Adoption of Smart homes enabling technologies is picking up for a number of different, very valid reasons – it introduces a high level of comfort and convenience to home owners, enables optimized energy utilization leading to lower monthly costs and, more importantly, provides a better living experience in terms of managed security and added digital luxury. Optimized energy utilization not only benefit the homeowners, but also gives the energy providers the ability to better manage their power grid. Besides, it also has an overall positive impact on the environment.
The key to enabling such solutions is to capture and monitor the “last mile” of energy transmission and consumption. So, we have to not only get to the smart meters, but also to the different circuits behind the meters and every end point of electric power within the four walls of a home. For instance, the circuit for the kitchen may have the dish washer, OTG and a microwave connected to it and each of these endpoints have to be tracked and monitored individually. if the smart home is solar powered then, in order to better optimize the energy utilization, the solution should also continuously monitor the solar energy generated, its consumption by the home, and track any solar energy exported back to the grid and the energy that the home takes from the grid to account for its solar energy shortfall. This would then give us the energy consumption pattern that Solution providers can use to build a recommended energy utilization strategy for home owners and anticipated demand patterns for the energy grid, energy pricing strategies, etc.
Sensital has built a solution using its iBOTics IoT platform, where it monitors the overall energy utilization pattern, including what is generated by solar panels, how much is consumed and what is exported back to the grid. An example of a dashboard showing such utilization over time is shown below:
Using the in-built capability of Sensital’s platform to support a number of industry standards and communication protocols, along with its easy-to-use device discovery and configuration features, this solution can easily be extended to integrate with the numerous off-the-shelf devices available in the market to help us monitor the energy consumption pattern across each circuit in a home or take it to the end power point to monitor specific appliances or power sockets contributing to the overall energy consumption in a home.
The challenge, however, is in taking the visibility into energy consumption pattern and energy management of a single home and making that a part of a bigger Demand Response Management (DRM) ecosystem, where the energy consumption and generation (in case of homes that have alternate energy sources deployed) patterns of a number of homes in a region can feed into the DRM system and help balance the energy supply & demand.
To support this, we need strong ability to quickly onboard a new home, identify and mark each power consumption point in that home, apply and manage custom rules for different homes and finally give the remote control in the hands of the service providers and/or the end home-owners. To fulfill these requirements, the platform should be capable of supporting multiple tenants, provide strong and secure access controls and be easily configured to onboard each customer with their own credentials for insights into their smart home.
Sensital’s multi-tenanted iBOTics platform is designed to handle the challenges of interoperability while onboarding different homes, simplified business rules management, situational interaction flows and out of the box features for enabling controls in the hands of the end customer. The iBOTics platform can easily be extended to add on new features and simplify solution development and management for Solution Providers (aggregators, retailers, DRM service providers, etc.), allowing them to create a competitive advantage and bring a differentiated solution to market.