Alliander introduces Internet of Things platform for Dutch municipalities

Manchester Smart City
Alliander was a founding partner during the first phase of Amsterdam’s Smart City effort that began in 2009, and launched a street-lighting pilot in 2013. As demand rose for more remote control and monitoring of smart devices, the company began developing the OSGP in 2011

In Europe, Alliander, Holland’s largest operator of electricity and gas grids has partnered with 15 cities in a bid to assist Dutch municipalities use Internet of Things applications to control and manage public lighting and save energy.

Through its Open Smart Grid Platform, created under its Smart Society Services, Alliander will control streetlights – and in the near future – other public facing systems, such as waste collection and energy metering, using standards-based protocols and Internet of Things devices. To this end, the Dutch operator will begin deploying FlexOVL, the first Internet of Things solution based upon the OSGP.

Hans van Egmond, Smart Society Services’ general manager, said in a presentation at the Global Smart Cities Challenge in Washington, D.C: “Municipalities want to control their lighting systems without having to depend on a single supplier.

“They want to manage switching times and dimming times, and more efficiently maintain the public lighting network.”

Open, generic, scalable and independent Internet of Things platform

The OSGP platform acts as the ‘glue’ between web applications FlexOVL and smart devices. In order to operate the platform, the municipality employs one or more applications, such as FlexOVL, to monitor and control devices eg. streetlamps. The applications connect to the platform via several web services that are divided into functional domains—for instance, public lighting or smart metering

Egmond explained: “The way we designed and built the web services layer is generic, so a lot of code is reused for different services.

“However, there is a dedicated group of FlexOVL services [such as public lighting functions] available. These are needed for authorization purposes.”

Rollout of FlexOVL under the first phase of the project, will see Smart Society Services deploy 200 FlexOVL controllers in small-scale rollouts throughout 15 cities. The IoT Journal notes that in each deployment, between eight and 12 of the controllers will be used instead of substation switching relays that turn blocks of public lighting on and off.

Alliander’s Hans van Egmond explained that this in turn, will “give the remote” to the municipalities, relinquishing control over block-based streetlight switching. In total, the company will deploy 20 000 FlexOVL controllers across 150 municipalities to control 800 000 streetlights within its coverage area.

The platform will also be used to monitor other public service infrastructure such as electric car charging stations, streetlights, bridges and locks.