- Development of a platform for online energy management, including real-time monitoring of utility consumption and air quality.
- Combined hardware/software solution, all developed in-house.
- Continuously developed and improved since 2011.
Problem: Why monitor utility consumption?
Energomonitor started as a solution based on the need of one of the company’s founders. He needed to optimize electricity consumption in his hotel, which wasn’t possible without detailed information about actual usage. As no suitable solution was available on the market, he and another co-founder put together a business plan and decided to collaborate on the project together.
- The monitoring devices should be user-centric, which means their output must be comprehensive for non-specialists, and installation must be as simple as possible. The consumers are the target client.
- The devices must be as inexpensive as possible. That means using as much of existing infrastructure as possible and designing the devices in a minimalistic way. The devices are not intended as a competition of expensive industrial smart meters produced by Siemens or Landis+Gyr.
- The data flow must be close to real-time. Much more frequent than the 15-minute interval, which is a standard for typical smart meters and not enough for effective analysis.
Key development steps
Based on the key decisions, we decided to build a system to collect the data from existing meters, send the data through the user’s internet connection to a cloud-based backend for further processing and storage, and make the data available in an intuitive web/mobile application.
- The hardware part of the system consists of sensors and a gateway. Sensors collect the data from meters and transmit it to the gateway.
- Installation of our sensors is non-invasive. We collect the data from already installed meters. We started with sensors that obtain current values directly from the wires, then we continued with the reading output of digital electricity meters, an impulse counter of gas meters and water meters, etc. The set of sensors is still growing.
- The gateway, located in a house or a flat, receives data from all the installed sensors in the location every 5 seconds and sends it to our secure cloud via a standard internet connection.
- For communication between the gateway and the sensors, we developed our own encrypted proprietary radio protocol, working on 433 MHz. The range between the devices can be up to 200 metres.
- We developed all the hardware devices from scratch, including circuit board design and firmware.
- Originally, we were using Pachube (later renamed to Xively) for data processing. But after pricing changes, we decided to build our own IoT data platform.
- Nowadays, Energomonitor’s data platform is a cloud-based solution running on AWS. This infrastructure supports our custom code for data collection, processing, and storage.
- Besides functioning as a data platform, an essential part of Energomonitor’s backend is a provisioning server that manages all connected devices, provides firmware updates, etc.
- All collected and computed data is accessible through the REST API.
Data visualisation and analysis
- Energomonitor apps provide a set of useful features for comprehensive work with the collected data. An adjustable dashboard, remote control of connected devices, unlimited history of received data, data comparison over custom time periods, notifications and alerts about unexpected events or unusual consumption, weekly and monthly e-mail reports.
- Energomonitor has been offered to customers since 2011 and it is under continuous development and improvement. Using a cloud-based platform and always-connected devices allows for fast delivery of new features and continuous updates. New types of sensors are being developed regularly.
- Today, Energomonitor is one of the most comprehensive and useful energy management products in the Internet of Things segment for home usage.
- Over the years, Energomonitor gained stable and still growing customer base in 11 European countries and Australia.
- The Energomonitor system provides an excellent price/information value ratio for end users without technical skills who want to have their energy management under control.
- The data platform was developed with an emphasis on customization, including white-labelling of the complete product. Specific components of Energomonitor infrastructure are used in various ways by third-party products.