Save energy thanks to the Internet of things
IK4-IKERLAN is participating in the European project Arrowhead, which is seeking energy efficiency and flexibility in energy consumption through the use of devices connected with each other
- 77 organisations from across Europe are participating in the project due to end in 2017 and which has funding to the tune of 67 million
- The consortium driving it forward met recently at the Orona Ideo facilities in the Basque town of Hernani
The dual aim of the European Arrowhead project is to contribute towards getting companies, cities and consumers to be more energy efficient and to open up fresh business opportunities in the energy sector. This initiative, in which the Basque R&D centre IK4-IKERLAN is participating, aims to use the Internet of things, in other words, the interconnection over the Internet of objects used every day, so that companies as well as consumers can take advantage of energy in the best way possible and can set up new services relating to this and other fields.
Arrowhead is seeking to develop a technological framework that will allow devices to be integrated into energy management networks. When they are connected over the Internet, they will be able to understand each other and share their respective information, which will allow the best decisions to be made.
The technological framework being created by this project will be the basis for setting up a range of applications. For example, the meter of a home could be connected to the owner’s energy provider so that the latter, knowing his/her consumption data, can offer him/her the rate most suited to his/her case and suggest, in accordance with the rate, which would be the best moment to switch on the washing machine.
Sharing data from devices opens up the possibility of offering a host of new services. For example, it would be possible to develop a smart controller for the air conditioning that would autonomously handle the functioning of it while bearing in mind the data coming from other devices connected to the network and thus seek optimum performance and consumption. That way it would be possible to select the right power according to the exterior and interior temperature of the house, the anticipated weather over the next few hours, the contracted electricity rate, etc.
To make these applications possible, Arrowhead is setting up a protocol for the exchange of information between energy providers, products and consumers. Alongside IKERLAN and TEKNIKER from IK4, 77 companies, universities and R&D centres from 15 European countries, including various Basque organisations, are involved in this initiative. This big project, due to end in 2017, has a budget of 67 million euros funded by the European Union (through its 7th Framework Programme) and by the Spanish Ministry of Industry.
Various devices that will be tested in five demonstrators are being developed at the heart of the project. They are all interconnected by means of the Internet The consortium is developing the necessary infrastructure for this, and determining the way in which all the parts have to send their information so that it can be used by all the others.
The information exchange protocol over the Internet which Arrowhead is developing could be used in a whole host of sectors apart from the energy sector: communications, healthcare, etc.
IK4-IKERLAN’s task in this project involves developing and validating a smart meter for homes set up to obtain information on electricity, water, gas and heat consumption and designed to send the data over the Internet. This meter will be tested in the ‘Eco-sufficient Home’ demonstrator.
IK4-IKERLAN’s contribution is based on its capacity to develop state-of-the-art embedded systems, one of the centre's areas of expertise. Embedded systems are processing systems incorporated into larger devices. They control one or more functions and are capable of providing the objects to which they are fitted with various capabilities.
"Our extensive experience in the research and development of cutting-edge embedded systems enables us to play a leading role in Arrowhead,” explained Cristina Zubia, the head of the project at IK4-IKERLAN.
“Participating in this project offers an unbeatable opportunity for IK4-IKERLAN to be in contact with very important organisations in the area of energy and embedded systems, two fields in which the connection between them will be increasingly important,” she added.
Meeting at Orona Ideo
The Arrowhead project recently had a meeting at the Orona Ideo facilities in Hernani. This working meeting was used to specify and develop the framework that will allow the systems developed by the different participants to interact with each other over the Internet.