Category Archives: Software Development

ChargeFlex – turning Electrical Vehicles from sinners into saints

Norway – capital of Sweden, with polar bears in its streets? Norway – where the world’s longest TV show “Hurtigruta minutt for minutt” (134 continuous hours!) made it to the list over Norwegian national heritage alongside the original manuscript of the Norwegian constitution. Norway – with its breathtaking scenery, fjords and mountains. Norway – the land of milk and honey with endless supply of fish, oil and carbon neutral hydropower.

There are many myths and unbelievable truths about this elongated country near the North Pole counting less than 6 million inhabitants. Still, we have more (electro) shocking news.

Today, in a global perspective, Norway is a forerunner in the prevalence of electric vehicles (EV’s) with almost 60.000 EV’s in the national car park today, compared to less than 20.000 in 2013. This dramatic penetration of EV’s in Norway is largely thanks to strong political incentives and tax benefits resulting in the fact that Norway has one of the highest densities of EV’s pr. capita – worldwide!

Blessed with a typology that has given Norwegians a natural access to green energy, and historically low electricity bills, the introduction of more efficient electrical appliances with high power output in households (such as induction ovens, instant water heaters, etc.) sets new demands to the supply of energy output. Adding on to the trend of more energy efficient appliances, the escalating popularity of EV’s and the accompanying increase in demand for charging puts even more pressure on the power grids. As a result, when many EV’s need charging simultaneously, the local distribution grid may experience capacity shortages. Until now, this has meant that power grid companies have had to make costly investments in infrastructure to meet these demands. An investment, which eventually takes form as an increased invoice from your local grid supplier.

Through the R&D project ChargeFlex, a feasible alternative to costly grid reinforcements is the main goal of the project. eSmart Systems sets forth to develop a software that utilizes the flexibility in the grid with the aim to increase local network capacity by 25 percent. This flexibility is made possible through smart management of charging EVs connected to the grid, playing amongst others the role of flexible storage capacity. As a funny twist of irony, the devices causing some grid owners to refuse to build charging stations because of the suspected strain in the power grid it would cause are the same devices that just might be the pillar in future and smart management of power grids and energy loads.

chargeflexAs mentioned, the main goal in ChargeFlex is increasing local network capacity with 25 percent by developing software to manage the added flexibility you get introducing EV’s, demand and response philosophy, and smart management into the equation. This includes exploring the following objectives:

  • Development of prediction models for charging demand, capacity constraints and available flexibility
  • Utilization of big data and real-time analytics technology
  • Implementation of optimization models for flexible energy resources


PROJECT PARTNERS

The ChargeFlex Consortium consists of eSmart Systems (project manager), Smart Innovation Østfold, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Østfold County Council, Proxll, Fortum Charge & Drive and grid operators Fredrikstad EnergiNett and Sogn og Fjordane Nett.

ChargeFlex is funded by The Norwegian Research Council’s program ENERGIX, through a special call «Pioneering research – new concepts in business».

To follow the project, feel free to like and follow ChargeFlex on facebook.

Written by:
Astri Irene Fotland
Astri Irene til blogg
P
roject Manager, eSmart Systems

Sky er sky

En av de største trendene innenfor IT er skybaserte løsninger. Stadig flere IT-løsninger flyttes fra et klassisk datasenter til skylevering.

Alle må være i skyen – trenden har også nådd energibransjen.

Men hva betyr det egentlig – å være i skyen?

Det er vesentlige forskjeller på måter å ha tilstedeværelse i skyen. Grovt sett kan nettskyer kategoriseres i tre varianter: infrastrukturløsninger, plattformløsninger, og programvareløsninger. For å forklare de forskjellige variantene brukes ofte pizza som analogi.

Hvis man har et eget datarom eller driftssenter der man drifter alle maskiner selv, kan dette sammenlignes med hjemmebakt pizza. Du må kjøpe ingrediensene og lage alt selv.

Så er det noe som heter Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS. Dette er en modell der man leier et driftsmiljø i en sky, men må selv stå for drift og vedlikehold av datamaskinene man leier. Systemene man kjører i en slik modell er de samme som man ville gjort i et eget driftssenter, men man slipper å ha et eget lokalt, serverrom. Det kan sammenlignes med å kjøpe ferdig pizzabunn og lage resten hjemme.

Kontor22

Neste nivå er Platform as a Service – PaaS. Her kjøper man tjenester som f.eks. en database, som skyleverandøren selv er ansvarlig for å drifte. Dvs. at man kan benytte seg av tjenester uten selv å måtte stå for drift og vedlikehold. Microsoft er blant de som har kommet veldig langt i denne modellen og kan tilby alt fra lagring til rammeverk for maskinlære, som en tjeneste. Dette kan sammenlignes med å bestille ferdig pizza hjem.

Det siste nivået er Software as a Service eller SaaS som det ofte kalles. Her trenger man ikke tenke på noe, men bare konsumere en tjeneste levert av en leverandør. Dropbox er et eksempel på en forholdvis enkel SaaS. Dette kan sammenlignes med å gå ut og spise på en pizzarestaurant.

