IoT helps residents gain control over energy at home

We are moving towards a decentralized energy infrastructure. Consumers become producers, neighbors form local energy cooperatives and companies generate their own renewable energy. These developments demand a more advanced and connected energy system. Utilities and grid operators increasingly feel the need for realtime data in order to facilitate the growing percentage of renewables in our energy mix. Internet of Things can contribute a great deal in this transition.  

Although grid operators and suppliers can benefit from integrating IoT in their infrastructure, the biggest gains might be for residents. According to Renewable Energy Magazine, IoT developments in the energy field will change how consumers interact with energy and will empower them to minimize energy costs. Households will be better informed about the energy currents in their house, which will allow them to optimize efficiency. “Residential customers could potentially benefit the most from these [IoT] technologies.”

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine, 2019

So how does Aurum use IoT to help improve residential energy efficiency? IoT allows us to perform measurements in charging stations, gas meters, batteries, heat meters and other energy sources, and communicate realtime data back to end users via an app and to suppliers’ databases. We connect the energy data to the backend system of utilities to help them automate billing and forecasting. This results in lower operational costs and increased customer satisfaction.

Specifically, Aurum uses Narrowband IoT (NB IoT) in its solutions. The advantage of NB IoT is the strong reception. Even energy sources in hard-to-reach places such as basements can now easily be tracked. Secondly, the energy consumption of the NB IoT devices is very low. That allows for our measuring devices to be small, energy efficient and low maintenance.

NB IoT truly is a welcome communication technology for Aurum. Previously our measurement units were dependent on the wifi network of the household. Because Aurum wanted to have a closed loop and a higher data accuracy, we started experimenting with new IoT technologies. Narrowband IoT in collaboration with Vodafone turned out to be the best solution. We work together with our partner Vodafone to further deploy NB IoT in the residential energy market. Our sensors on the energy meters are connected through NB IoT and send high-frequency data to our dataplatform and back to the end-user through our app. This realtime information about their homes’ energy usage helps residents to gain an understanding of what happens in the building – based on real data, not assumptions. This allows them to make data-driven decisions on optimizing their home and behavior in order to establish a higher energy efficiency and a lower energy bill.

IoT in residential energy

Aurum sees a big opportunity for IoT in the residential energy market. Currently, visualizing energy data in an attractive way to help influence consumer behavior and to provide tools to cut home energy wastage is key. However, in the future, processes could be more automated. Aurum CEO Marc de Beijer: “Aurum and Vodafones’ solutions enable us to visualize energy consumption of appliances and homes in a simple, meaningful way. Eventually, we will further connect this data on our platform in order to make control possible. We’re switching from helping residents to understand their homes’ energy, to helping them control it.”

As an example: A washing machine can be automatically switched on at a moment when solar production peaks and dynamic energy prices are lowest. In the nearby future this will immensely shape the role of utilities and energy suppliers.

Marc: “If we do our job correctly and connect and enrich the way energy sources work together in the home, consumers don’t have to worry about from who, when and at what rate they receive energy. That will all be automated and optimized through connected data.

IoT Frontrunners by Vodafone

Since Aurum is one of the few companies in the Netherlands that deploys IoT on a large scale, Vodafone Business did an interview with Aurum Founder and CEO Marc de Beijer. You can watch the short documentary here (in Dutch).

Curious what Aurum can do for your organization? View our recent work here. 

 

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