Over the past five years, the utility industry has faced unprecedented technological disruptions brought on by Energy IoT. A plethora of new, grid-connected devices have formed complex IoT networks featuring a variety of energy assets such as smart meters, sensors and even street lights. But what makes these systems “smart’”? It is the data that drives them.
The energy environment behind the meter is becoming increasingly complex. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States has more than 12 million distributed generation units, representing about one-sixth of the capacity of the nation’s existing centralized power plants. Navigant Research expects global DER capacity to grow up to five times faster than new central station generation over the next five years.
Distributed energy resources (DERs) are mushrooming, particularly in the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector. Consider this: Between 2011 and 2015, distributed generation in the U.S. C&I sector increased by 400 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This growth represents a significant opportunity for energy and technology providers. Navigant Research says, “a new landscape is emerging in which a more sophisticated two-way grid of networked DERs is emerging which will pave the way for an Energy Cloud ecosystem valued at $1.3 trillion in new annual industry revenue by 2030.”
Energy management for healthcare clients is often a matter of life or death. When the grid fails, and extreme weather or other unforeseen circumstances impact energy supplies, critical facilities like hospitals must continue to operate normally to ensure the quality of patient care and safety. To guarantee reliability and reduce costs, healthcare facilities requiring technology-centralized monitoring and control of their Emergency Power Supply System (EPSS) turn to Blue Pillar. This blog, is about two Blue Pillar healthcare customers who capitalized on significant energy savings of $20,000 to $200,000 per site by implementing an energy management strategy using our Aurora® Energy Network of Things™ platform. Below, are their stories.
What if you could navigate the increasingly complex energy environment at your largest commercial energy customers to increase engagement and offer new services without ever stepping foot behind-the meter? That’s what one of the largest ESPs in the United States asked themselves which lead to a nationwide search for Energy IoT platforms from companies with experience behind-the-meter at large Commercial and Industrial (C&I) sites.
If you’re ready to unlock the value of distributed generation by connecting Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), there are three very important technical considerations to think about before you get started:
First, how will you connect all “Energy Things®” (aka DERs) — new and old — especially when they differ in makes, models and manufacturer types? If all DERs can’t be connected and controlled through a single network, truly optimized distributed generation and getting the benefits from higher level applications like Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) are impossible. When some companies talk about the Energy Internet of Things, they mean the Internet of Their Things. Most cannot provide ubiquitous network connectivity across all devices regardless of make or model. Instead, they can only work with their own hardware or software, locking you into a restrictive proprietary and expensive network. Look out for proprietary solutions hiding in IoT clothing.
Second, how will you manage all this data in real-time? The goal of Energy IoT is to provide real-time, cyber-secure data and control readily accessible by any app – like Energy Management, DERMS or DR. Without an Open API as the bridge to access data through any app, solutions are not going to be software-neutral.
And finally — Do you want to be in your business, or the IoT business? Many think they can build their own Energy IoT networks, but requiring their team to take on the burden of “site enabling,” Distributed Energy Resources behind every meter often turns out to be a costly mistake.
These three hurdles can be difficult for an organization to tackle on its own. Thankfully, Blue Pillar’s got you covered. Our Aurora® platform is purpose-built to create an Internet for All Your Energy Things coupled with one of the most affordable, “no touch” deployment models that can accelerate your time to value when needing to acquire real-time data and control from DERs.
