NET2GRID solutions support energy transition

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To drive the transition to renewable energy, home energy management company NET2GRID enables utilities and their customers to monitor energy usage data in real-time.

After experiencing performance limits from its server-based architecture, the company wanted to make its smart meter solution scalable and available to its growing international customer base. NET2GRID used Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build a serverless architecture that reduced costs by 400–500% and enables real-time energy monitoring solutions to scale to support customer growth by 10 times in under 2 years. Utility customer satisfaction with programs to date suggests continued strong demand from consumers in the future.      

“On AWS, we can offer real-time meter data at a price point that makes real sense to push to the mass market,” says Bert Lutje Berenbroek, CEO of NET2GRID.

NET2GRID is a home energy management company with the mission to drive energy efficiency and savings for consumers while helping utility companies improve customer service and engagement. It is based in the Netherlands and Greece.

Founded in 2011, NET2GRID collects and analyzes smart meter data that enables utilities to forecast demand for renewable energy, better engage with customers, and increase consumers’ awareness of their home energy consumption. Initially hosting its service on Linux virtual machines, NET2GRID reduced costs and labour by migrating to cloud-agnostic architecture on AWS, using containers, relational databases, and instances. Evolving further, NET2GRID decided to go completely serverless on AWS, gaining virtually limitless scalability at a lower cost.

Analyzing Real-Time Energy Streaming Data Using Serverless Architecture on AWS

NET2GRID migrated to AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service and moved from relational databases to flat storage in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service, and Amazon DynamoDB, a NoSQL database service. The company uses Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, a service for loading streaming data into data stores and analytics services, to load raw data from Amazon Kinesis Data Streams, a real-time data-streaming service, into an Amazon S3 data lake, where it can be fed to a data analytics profiler. NET2GRID also uses Amazon Athena, an interactive query service, to query and analyze the data. NET2GRID’s API and utility monitoring app then uses graphs and visualizations to help customers understand their consumption to manage energy better.

The company collects data from smart meters using SmartBridge, achieving cost-effective, low-latency data processing. Each smart meter has two meter reading outputs: one to the utility with granularity of 15, 30, and 60 minutes and the other to a small hardware device that sends real-time Internet of Things data with granularity of 1–10 seconds. NET2GRID disaggregates both types of meter reading values, the latter with 90% accuracy.

On AWS, NET2GRID can deploy its infrastructure from a single code based on any number of AWS accounts to serve customers globally. Each utility collects data within its own AWS environment and has the autonomy to retrieve copies of data and delete accounts and history as needed, and utilities can provide this capability, in turn, to end consumers, thereby allowing them to control their data based on their preferences in support of GDPR compliance programs. “We are absolutely NOT taking ownership of the customer from the utility,” says Lutje Berenbroek. “We support utilities in maintaining and growing the relationships they have with their customers, and using AWS enables us to do that.”

With AWS NET2GRID now has the elastic, cost-effective solution it needs to keep growing and iterating without needing to manage or maintain IT infrastructure.

Customer Obsession Yields Satisfaction and Results

One major NET2GRID European utility customer generated a high level of customer satisfaction to date, resulting in significantly improved customer loyalty. In October 2020, consumer users of a utility service powered by NET2GRID declared an impressive 60% Net Promoter Score (NPS). The same survey also revealed that 50% of users visit the application daily and 90% visit the application at least once per week. Load disaggregation proved to be one of the most valued features based on customer feedback and contributed towards increased customer engagement.

With the help of the NET2GRID powered solutions, consumers can now for the first time not only properly understand and monitor electricity consumption and immediately identify “power guzzlers,” but also save money by comparing energy-consuming devices inside their homes.

The service makes consumption figures more tangible for consumers and allows them to clearly see the influence of individual devices on overall consumption. It is now easy for consumers to see exactly where costs arise and take steps to manage and lower them. 

Consumers rated the solution, which garnered 4.6 average stars on Google Play and 4.3 average stars on App Store, including a display of total electricity consumption and costs in real-time, a display of device category level consumption and costs, and a display of each customer’s household meter reading with comparative statistics and analysis. If desired, consumers can set the system to warn of unusually high consumption and they can see whether their devices are switched off or on and even be alerted if there is a power peak in their household.

 “On AWS, our engineers can focus on where we add value and innovation for customers, not on keeping the services running,” says Lutje Berenbroek. “We’re scaling NET2GRID to meet the future and empower utilities with energy transition solutions today.”

Meet with NET2GRID live at Enlit Europe 30 November – 2 December 2021 | Milan, Italy, where CEO Bert Lutje Berenbroek will make a presentation. For more information, visit NET2GRID or AWS Power & Utilities.