Energy has become an important topic for consumers in recent years with plenty of coverage in mainstream media across Europe. The subject is on everybody’s lips due to the energy crisis and the rising energy bills resulting from it. This is because prices have skyrocketed across the continent, and people are now looking for solutions to help them better understand their bills and ultimately reduce their costs. Our new product Xenn aims to help residentials in Belgium do just that. Xenn will launch in Flanders in March 2023 before progressively expanding to other regions.
re.alto was originally set up to facilitate energy data and services transactions and to empower businesses to manage their clients’ energy on a consumer level. We created the re.alto API marketplace to give people access to the data required for basic energy management. However, access to general data alone (such as market prices, weather forecasts etc) is only the first step in optimising a household’s energy management – access to household appliances and the knowledge of what they are doing in real-time is also required. Through re.alto Connect, we provide appliance data access without the need for additional hardware, giving our users and partners the freedom to create software energy solutions. The current standard is still to have everything physically wired up, often requiring a professional installer, which is not always feasible or reduces the likelihood of having viable business models. Why not simplify the situation and use the by design connectivity available on electricity assets such as photovoltaic systems, electric vehicles and heat pumps? re.alto Connect is “simply” using what is already available (think Internet of Things – objects or devices possessing the technology to be able to connect to other devices or systems that are also connected to a network). It opens the possibility for people to enjoy the benefits of energy services without needing to have all the professionally wired cables or solutions in their home. Our assetless solutions avoid complicated technical setups and serve as a backend platform used to help other parties develop energy services.
Thanks to re.alto, you can obtain close to real-time data via APIs for almost every energy-relevant asset. However, when it comes to head meters, the infrastructure does not exist, meaning that meter data has to be extracted by other means. Solutions differ depending on the country but are most of the time based on sensors, dongles and similar devices accessing meter data via different interfaces of the meter. These kinds of tools, along with various home controls, are all used to gain insight into the energy consumption of a household and therefore offer the opportunity to optimise energy management. Most of the solutions out there today are quite technical, however, such as displaying complicated graphs showing a household’s kw/h consumption, which does not speak to most people on the street. Consumers just want to understand their bills and don’t want to read complex visuals and complicated diagrams. Instead, they simply seek the most important information in a way they can quickly understand, such as in euros. Most of the tools used to gain insight into energy management are aimed at the technical enthusiast instead of the average consumer. Again, the majority of energy users simply want to know whether they are paying too much and where they could save money.
That is where our new product comes in. Powered by our Connect platform, Xenn is a novel kind of mobile application that answers a need in the Belgian market for which there was no adequate answer until now: The customer concern, echoed by the press, around the introduction of a capacity-based grid tariff and the incomprehensible evolution of advance payment in utility billing. The Connect platform gave us the opportunity to quickly respond to this need, and so Xenn was born. Xenn will initially focus on two main needs of the end consumer: budget control and capacity tariff optimisation, but as it is powered by re.alto Connect, it can and will easily expand to other devices and assets such as EV, HP and so forth, should the consumer need arise. Xenn will reinforce the evolution of Connect through first-hand end consumer feedback to ensure it remains truly consumer centric. We launched Xenn based on the traction and interest we observed around this topic and to show that there is a solution to this issue that can be brought to the Belgian market today. re.alto has set up the digital platform to run this solution on, and Xenn will perfectly demonstrate what our clients can do through our Connect platform. re.alto has built and provides the necessary infrastructure for a new product like Xenn to be a success.
For Xenn, users will simply attach a P1 dongle to the P1 port on their smart meter and then connect to their dongle via the user-friendly Xenn app and web portal. The dongle will read the data from the meter 24/7 and provide the consumer with easy-to-understand insight into their energy consumption at any time via the app. Xenn will include tariff information, giving the user insight into their costs, and will translate the technical gibberish into plain Flemish, thus simplifying energy and making it more comprehensible for the average consumer. With the capacity tariff in play, Xenn calculates the current costs of the user’s energy consumption, so that they can see how much the tariff will cost them and adjust their advance to avoid nasty surprises on the final invoice. Through the app, the consumer has easy access to the most important data relating to their consumption and invoices, and the app will also notify them about any peaks in consumption (and spikes in cost). In addition, the dashboard in the online portal provides further clarity about even the tiniest details for those with a thirst for more knowledge. In using Xenn, consumers can avoid surprises when it comes to bills, better monitor and manage their energy consumption and receive tips on how to save. In times of rising prices and new rates, everyone understandably has concerns and questions. Thanks to Xenn, the consumer gains more clarity and can take back control of their consumption and costs. In future, Xenn will be able to optimise the energy management of a household even further by providing the ability to steer certain devices or assets (ie: to start charging a car at an opportune moment), therefore making the most of the Internet of Things universe and enabling smarter consumption through connectivity. The time for smarter energy is here, and Xenn is ready to make it happen.
Check out the Xenn website for more information on this exciting new venture.