Energy Capital approached Adroit Technologies with the task of conceptualising, engineering, and delivering an innovative solution aimed at firstly understanding and then reducing both assets and energy consumption for a customer in the retail sector.

This initiative stemmed from the realisation that many retail owners lack expertise in energy management, despite its substantial impact on business overheads.

To address this challenge, the partnership focuses on empowering retail proprietors to gain comprehensive insights into energy mix, distribution, and consumption.

By offering a groundbreaking solution, the collaboration strives to continuously diminish energy costs while enhancing the overall operational efficiency of these businesses.

The Challenge: Bridging the gap between energy understanding and management

Energy is not the expert domain of the retail sector. To quote a food retail manager, “We know how to sell baked beans!”. Retailers often lack the expertise required to effectively manage energy consumption, yet it is a significant overhead to their business.

The challenge was multifaceted: In food retail most of the assets are used to either cool or heat products, both large energy consumers. The solution aimed to cover Asset and Energy monitoring devices and the end goal was to understand how asset performance, largely heating and cooling equipment, related to energy costs in time and performance.

Municipal energy billing is time-of-use and maximum demand based and the focus of the solution was to create visibility of asset energy against the backdrop and cost to the business over time, allowing the managers to effect control by shifting energy usage and automatically doing load control to ensure the maximum demand charges are kept low.

The Innovation:

Integrating various cloud-based solutions for Real-Time Control Adroit Technologies spearheaded the integration of various cloud-based hardware vendors into an Adroit SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system based in the cloud.

This innovative approach allowed for real-time monitoring and control of assets, providing retail management with actionable insights to make informed decisions.

The solution incorporated the following components:

Energy Monitoring: Leveraging Accuenergy’s energy measurement products, the system monitored energy consumption in real-time, enabling precise analysis of usage patterns across different sections of the store.

Asset Monitoring and Management Hardware: Partnering with Informed Decisions, Adroit Technologies utilised custom-designed nodes to monitor and control assets, ensuring reliability even during power fluctuations. These include temperature, humidity, equipment status.

Single Phase Plug-Socket Control: Stand-alone fridges were managed efficiently using Moko Smart plugs, which communicated with a cloud-based solution via Wi-Fi, allowing for remote control and energy usage tracking.

Software Packages and Platforms: Adroit Technologies employed their latest SCADA technology, ensuring secure access to real-time data via the Adroit Secure Mobile Gateway. Data transmission to IoT endpoints in the cloud was facilitated through the Adroit EDGE Gateway technology, integrated with Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Power BI provided reports and analytics.

Innovation Methodology: Collaboration, Testing and Iteration

Recognising the complexity of the solution, Adroit Technologies prioritised reliability and security throughout the development process. The team collaborated closely with Informed Decisions, conducting rigorous tests to ensure the system’s stability.

Extensive iterative testing was performed on the Informed Decisions’ hardware nodes in order to attain confident acceptable control levels. Continuous feedback sessions enabled the creation of a User Interface that held meaningful value for the managers.

Adroit Technologies’ innovative approach has not only revolutionised energy management for retail outlets but has set a new standard for real-time control and efficiency in the retail sector.

 

Dave Wibberley
Adroit Technologies
Tel. +27 11 658 8100
info@adroit.co.za

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