Itron selects LXE to develop, manufacture next-generation handheld data collection devices

May 19, 2009
LXE, the rugged mobile computer business of EMS Technologies, will develop and manufacture Itron's next-generation ultra-rugged wireless handheld computer...

• Multi-year agreement confirms LXE as OEM supplier to global energy and water industry leader

ATLANTA, GA, May 19, 2009 -- Highlighting a new OEM focus in its go-to-market strategy, LXE, the rugged mobile computer business of EMS Technologies Inc., announced a multi-year relationship with Itron Inc. in which LXE will develop and manufacture Itron's next-generation ultra-rugged wireless handheld computer. Itron is a leading technology provider to global energy and water industries.

Under the terms of the agreement, Itron will have exclusive rights to sell the LXE-developed wireless handheld in the water, gas and electric utility markets. EMS expects the ongoing agreement to contribute more than $5.5 million to LXE product and service revenue annually over the next several years.

"Teaming with the worldwide leader in automated meter-reading has expanded the market for our products and technology. The Itron partnership signifies a new component to LXE's channel strategy, to sell products to markets and applications beyond traditional warehousing, intermodal and manufacturing," said Stephen Newell, general manager of LXE. "This agreement is part of our ongoing effort to unlock more value from LXE's 40 years of leadership in combining rugged mobile computers with wireless connectivity," he added.

The first products covered by the agreement are scheduled to ship during the fourth quarter of 2009. The unit developed for Itron fully integrates Itron's automated meter reading (AMR) radio technology. Several configurations will be developed for a variety of meter installation, reading and service applications.

Philip Mezey, chief operating officer of Itron North America, said, "Our handheld and software solutions improve our customer's operational efficiency and accuracy. The hardware part of the solution has to be tough and reliable, and able to support a range of data-communication technologies. Outsourcing the development and manufacturing of the new generation of Itron handheld computers to an experienced and innovative partner like LXE makes perfect sense for Itron and for our customers."

According to VDC, the global rugged handheld opportunity in the utilities sector is valued at $79.9 million in 2009, of which approximately 30 percent is deployed for meter reading applications. North and South America account for more than 40 percent of these shipments. VDC also assesses the current penetration of mobile device use amongst mobile utilities workers at less than 20 percent.

Itron Inc. is a leading technology provider to the global energy and water industries.

LXE, a business unit of EMS Technologies, is a leading manufacturer of rugged vehicle-mounted, handheld and wearable mobile computers.