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March Issue of the "Future Internet News" - Out now!
Read the full length feature for the FI-PPP newsletter on the Horsens trial site, including the interview with Andy Drysdale, CEO of Insero Business Services
The FINESCE trial sites are covering key elements of a future energy system, such as smart customers and smart buildings, electric vehicles including load balance service to the electricity grid, an electronic energy marketplace and a cross-border Virtual Power Plant in combination with a Smart factory with flexible energy consumption.
One of the integral goals of FINESCE is to lay the foundation for a strong collaboration of the ICT and energy sector in the energy system of the future.
FINESCE at the Horsens trial site: Insero Live Lab – A living laboratory of the futureWork Package 2 of the FINESCE project addresses smart consumers and smart buildings with a particular focus on prosumer communities. Prosumers consume as well as produce energy and, in some cases, have the capacity to store it. In Stenderup, a village near Horsens, 20 single family houses are equipped with the latest energy and ICT technology in order to test the technologies’ interaction as well as their usability in a smart grid system.
Andy Drysdale, Director at Insero Business Services, the Danish FINESCE consortium partner in Horsens, offers an insight into what the trial site - which just celebrated its grand opening - is working on:
The trial site in Horsens is a ‘Living Lab’, where companies and entrepreneurs have their products and services demonstrated in a real world setting. What is the special challenge of running the ‘Living Lab’?A living laboratory is characterized by being a place or an area, where ‘real people’ use, test and evaluate new technologies, products and services, and where the technologies play a natural part in these people’s everyday lives.
The challenge of running the living lab in Stenderup is the fact that we are dealing with real families in their homes – these are typical citizens that can be found in Denmark or any other European country - and sometimes their perspective on things is different than ours. We tend to have a project-oriented focus, whereas the issues they deal with, and the questions they have, are related to specific situations in their everyday lives (Picture: Andy Drysdale (right) with Anders Midtgaard, CEO of Insero Software).
What is the most important benefit of applying the FI-Ware technology in your trial?Applying FI-Ware technology ensures a standardised way of exchanging information between systems and components. This eases integration between different systems – both now and in the future.
Building on existing FI-Ware technologies helps us develop solutions faster. Here is an example: In the past, we have not had specific dealings with security issues, so integrating FI-Ware security components is a faster way of getting access to a mature solution.
Basically, this means that the FI-Ware technologies allow us to take well-known and proven technologies and components and have them interact in new and more intelligent ways, thereby optimising their efficiency and their impact on the entire energy system, which they are only a part of.
In the ‘Living Lab’, "real” citizens are testing the technologies. What is the most interesting or unexpected input from them?
Regarding the recruitment process, the input that we have indirectly received is that the decision making process differs from family to family – in some cases it took several steps to reach the final decision about participating in the project, in other cases it was a relatively straightforward and easy decision. Recruiting the test sample rewarded us with important insights - in particular, we assume that the recruitment simulates some of the core challenges and important drivers in future sales situations.
Also, we have learned that the EV (Electric Vehicle) has been a focal point for many people – it is interesting and appealing, but at the same time a bit confusing. For example, many families had to consider their current ‘second car’, which was a very essential factor to be balanced in the final decision, and they had to figure out if the EV could effectively replace this car.
Overall, the families can relate to the green and sustainability perspectives and are very positive about their potential contribution to this, but in a project such as FINESCE, it needs to be more tangible and evident what the immediate benefits are, and how they affect the economy. Quite understandably, it is clear that the expectation of saving energy costs is a driver and incentive for most people.
We are positively surprised that the test families take so much action. They do not sit and wait for us to make things happen. They are curious and ask a lot of questions, they educate themselves in the energy area, thus approaching their homes in a new way.
What are your long-term expectations from FINESCE for the local value added and the competitiveness in Stenderup?Generally, a living laboratory provides valuable data about how the families actually use the technologies in their everyday lives, and how they can be improved, so that even more people may benefit from them.
As a result, Insero Live Lab will serve as one large demonstration and development area, where local, national and international manufacturers and suppliers will have the opportunity to test, develop and demonstrate their products, technologies and services – with the aim of maturing these products for the market as well as creating and generating new/more business.
A living lab is a powerful way to demonstrate technologies and their interaction with people in practice. Here, the users of the future are at the centre of a co-creation innovation process, meaning that new knowledge and ideas for products or services are developed based on actual user needs. This results in a dynamic development, where both the users and the market are part of the development process from the very beginning.
It is important to point out that we see the Living Lab in Stenderup as just the beginning, and it should be considered a stepping-stone towards many new living laboratories in the area. We have already seen a lot of local, regional and national focus on Stenderup and the project. During the FINESCE open call, we also attracted international interest. Many companies - small and large - have so far declared their interest in this type of project, and technology-oriented entrepreneurs see an opportunity to test their products and services. Additionally, local entrepreneurs and companies benefit from working with international partners and the latest technologies, thereby acquiring new knowledge and competences. For example, the majority of the installations in Stenderup has been handled by a local contractor, who points out that he has gained valuable knowledge from working with the FINESCE project.
At this point in the trial, 19 households in Insero Live Lab have been upgraded with the following new equipment:
- A heat pump connected to a hydronic heating system
- A solar heating system
- Photovoltaic cells
- A complete "Home Automation" system for control of indoor climate and comfort
- A charging boy for an electric vehicle
- An electric vehicle (leasing)
- A broadband internet connection
The grand opening of the trial site was celebrated on a cold morning in January 2014 with nearly 200 people - many of whom were friends and family of the participating families. They were joined by partners, community officials, and national as well as international press representatives.
After a round of applause for the two opening speakers, Mogens Vig Pedersen, CEO at Insero, and Kirsten Terkilsen, the Mayor of the Municipality of Hedensted, they jointly cut the symbolic ‘green ribbon’ together with one of the participating families to officially launch the Living Lab.
After the ribbon was cut, the participants received their brand-new Nissan Leaf electric cars, which caused quite a stir among the participants as they pulled slowly into the school driveway (Picture: Green Ribbon Cutting with (left to right) Mogens Vig Pedersen, Kirsten Terkilsen, Benny and Bodil Bodholdt).
Apart from the key features of their new cars, the participating families were also introduced to their new intelligent energy management system, especially the online interface that will enable them to closely monitor their consumption data as well as receive information on electricity price development, production, consumption and weather forecasts.