Articles

  • Simon McCarthy

How real-time energy meter reader hardware unlocks new business value


One of the factors that sets NET2GRID apart from its competitors is that, next to our standard Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solutions, we also offer a series of cost effective meter readers we call SmartBridge. SmartBridge meter readers enable real-time services and are compatible with almost any smart meter allowing our customers to deploy a single service across multiple geographies.


We even have SmartBridges for legacy non-smart meters, which in practice means that there is no pressing need for network operators to upgrade or replace existing meter installations which normally comes at a high cost.


Our SmartBridges are affordable, white-label, most are self-install and capture sub-second, real-time and historic meter data. They run in-house developed energy disaggregation machine learning algorithms in hardware. Enriching smart meter data with Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM) brings new value to energy insight applications as we are able to detect individual appliance events and consumptions in real-time and from historic load curve time series.


High quality hardware with no room for failure

An excellent example of the capabilities of our hardware in combination with our data analytics is our cooperation with E.ON in the German market. Powered by our technology E.ON Germany brings a real time energy disaggregation service to its customers, based on smart meter data. In this cooperation we’re addressing the most challenging meter requirements in European energy markets. Here we’re making meter locations accessible in basements outside of WiFi range and without power, transferring meter data to apartments on the 4th or 5th floor. Our hardware is complying with strict BSI regulations and is security audited by TÜV on intrusion detection and cyber attacks. E.ON Germany's service, iONA, is highly popular amongst customers and it has contributed to a customer engagement increase from 3mins/year to 120 mins/year.


Support multiple hardware- and wireless meter interfaces

Our meter reader portfolio consists of various hardware models that fit specific meter hardware market conditions across the globe. Our SmartBridge hardware interfaces with Zigbee meters, P1 HAN ports, LoRa short range, DIN module with clamps, Optical meter ports, Modbus RTU or Bluetooth reader devices like Powerpal.


For several markets, like Germany, we recently developed optical meter reader hardware which unlocks the real-time data of non-smart digital energy meters. As a unique usability feature, we implemented an automated optical meter PIN entry mechanism which unlocks the meter. Previously, end users had to enter the PIN by flashing a flashlight in a certain coded pattern to unlock the meter.


Consumption anomaly detection and alerts in hardware

Together with our clients (E.ON Germany and a few others) we have implemented an electricity peak-load and capacity monitoring service in our hardware which will warn in real time users of excessive energy consumption or when they are using energy at times when electricity tariffs are high. These monitoring services prevent overload of residential installations, avoid unexpected high costs from Time-of-Use tariff impacts and enable EV smart charging use cases by connecting our hardware to an EV charging solution.


Solar PV energy generation monitoring using real-time hardware

Our meter reading hardware, using merely real-time energy grid feed-in data, enables us to predict and monitor solar energy being produced for each solar installation without connection to an PV inverter. Independent of the size of the installation, amount and brand of PV inverters involved we model the solar energy production with high accuracy. This enables an integral home energy overview for solar owners to see each day how much money they are earning with their PV installation and how much of the PV energy is being used for self-consumption.


This unique portfolio of energy meter reading hardware products brings smart meter Edge-AI to utilities and DSOs for the lowest data cost and enables low latency use-cases like smart charging, real-time appliance load identification, demand response, dynamic tariffs per appliance, Intraday load forecasting, preventive maintenance of appliances, Solar PV production monitoring, improving standard smart meter AMI data algorithms & load forecasting models and more.


To learn more about our products, check out our Hardware page.

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