Aurora’s competitive advantage starts behind-the-meter, at the connectivity layer at large commercial facilities. Our software-automated deployment app electronically surveys all DER and Energy assets and provides everything needed to connect these Things into a single Energy IoT network — from wire drawings to prescribing equipment lists for hardware retrofits, Blue Pillar automates a once painful process. Once an Energy Thing is surveyed, we wrap it in a little “Aurora love” — our unique Intellectual Property that is a software layer of network connectivity that IoT enables any DER or energy asset no matter the make, model or type. Once it is “digitized” it can be connected and controlled by the grid! Now your once-lonely device can be monitored, controlled, and connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Next, data is collected from assets and pulled into your very own scalable, super-secure cloud where it is managed and protected. We backup, recover and cyber securely protect all data being gathered across your DER fleet. Just like we’re thing-neutral, we’re also third-party software-neutral: your data flows into any application through our Open API for maximum flexibility. This flexibility also future-proofs your enterprise allowing you to change or add software over time but still having access to all the historic data those apps needed to be “grid intelligent” before they were installed. Think about replacing your cell phone. Just like you want your new phone and apps to have access to all your former contacts and phone numbers stored previously, Aurora transfers historic energy data os it can be available to future apps.
Finally, our Aurora Energy Network-as-a-Service (ENaaS) takes you out of the IoT business, so you can get back to work. It’s our version of Uber. Just tell us where you want to go and we’ll drive a turnkey, “no-touch” proactively monitored, sensor-to-cloud Aurora Energy IoT network. We own and maintain the hardware. We provide Service Level Agreements around your data and network uptime.
What if you had real-time access and control across a large fleet of DERs? What could this unlimited data and control unlock for your business? Watch this short 2-minute video to learn more and share with your colleagues. Or, contact us to find out why Aurora is the best choice for your business!
In this three-part video and blog series, we take a deep dive into what Blue Pillar is, the evolution of Energy Network as-a-Service, and how our Aurora® Energy Network of Things® platform stands out in the field of Energy IoT.
Since its humble beginnings, Blue Pillar has set itself apart from other companies offering Internet of Thing (IoT) solutions by connecting energy hardware and software in a ubiquitous automated network. This enables hands-off monitoring and control providing customers with unmatched access to their assets and data; cutting energy costs, reducing environmental impact, and optimizing productivity.
Blue Pillar began with a spark nearly a decade ago connecting Emergency Power Systems at hospitals. Soon cable operators, universities, data centers, and retail chains, who also suffered from power outages, turned to Blue Pillar to integrate their energy infrastructure. We realized we could do much more than connect generators to improve reliability by connecting any “Energy Thing”, regardless of make, model or vintage, to reduce waste energy and carbon footprints. This innovation marked a bold shake-up at the grid edge, poised to radically change the future of the energy sector at large.
In the energy industry, the right idea catches at lightning speeds. Large nationally-recognized energy providers looked to Blue Pillar to connect hundreds of megawatts of behind-the-meter distributed generation at their largest commercial and industrial consumers. This success led to the birth of Aurora as an energy control networking platform. The benefits of connecting energy things once and leveraging the connectivity many times allowed the Blue Pillar spark to catch fire, disrupting the industry and freeing our customers from stranded, proprietary equipment and data silos. Single-use applications or single-site installations are obsolete with the connectivity and flexibility of the Aurora platform.
From relative obscurity to being named one of the top 20 companies most likely to disrupt the grid edge, many believe Blue Pillar will disrupt the entire energy industry. We agree, and to truly scale this disruption we have three offerings that dramatically simplify and reduce deployment costs: Aurora Basic Connectivity Service, Aurora Managed Service and Aurora Energy Network-as-a-Service.
In our Basic Connectivity Service, Blue Pillar provides the initial installation and training allowing your IT team to support Aurora post-deployment. We’ll get out of the way and give you the keys to the car after we teach you to drive. A step up is our Managed Network Service, the On-Star inside the car. Here, Blue Pillar proactively monitors and manages your network. Our third option, Energy Network-as-a-Service, is our version of Uber. Just tell us where you want to go and we’ll drive a turnkey “no-touch” proactively monitored, sensor-to-cloud Aurora energy IoT network while you enjoy real-time data and control without ever setting foot behind-the-meter.
From a company that got its start connecting generators to creating an energy networking platform capable of disrupting an entire industry, Blue Pillar is changing the world one connected asset at a time.
If you want to learn more about Blue Pillar’s Energy Network as a Service (ENaaS) and how we can help you focus on what drives your business, check out the next entry in this series.