May 08, 2017

A Small Tool Enables Great Savings

End consumer engagement is rising in importance when energy efficiency is being discussed. On many European markets, energy regulators have brought requirements to their national mandates or specifications for smart metering to enable informed consumers to make qualified energy usage decisions. Awareness of energy consumption is the first step to be taken, but in the IoT (Internet of Things) world, the use of smart energy information can go far beyond that.small_tool_enables_great_savings.jpg

Are you a Green Champion or a Mover & Shaker? The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) recently took a close look at consumer preferences for a wide range of smart grid-enabled services and technologies. It classified consumers and their motivation to save energy with five segments (full study here). But no matter if you are a Green Champion, a Saving Seeker, or a Mover & Shaker, the study shows that energy saving is ultimately a simple calculation: The higher the level of motivation, the more effort end users are willing to undertake to reduce their consumption. On the other hand, the lower the effort required, the more consumers can be convinced to improve their energy efficiency.

Demand for real time data

One way to lower the hurdles and to raise awareness is to provide as many information as possible. According to a recent study by Accenture, 58 % of the end users surveyed want their utility to provide them with recommendations and ideas for energy savings. And nearly all (92 %) want to receive personalized digital notifications. After all, they are in frequent communication with other companies they do business with through mobile and other devices. They expect to hear from their utilities in the same way.
 
No wonder, energy regulators mandate specifications for smart metering that keeps consumers informed and enables them to make qualified energy usage decisions. That’s why Landis+Gyr invests in technologies that enable utilities to engage better with their customers and meet end customer needs via software, platforms, and products that help them manage their own energy usage better.

Flexible and transparent

In order to empower consumers to change their consumption habits, Landis+Gyr has developed an entirely standardized Consumer Information Interface (CII) for its IDIS smart meters. CII enables sharing meter data locally in real time without delays customary in web services, for example. It allows connection principally to any network compatible communication technology or application used in the Home Area Network. This provides flexibility to the customer to choose their HAN partners independently of the technology they use.
 
Regarding the amount and variety of data provided to consumers, limits are only set by the utility. Some would like to offer full transparency by providing the whole data set to end users, some not. In principle, the whole DLMS/COSEM formatted smart meter data can be exported and the configuration can be done remotely.

Security is guaranteed

Of course, information provision from meter to consumer applications requires high level security standards. It therefore comes as no surprise that both security and privacy of the data have played important roles in the development of CII. The HES generates a key and sends it to the meter and the consumer. Only if the keys match will the data be displayed on the consumer application. This prevents adverse access from third parties and guarantees data security. And due to using IDIS specifications, the data can be received from any Landis+Gyr IDIS meter to CII and further into end user application. The data flow itself is unidirectional making any manipulation of meter functionality or consumption data impossible.

Manifold opportunities

Transparency of consumption data is the first step to raise consumer awareness towards energy consumption. But for the Smart Home concept – built on the Internet of Things (IoT) – interoperability is essential. The central control unit needs to receive “understandable” data from the smart meter – and therefore from the utility – to manage heating, lighting and any other electrical or electronical device. The Landis+Gyr Consumer Information Interface thus bridges smart metering with home automation and the IoT takes another important step, providing new tools to improve energy efficiency.