Itron To Offer Web-Based, Wireless Workforce Management Solutions to Utility Industry
Agreements With eMobile Data Add Leading Mobile Workforce Automation Application To Itron's Product Portfolio Itron Inc. announced that it has executed a convertible loan agreement with eMobile Data Corporation of Richmond, B.C., and a distribution agreement with its wholly owned operating subsidiary.
The distribution agreement provides Itron with exclusive rights to market and sell eMobile Data's pioneering web-based, wireless mobile workforce automation management software, Service-Link, to utilities throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, the Peoples Republic of China, Japan and South Korea.
Service-Link, a web-based application for real-time utility field service dispatching and mobile workforce management, streamlines and automates many of the processes associated with providing field service. Service-Link is scalable to meet the requirements of small or large organizations and operates on a multitude of laptop or portable devices running Windows CE, 98 or 2000. Service-Link provides standard work order templates that can be easily configured to meet the dispatch and data collection needs of utility field service organizations.
The distribution agreement broadens Itron's industry-leading solution portfolio to include fully integrated mobile workforce automation applications for electric, gas and water utilities such as service turn-ons/turn-offs, gas leak detection, credit and collections, meter services and trouble calls.
"Our utility clients have told us they need a workforce management solution that will transform their current field service operations," said LeRoy Nosbaum, president and CEO of Itron. "Service-Link from eMobile Data is Itron's answer to this critical need among our customers. Service-Link leverages the Internet and real-time wireless communications to enable unprecedented levels of efficiency and customer care in utility field service operations."
"This agreement represents a historic blending of technologies and companies focused on the unique requirements of the utility industry," said Marc Jones, president and CEO of eMobile Data. "Service-Link is a leading-edge mobile workforce automation solution that revolutionizes the way utilities operate in the field. Itron, with its strong customer relationships and broad network of utility distribution channels, is one of the strongest and most-trusted brands serving the utility industry; and this new partnership will lead to new and exciting solutions for our customers."
Under the terms of the distribution agreement, Itron will market and sell Service-Link, receiving a percentage of the server and user license fees for each system sold. In addition, Itron will provide first-level customer service support and will receive a portion of ongoing service fees for that support.
Under a separate agreement, Itron loaned $2 million U.S. to eMobile Data by way of a convertible loan. The convertible loan has a term of five years from closing with the principal amount earning interest at 6 percent annually, payable semi-annually commencing 18 months from closing. During the term, the outstanding indebtedness is convertible, in whole or in part, at the option of Itron, into common shares of eMobile Data at a conversion rate of Cdn. $.65 per share during the initial four years and at a conversion rate of Cdn. $.73 per share during the final year. Assuming conversion of the loan at current exchange rates and shares outstanding, Itron would own approximately 18% of eMobile Data.
Today's announcement marks a new level of collaboration between the two Pacific Northwest companies. In February, Itron and eMobile Data announced a product development and global licensing agreement under which eMobile Data will develop, for Itron, a web-based, wireless Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) installation and deployment application that incorporates the underlying technologies of Service-Link.
Nosbaum said that eMobile Data's ongoing development of the AMR installation application will enable utilities to deploy Itron AMR technology more easily and efficiently. That application will enable utilities to leverage the web-based, real-time communications capabilities of Service-Link to optimize the installation of Itron AMR endpoint devices.