Gamle systemer i skyen?

eSmart Systems benytter seg PaaS som basis for å utvikle våre systemer som vi så leverer som en SaaS. Da lar vi Microsoft garantere for tilgjengeligheten på tjenestene vi benytter og vi slipper bruke tid på å drifte og vedlikeholde databaser, maskinlære-cluster osv. Dette er Microsoft mye bedre på enn oss. Samtidig gir det oss en voldsom utviklingshastighet, for tjenestene er der allerede. Vi legger på vår enestående forretningslogikk på tjenester som leveres av verdens beste driftspartner, og kan utnytte alle moderne teknologier som big data og analyseløsninger, designet for den Internet of Things verdenen vi beveger oss inn i.

Dette står i stor forskjell til mange av våre konkurrenter som også med rette kan si de er “i skyen”. I virkeligheten har de flyttet driften av eksisterende, gamle systemer til skyen. Systemene og løsningene blir ikke moderne av den grunn – det er fortsatt de samme, gamle løsningene. Det er en veldig viktig distinksjon. Selv om du kjøper en skybasert løsning, trenger ikke det bety at den er moderne.

Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President for Information Management og Machine Learning i Microsoft, avslutter sin Keynote Speech på  Build 2015 med følgende sitat:

– Skyløsninger gjør hardware til software. Det gjør software til tjenester og det gjør data til intelligens.

Sky er sky. Bare eSmart Systems leverer systemer som fullt ut utnytter kraften i skyen.

Skrevet av:
Erik Åsberg
Erik Åsborg01
Utviklingssjef, eSmart Systems 

Complete overview of your energy consumption with new app

In Mid-May Ringeriks-Kraft and eSmart Systems introduced the mobile app Smartliv. Smartliv provides customers with a complete overview of their energy consumption and the ability to gain greater awareness of their energy consumption.

“Ringeriks-Kraft was the first in Norway to deploy smart AMS-meters to all customers, and since we have actively worked to develop new products and services for our customers. Launching the Smartliv app is the first step in a very exciting direction,” says CEO in Ringeriks-Kraft, Ole Sunnset.

The app is the first of its kind, and it sets a new standard for customer relationship management in the energy industry.

Saving money through increased awareness

Smartliv personalizes saving tips showing how customers can save money and the environment with simple measures. It also enables customers to compare their power consumption and compete with those who live nearby.

smartliv.

Ringeriks-Kraft is a pioneer in an industry undergoing major change.  It was the first in Norway to deploy AMS meters to all customers within its concession area. With Smartliv, Ringeriks-Kraft takes a leading position in the Norwegian market, once again showing its pioneering power. We are proud to be the chosen supplier of the Smartliv system and thereby participate in shaping development of the energy industry,” says Knut H. H. Johansen, CEO of eSmart Systems.

IMG_1601
Project Manager in eSmart Systems, Kari Amelie Fiva celebrates the launch of the Smartliv app.

The app is available for both IOS and Android platforms. The app is free and can be downloaded now. You must be current customer of Ringeriks-Kraft to use it.

 

Written by
Henriette Næss Forsetlund

Marketing and Communications Manager, eSmart Systems 

Azure Machine Learning helping the smart grid become smarter

A few weeks ago Microsoft published a blog post on their Machine Learning Blog mentioning eSmart Systems. Last week they posted a case study of eSmart Systems.

"We just published a new case study where partner eSmart Systems helps Utilities keep the lights on with an automated energy management system based on Microsoft cloud services, including Azure Machine Learning (ML). What does this mean for Utilities?  Utility companies can now connect sensors, smart meters, and software to forecast consumption, reduce outages, and monitor assets to improve efficiencies. It helps Utilities avoid costly investment in both grid and IT infrastructure while serving an ever-growing and evolving  smart energy ecosystem through smarter solutions that leverage leverage the enormous capabilities of the Microsoft cloud", writes Microsoft in their Power and Utilities Blog. 
Smarter Grids

Energy companies can meet complex challenges—including massive population growth—more easily and affordably by using eSmart and Microsoft technologies to monitor assets and improve efficiencies.

– We need a cloud solution that really scales, and we also need the computing ability to perform big data analysis and predictions, says Knut Johansen, CEO in eSmart Systems, in the case study. Kontor11 v2

– The fact that Microsoft chooses to make a case study about eSmart Systems is a distinction for our work around predictions and Big Data, says Erik Åsberg, Head of Development, eSmart Systems.

Read the full blog post here.
Read the case study here.

Azure Machine Learning publicly available

eSmart Systems are proud to be mentioned in Microsofts latest post on their Machine Learning Blog.

Earlier today Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Machine Learning. In this blog post they use eSmart Systems as an example of a company that apply Azure Machine Learning in interesting business scenarios.

“A traditional smart grid includes multiple data silos, including SCADA networks, building automation systems and substation meters. In this environment, it can be difficult to forecast consumption and prevent bottlenecks or outages. For a utility company, upgrading its entire infrastructure would be costly. Even when upgrades are made, e.g. new smart sensors or meters, data gets collected but is not readily accessible. eSmart Systems uses the Azure cloud platform to integrate and analyze usage data and create forecasts. Azure Machine Learning is the “brains” of the solution, running the data models for predictive analytics. The analytics are used to predict capacity problems and automatically control load in individual buildings”, says the blog post.

Sigurd Seteklev, Chief Strategy Officer of eSmart Systems, says:

“For what we’re doing at eSmart, we needed a cloud solution because of the sheer volume of data being collected; if we were to do it on premise we’d need a lot of storage. We also do a lot of data crunching using Hadoop, which also requires a lot of infrastructure. What we really like about Azure Machine Learning, and Azure in general, is that everything we do is through services available in Azure and we don’t need to monitor virtual machines.”

Read the full blog post here.