The case study was originally published on the AWS website here.
Belgian energy solutions provider Luminus helps consumers reduce their energy consumption by offering them insights and analytics in collaboration with AWS Partner NET2GRID. Luminus saw the increasing availability of digital meters as an opportunity to meet consumers’ demands by empowering them with the Luminus Monitor app, which helps them manage their energy consumption. Luminus engaged NET2GRID to bring the app to market. About 8 months after the app’s release, Luminus grew its user base to 20,000. The company also worked alongside NET2GRID to release a complementary hardware solution that provides data to its customers in near real-time.
Identifying Opportunities for Innovation to Facilitate the Energy Transition
Energy solutions provider Luminus recognized an opportunity to provide consumers with more insights into their power and gas consumption as the Flemish region of Belgium announced plans to switch 80 percent of Flemish households from analog to digital meters by 2024. This digital meter rollout in Flanders has made consumers more aware of and interested in their energy consumption. The rollout also includes regulatory changes, such as grid fees that will be based mostly on consumers’ capacity peaks from 2023. Anticipating these regulatory changes, Luminus wanted to help its customers track their energy consumption and provide them with actionable recommendations for reducing their power and gas usage and energy costs.
To go to market quickly, Luminus turned to solutions from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and engaged AWS Partner NET2GRID. Together, Luminus and NET2GRID collaborated to offer customers energy insights into their home energy consumption. In March 2022, Luminus launched the Luminus Monitor app with the aim of helping its users gain more control over their energy usage. Further, NET2GRID and Luminus collaborated on an upgraded service that is supported by NET2GRID hardware and provides energy analytics to customers in near real-time.
Empowering Consumers with Data from Their Digital Meters
Based in Belgium, Luminus is an energy supplier that focuses on building a carbon-neutral energy future and facilitating the renewable energy transition. The different regions of Belgium have been transitioning households from analog to digital meters, which report gas and electric use to utility providers over the internet. In 2021, the Flemish region announced its goal to install digital meters in 80 percent of Flemish households by 2024. “Over 200,000 Luminus customers in Flanders are now equipped with a digital meter for electricity,” says Hélène Blomme, product manager at Luminus. Luminus wanted to empower its customers by providing them with insights from the data collected from their digital meters. The company wanted to develop two products: the Luminus Monitor app, which presents energy analytics in a central interface, and the Luminus Monitor Key, a version of the app that comes with a dongle that customers can plug into their smart meters to get analytics in near real-time. To bring these products to market quickly, Luminus chose to collaborate with NET2GRID.
Founded in 2011, NET2GRID is an artificial intelligence company that develops solutions for energy retailers and consumers. In 2015, the company joined the AWS Partner Network as an Independent Software Vendor, marketing its solutions in the AWS Marketplace, a one-stop shop to find, test, buy, and deploy software that runs on AWS. “Because we’re cloud-native, we can take advantage of AWS services that are fit for purpose,” says Peter Broekroelofs, chief technology officer at NET2GRID. “It’s proven to be a good strategy for our software-as-a-service proposition.”
Customizing and Deploying a White-Label Application That Runs on AWS
Prior to its engagement with Luminus, NET2GRID had developed the NET2GRID Insight platform with APIs and a white-label energy application. NET2GRID and Luminus collaborated to modify and rebrand this application as the Luminus Monitor app, which uses energy data collected from utility operators with 15-minute data granularity and a 1-day delay.
NET2GRID and Luminus worked together on a proof of concept to onboard a few of Luminus’s customers onto the Luminus Monitor app. By March 2022, Luminus began offering this solution to the general public. Between March and December 2022, the Luminus Monitor app grew from 0 to 20,000 users. In a survey that Luminus conducted, over 50 percent of respondents reported that they effectively reduced their energy consumption using the Luminus Monitor app. “I check almost daily how much energy we have consumed and how much it costs,” says one respondent. “It’s almost an addiction! I’m constantly chasing my kids to make sure all lights are switched off.”
NET2GRID and Luminus also collaborated to develop the Luminus Monitor Key, which the company launched in December 2022. The Luminus Monitor Key provides customers with near-real-time analytics and more features, such as capacity peak alerts. These features give Luminus’s customers the ability to set maximum peak thresholds. When they near these thresholds, customers will receive alerts that help them take action to avoid surcharges and grid fees. The Luminus Monitor Key also provides customers with disaggregated data on their energy usage and gives them personalized recommendations. For instance, customers can get recommendations on the optimal time to run household appliances. They can also track how much energy they inject into the grid versus how much they consume at a certain point in time. “We’ve never seen our customers so interested in their energy consumption,” says Blomme. “These features have shown to be really critical.”
Through its collaboration, Luminus could focus on innovating. Instead of managing the scaling of its infrastructure, NET2GRID handles everything on the backend through the NET2GRID Insight platform, which serves as a scalable data repository. NET2GRID powers this platform using serverless solutions, such as AWS Lambda, which gives the company the ability to run code without thinking about servers or clusters. NET2GRID also uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a cloud object storage service built to retrieve virtually any amount of data from anywhere. “Our time to development has shortened because the AWS services that we use are fully managed,” says Broekroelofs. “AWS provides a rich environment for our developers to build what they want.”
Exploring More Energy Use Cases Alongside NET2GRID
NET2GRID and Luminus will continue collaborating and are now looking into developing further use cases based on the digital meter data. “We’ve had several discussions with the NET2GRID team about how to expand our use cases,” says Blomme. “We have a good, open collaboration with NET2GRID.”