Although reducing energy use is on everyone’s agenda, organizations face difficulties in identifying saving opportunities. With increasing energy costs, companies need to significantly reduce their energy consumption and find solutions to identify energy waste and inefficiencies. Conventional commercial solutions will often only deliver dashboard tools showing ‘big data’ from all the different measurement devices such as utility meters, building management systems and other electricity, gas and water meters. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases the time and/or knowledge of how to process all this information in order to identify improvement opportunities are lacking. Companies consequently desire intelligent solutions to support them in this analytics challenge more or less automatically.
Can an Energy Analytics Software help?
With its Sentinel energy analytics Software which the Irish company Wattics developed, companies face a intelligent example of saving energy costs: Built around intelligent self-learning algorithms, the system automatically identifies energy waste and cost-optimization opportunities for the end customers. It also features an innovative monitoring gateway for cloud services delivering round-the-clock, instant information – accessible from anywhere – to accredited staff. The Sentinel energy analytics solution works with an innovative software engine that – immediately after installation – automatically begins to learn from collected meter readings to identify energy use patterns. The solution thereby keeps watch over energy usage across all monitored meters from the main energy distribution board to equipment level. It constantly improves its knowledge about the operation of appliances and grid areas, identifying correlations between their use models, and characterizing good and bad energy use.
A further benefit of the Sentinel energy analytics solution is its compatibility to any common meter from site to equipment level. The investment is therefore future-proof and its interoperability helps customers to remain independent from meter manufacturers. Another benefit of the Wattics solution is the fact that a local hardware investment in such an analytics system is limited to a single monitoring gateway.
The Central Energy Monitoring Gateway
Wattics will deploy one enterprise-class Sentinel energy monitoring gateway per customer site requiring energy analytics, with the benefit that no additional communication hardware is required. This gateway is used to retrieve the meter readings through serial and/or Ethernet communication and to secure data communication towards the cloud to the system backend, hosted by Wattics. Additionally, the gateway manages pre-processing the collected data to analyze variations on power measurements. It also acts as a local back-up for easy recovery in case of an internet failure as well as a data compressor to reduce storage demands in the cloud. The energy monitoring gateway is connected to the internet via the customers’ existing wired LAN or a wireless 3G router.
Managing Costs and Reliability
The Sentinel energy monitoring gateway is instrumental with both the overall availability of the energy analytics solution and the cost efficiency of the installation at the customers’ factories, shop-floors and buildings. As such, the gateway needs to be highly reliable. In installations with a required long life like in the case with Wattics solutions, maintenance requirements are particularly crucial. This is due to the fact that distributed solutions often increase costs, which can easily match or even exceed the investment cost for the entire gateway system.
What do you think of this kind of system? Do you agree that these solutions will help us to save energy and reduce the costs for big companies in the future?
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