AWS for Industries

Luminus Launches Energy Monitoring App Using AWS Partner NET2GRID’s Energy Insights

Energy solutions provider Luminus wanted to empower Flemish consumers by providing them access to data collected from their digital meters. By October 2022, two million digital meters were already installed in Flemish households, with a goal to equip 80 percent of Flemish households with digital meters by 2024. The rollout of digital meters in Wallonia and Brussels would shortly follow. With the introduction of digital meters, Luminus identified new opportunities. The company wanted to make these devices “smart” by providing customers insights and capabilities to act on their energy consumption. In turn, Luminus’s customers could avoid bill shocks and exercise better control over their energy budget.

To turn these digital meters into smart meters, Luminus wanted to develop a user-friendly mobile app to deliver personalized energy insights to Flemish consumers and eventually to all of Belgium. The company was also interested in offering a service that would display near-real-time insights and include a dongle that customers could plug into their electricity meters. “We looked for potential collaborators that could help us supply these services to our customers,” says Hélène Blomme, product manager at Luminus.

Through its search, Luminus engaged artificial intelligence technology company and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner NET2GRID. With a strong history of working on AWS, NET2GRID had previously built a scalable data solution, the NET2GRID Insight Platform, which laid the groundwork for these projects. “Our solution is standardized in the way that it analyzes data,” says Peter Broekroelofs, chief technology officer at NET2GRID. “We had to connect our solution with Luminus and the energy operators’ systems.”

Building a Scalable Data Pipeline on AWS

NET2GRID specializes in designing software and hardware for energy retailers and consumers. The company became an AWS Partner in 2015. Since migrating its on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, NET2GRID has built a scalable data pipeline using AWS services. “It’s more cost-effective for engineers to be cloud native,” says Broekroelofs. “AWS reduces our IT teams’ burden.”

The company uses a combination of AWS solutions to generate compute. For instance, NET2GRID has containerized its workloads using Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), which gives companies the ability to run highly secure, reliable, and scalable containers. NET2GRID also uses AWS Fargate, a serverless compute service for containers. “We can scale our solution to a high volume of customers and traffic,” says Broekroelofs. To automate certain steps in its data pipeline, the company has adopted AWS Lambda, which gives NET2GRID the ability to run code without thinking about servers or clusters. Using these solutions, NET2GRID can quickly onboard new customers, like Luminus, to its software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

One of its SaaS offerings includes a white-label application called Ynni, which NET2GRID can customize to its customers’ key uses. This app provides the framework for delivering energy analytics and connects to its backend through APIs. NET2GRID stores all the data from its applications and customers in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a cloud object storage service built to retrieve virtually any amount of data from anywhere. “Amazon S3 gives us flexibility,” says Broekroelofs. “It is more cost effective and scales better than a database.”

Collaborating to Provide Personalized Energy Insights to Consumers

After running proofs of concept, Luminus adopted NET2GRID’s energy insights solution and rebranded its white-label application as the Luminus Monitor app. To deliver personalized energy insights to consumers, NET2GRID connected with the distribution system operators’ data hub, where the meter readings of all Flemish customers reside.

The companies also developed an upgraded service called the Luminus Monitor Key. This service includes a dongle that consumers can plug into their digital meters to gain granular insights about their usage in near real time. “We want to make the data snackable and simple to understand,” says Blomme. “With near-real-time insights and alerts, our customers get the data that they need to act and reduce their consumption.”

For instance, Luminus customers can measure how much energy they consume versus how much they inject into the grid. They can also gain actionable recommendations for when to run their washing machines or other household appliances so that they can avoid fees for high usage peaks. Luminus and NET2GRID also worked together to develop a feature for the app that converts usage into a monetary figure based on customers’ energy contracts. “Not only can our customers see how much energy they consume in kilowatt-hours, or cubic meters for gas, but they can also see how much their usage translates into euros,” says Blomme. “It’s the feature that our customers appreciate the most.”

To process data quickly, NET2GRID uses Amazon Kinesis Data Streams, a service that companies use to stream data easily at virtually any scale. “Every 1–3 minutes, we send a new data point into the cloud from digital meters,” says Broekroelofs. “We can then analyze that data using our solution.”

Delivering More Value to Flemish Households

With technical support from NET2GRID, Luminus launched the Luminus Monitor app in March 2022. Since then, over 20,000 of Luminus’s customers have registered for the app, and 50 percent of the surveyed users have reported that the app’s information helped them reduce their energy consumption. “Now that we have the data available, we’re thinking about other ways and services to deliver value to our customers,” says Blomme.

Together with NET2GRID, Luminus released the Luminus Monitor Key in December 2022. The Luminus Monitor Key is a near-real-time solution that helps Luminus’s customers take action and reduce their energy consumption. The company has already received positive feedback from early users who can directly see the impact of their actions on their consumption and related costs. “There’s a lot of interest from the public to control energy costs at the moment, given the particular energy context,” says Blomme.

Beyond this release, NET2GRID continues investing in AWS services that it can use to iterate and innovate rapidly. “As we go into more energy-management use cases, connecting our hardware to the cloud is a real benefit. Working on AWS helps us fulfill our ambitions as a company,” says Broekroelofs.

Don McDonnell

Don McDonnell

Don McDonnell serves as global segment lead utilities for Amazon Web Services partner network. When not helping partners build and grow on AWS, Don volunteers serving on the board of trustees of non-profits and Goshen Valley, Georgia’s top-rated foster agency provider.