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How standards are smoothing the energy transition

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How can we use energy more efficiently in the future? This is one of the big questions now facing the energy market. EEBUS aims to provide an answer that can be summarized in a single word: standardization.

What EEBUS covers

EEBUS

EEBUS is looking to establish standards amid the clutter of the current energy domain. Founded in Europe, the EEBUS association brings together 70 different companies, all of which are linked to the energy market in one way or another. The overarching goal of EEBUS is to provide a common basis upon which the IoT devices of different vendors can be managed and controlled in conjunction with one another. The magic word is interoperability.

More EEBUS

EEBUS covers two aspects: first, there is a protocol – the SHIP (Smart Home IP) protocol. One of the principal objectives is to fulfil the strict security standards required in the energy domain. SHIP complies with the security regulations of the German Federal Office for Information Security.

Second, and arguably more interesting, EEBUS defines a common language with which devices can communicate with each other. Today’s energy market is very fragmented, with many different protocols, data models, and platforms in use. In other words, a standardized means of communication between different devices is highly practical: by speaking a common language, devices can work together in a way that helps optimize their power consumption. The underlying specification that makes this possible is known as SPINE (Smart Premises Interoperable Neutral-message Exchange).

A big advantage of the EEBUS specification is that it is technology agnostic. First and foremost, the standard defines a way in which devices communicate with one another. This means that it can be viewed separately from the other technological aspects that come into play with IoT devices. Take the protocols, for example: you don’t need to use the aforementioned SHIP protocol to make use of the EEBUS standard; you can simply stick to the one you’re already using.

Facilitating interoperability between IoT devices also brings a major benefit for consumers: they are not restricted to using devices of a single provider but are free to choose which one work best for them.

Putting the EEBUS specification into practice

Smart and energy efficient home. Source: iStock/Sven Loeffler

What is SPINE?

With SPINE, the EEBUS association defines use cases designed to illustrate how this common language can and should be implemented in practice. To date, use cases have been developed in the fields of e-mobility, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), white goods, and the power grid.

So, what does it mean to put the standard by EEBUS into practice? We recently worked with the electricals company Hager on an application implementing this standard. In partnership with its customer Audi, Hager developed a home energy-management system for charging electric vehicles. The goal was to create an easy way of integrating Audi’s e-tron electric car within a smart home infrastructure. An approach based on open standards was a key requirement – which is where we entered the picture.

Our contribution was to help implement two use cases covered by the EEBUS specification. The first was to protect against overload. Imagine you want to recharge your vehicle, but the domestic water heating is also switched on. This is where overload protection comes into play: the system is able to intelligently manage network loads, thus ensuring that the fuse doesn’t blow.

The second use case we helped develop is designed to manage and coordinate vehicle recharging. Imagine you have a photovoltaic system. In this case, you can ensure that your car is recharged when photovoltaic power is available, rather than drawing electricity from the public grid. This use case can also help you reduce costs. For example, you can tell the system that your car should be ready to go at a specific time. It then charges the vehicle in the cheapest-possible way.

EEBUS, of course, goes way beyond these two use cases. If you want to learn more about how the EEBUS standard can be implemented in practice, check out our article highlighting the various use cases.

More on EBBUS & industry standards

How can EEBUS be put into practice?

Learn more about the EEBUS initiative.

What is OSGi and the OSGi framework all about?

Find out why OSGi and the IoT are a perfect match.

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