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We consult Energybox, a company for energy management. Their technology system and IoT platform allows clients to retrieve client billing, peak load tracking, real-time energy and operational data, and more. We provided the key software solutions to establish an energy platform with diverse digital services. We enabled Energybox to become a market leader specializing in granular IoT monitoring that enables businesses to improve their efficiency, use of resources, and risk-management.

Business value form sensor data

Shaping the business direction

Despite their own expertise in embedded systems development of sensors, Energybox was searching for an independent and experienced partner in the fields of full-stack software development.

They envisioned a high-performance digital service for the energy sector, operating in a self-managed and scalable cloud infrastructure. In addition to an API for integration into clients’ infrastructures, the foundation was laid for a successful business model.

In 2014, we kicked off an intensive collaboration with Energybox. Our software know-how and consulting were the drivers during this concept phase together with cross-fertilizing workshops.
One relevant focus for us was keeping pace with the extremely dynamic developments in the big data technology-stack available for big data on the brisk software market. We are always on the lookout for the best and most sustainable components, libraries, and frameworks; consequently, we oriented ourselves towards open-source standards.

Developing and evaluating the solution

Different system architectures were prototyped during the half-year evaluation phase. New Energybox hard- and software was developed in parallel with a focus on cross-compatiblity to achieve consistent integrity of high-performance sensor data; we also concentrated on facilitating a data processing and managing workflow that would have longevity. In addition, we sketched the first data charts to visualize the quality of the sensor information.

The final product design was found after several iterations and subsequently presented at the 2015 CES. Since then our cloud service solution has significantly influenced the business direction of Energybox.

From agile development to business needs

As the system has been in operation by clients since 2014, it is continuously subject to our permanent development.

The on-going agile process of software development in close coordination with Energybox enables rapid delivery of the innovative product and successful position in the market of big data for the energy sector.

Thanks to our Energybox API and Energybox Enterprise Portal, manifold industries, such as petrol stations or supermarkets, have reached out to implement Energybox. We optimize and automate the systems’ performance and multi-client capability specifically for the users’ circumstances and business needs.

Cloud service solution

Scope of services

Since the project was initiated, we have been responsible for the specifications of the software and infrastructure stack, which processed more than 1 billion data points per day in 2017.

We were charged with covering the design and implementation for the complete systems architecture. Our solution consists of various components for data handling and a variety of micro-services driving the user scenarios within the Energybox cloud platform.

High-performance and scalability are the key characteristics of our complete system. We aimed to clearly generate essential business value in addition to a strict guarantee for system reliability, data availability, and security.

Agile process for software development in our office in Frankfurt

Designing an integrated systems architecture

Driven by our expertise in full-stack technology, we conceptualized, planned, and implemented every single aspect of the software. The following are the most important layers and components:

  1. Our bespoke binary protocol enables communication between the Energybox sensor hardware and the Bridge of our software system. The data throughput of the protocol was designed to maximize a minimal rate and thus enables stable and granular energy data for sensors with mobile internet connections,

  2. A bridge component receives all data configured to be authorized for the individual client scenario and verifies the incoming values for integrity.

  3. The queue component manages peaks of data loads to decouple the bridge component and the subsequent data flow.

  4. Within the persistence layer the data is permanently stored and accessible by the cloud system.

  5. Via our Energybox API any authorized micro-service can access the sensor data, contextualized for the client’s business facilities, device types, data types or other meta-data.

  6. Market and scenario specific front-ends manage sensor devices and visualize high-resolution data for analysis and energy consumption optimization.

Characteristics of our software solution

HORIZONTAL SCALABLILITY

All individual software layers and components are independent from each other and therefore horizontally scalable. Thanks to sharding capabilities, the data is spread across multiple virtualized instances.

BEST SECURITY STANDARDS

Communication is encrypted on all layers. We use TLS for device communication, and SSL for cloud services and the Energybox API. Data authorization is processed with an access token by the industry-standard protocol OAuth 2.0.

REAL-TIME PERFORMANCE

For storing time-sensitive and operational data in two second intervals, our key technology is MongoDB with its aggregation framework. Replica sets of the data are produced to ensure systems reliability on the front-end.

SINGLE SIGN-ON

Single sign-on comes with OAuth 2.0 and is suitable for all software instances, such as the Enterprise Portal, Consumer App or one’s own custom application via the Energybox API.

MANAGED FIRMWARE UPDATES

Our integrated deployment workflow for firmware updates is based on our bespoke binary protocol. Files can be centrally rolled out for the whole infrastructure, or only groups and individuals thereof.

INDEPENDENT CLOUD

We also manage the software layer of the operating system to guarantee flexibility and independence from third-party cloud infrastructure suppliers.

Visualize your energy

We designed and implemented multiple graphical front-ends applicable for both B2C and B2B and their respective, specialized demands for visualizing and using their energy and operational data.

The front-end seamlessly interfaces with all micro-services in the cloud via the Energybox API and focuses on the essentials of productivity: delivering high-performance energy data in a real-time experience and individually visualizing all types of complex data.

Enterprise portal

The B2B front-end serves bespoke functionalities for centrally managing corporate-owned facility parks.

In addition to the configuration of device types, allocations of electricity consumers for each sensor can be set individually per remote.

Even the initial setup of all hardware resources within a complex IoT infrastructure is very effective; firmware updates are rolled out centrally for individuals or groups.

Our different types of granular live-charts make it possible to monitor and visualize the energy data of the IoT infrastructure.

Thanks to our real-time approach, the interface is provided in a data resolution of two-second periods.

The Enterprise Portal is also the first choice for analyzing the monitored data to build one’s own custom services upon in the next step. Customers deduce concepts for smart automation and implement their custom solutions with the Energybox API.

Intuitive consumer app for managing smart homes

Business-to-many is enabled by our consumer app for smart-homes.

Interface Design Energybox Application © MESO
Interface Design Energybox Application © MESO

Intuitive consumer app for managing smart homes

Business-to-many is enabled by our consumer app for smart-homes.

The app comes with a variety of intuitive features, such as comparing the amount of energy consumption with typical usage. Different types of electricity consumers can be clustered in groups to visualize their data in meaningful contexts.

Analysis of data and energy efficiency is made easy with our playful, iconographic, but informative design.

The app is accessible even for consumers without technical knowledge.

Interface Design Energybox Application © MESO

Integration for business needs

A powerful API is a must-have for every platform based on micro-services, especially when they are driven by data. We put much effort into developing a smart design capable of extensive use, with support for versatile data requests and client capability.

Energybox API allows clients to integrate Energybox into their digital infrastructure according to their business needs. Software by third-party service suppliers extend the monitoring possibilities with custom functions, such as automation of billings, risk management, theft control, or facility maintenance optimization.

© Energybox

Curious about our approach? Feel free to get in touch!

Mathias Wollin Partner +49 69 24 000 326 +49 69 24 000 326

MESO Digital Services GmbH
Gutleutstr. 96 . 60329 Frankfurt . Germany

Team

Martin Schuster, Joakim Reinert, Claudius Coenen, Markus Seeger, Bogomir Engel, Nina Dauer, Alessia Corsini, Marcus Michaely, Alec Woodward Mitchel