critical to the OpenWay system. We teamed with Ember because they are reliable, easy to work with and complement our OpenWay platform."

OpenWay CENTRON smart meters use Ember's chip and EmberZNet PRO networking software platform, which supports the ZigBee PRO Feature Set, to communicate with ZigBee-enabled devices in a home. ZigBee networks are self-organizing, self-healing and can operate for years on inexpensive batteries, making it easy for consumers to deploy their own energy-conserving HAN. The Ember system interfaces the HAN with load control devices, enabling utilities to efficiently manage a household's energy consumption during peak load demands, among its many other intelligent applications. The bi-directional meter also continuously measures and displays active energy delivered to the home, letting consumers see where, when and how energy is being consumed. This helps consumers actively participate in the conservation of energy and contribute to protecting the environment, while also managing their costs for power.

"Studies show that demand response programs can reduce peak electricity demand by five percent over the next five years, saving consumers more than US$3 billion in annual electricity costs," said Dennis Natale, Ember's director of sales for the America's. "Moreover, they can help reduce the US$50-US$100 billion in losses that businesses suffer each year due to power outages and brownouts. AMI solutions like Itron's OpenWay will help consumers and utilities work as a team to conserve energy and make the grid work more efficiently."

About Itron

Itron is a leading technology provider and critical source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries. Itron operates in two divisions; as Itron in North America and as Actaris outside of North America. Our company is the world's leading provider of metering, data collection and software solutions, with nearly 8,000 utilities worldwide relying on our technology to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water. Itron delivers industry leading solutions for electricity, gas and water utilities by offering meters; data collection and communication systems, including automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI); meter data management and utility software applications; as well as comprehensive project management, installation and consulting services. To know more, start here: http://www.itron.com.

About ZigBee

The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance is a rapidly growing, non-profit industry consortium of leading semiconductor manufacturers, technology providers, OEMs, and end-users worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found at http://www.zigbee.org.

About Ember Corporation

Ember Corporation develops ZigBee wireless networking technology that enable companies involved in energy technologies -- enertech -- to help buildings and homes consume less energy, operate more efficiently, and keep people comfortable, safe and secure. Ember low-power wireless technology can be embedded in potentially any device to be part of a self-organizing mesh network. Ember is headquartered in Boston and has its radio development center in Cambridge, England, and distributors worldwide. The company is a promoter and Board member of the ZigBee Alliance and its platform is the "Golden Suite" for 802.15.4/ZigBee interoperability testing. For more information, please visit http://www.ember.com.

Ember, Ember Enabled, EmberZNet, InSight and the Ember logo are trademarks of Ember Corporation. ZigBee is a trademark of the ZigBee Alliance. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies.

Web site: http://www.ember.com http://www.itron.com http://www.zigbee.org

Ravi Sharma of Ember Corporation, +1-617-951-1236, ravi.sharma@ember.com; or Michelle Dillon of Beaupre & Co. Public Relations for Ember Corporation, +1-603-559-5835, mdillon@beaupre.com; or Christina Kelly of Itron, Inc, +1-509-891-3268, christina.kelly@itron.com