Opinum, the Belgian energy management technology provider, has made it possible to achieve what was never done before in Vietnam: monitoring the supply and energy management of an industrial zone via a Low-Power wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technology, in partnership with Actility, the world leader in LPWAN industrial-grade connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things.

Actility‘s ThingPark Enterprise™ solution, offering companies the possibility to deploy private IoT networks, ensures a stable and secure communication from sensors to its servers over the LoRaWAN™ network, and to Opinum Data Hub™ for data analysis and insights. These power consumption data allow accurate customer profiling and increasing understanding of power grid optimization.

The challenge of energy monitoring on a big industrial site

Located in Hai Phong city and Quang Ninh province, the fastest-growing industrial region of Vietnam, three industrial zones cover over 3,300 hectares overall, hosting a growing number of companies of all kinds – chemical and petrochemical, electronics, automotive, pharmaceutical, logistics and others. This is where the Belgian/Vietnamese group DEEP C Industrial Zones, a developer specialized in construction and operation of industrial infrastructure, operates.

The group needed to understand how their electrical distribution services work, to collect more data regarding their customers consumption, considering the huge size of the area and the fact that when carried out manually, this task is very demanding in terms of human resources.

Since we were operating on a large area, we needed an automation solution to collect information to better organize our own activities. We looked into several types of technologies and ended up opting for LoRaWAN (Low-Power, Wide Area Network) technology. Its advantage is to allow the remote collection of large amounts of data and low-cost information transfers in areas where availability of power supply sources and communication network coverage are not optimal. We also needed a solution to process this data in the most practical way possible” explains Niels Hubert, COO of DEEP C Green Energy, one of the group’s entities.

This is how they started working with Opinum and Actility, focusing on energy services and environmental impact.

Efficient, accurate and reliable solution based on LoRaWAN

Smart meters were installed across this big industrial infrastructure in order automate the collection and analysis of energy and environmental data. DEEP C decided to turn to Opinum and Actility, partnering up with a local system integrator, namely the Vietnamese subsidiary of the Japanese operator KDDI.

Power consumption data are collected every 30 minutes. To get into the Opinum Data Hub for data analysis and insights, the data is securely communicated over the LoRaWAN network, powered by Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise.

ThingPark Enterprise is the leading LoRaWAN private networking solution, managing over 35,000 commercial gateways. It allows industries to streamline their digital transformation, eliminating wiring for most sensors. With 7+ years field experience worldwide, we support integration of remote sites for all regional radio regulations and offer the widest device interoperability. ThingPark Enterprise delivers carrier-grade technology tailored for the enterprise market:

  • It has a fully managed SaaS service, 365×24/7 monitoring, and High Availability, while all updates and upgrades are managed by Actility.
  • It’s designed to be integrated within any IoT application with a full set of available APIs and Cloud Connectors.
  • It scales with you – 3 tiers to get you started at the right pace, with a full set of products and options such as Device management, Geolocation services, Roaming, and FOTA to go beyond connectivity.

Software flexibility to increase the understanding of power grid optimization

Whatever the activities industrial customers have, the Opinum Data Hub solution collects and centralizes a fixed set of variables: voltage, capacity, consumption. Their analysis serves two purposes: on one hand, precise and transparent data collection of customer’s consumption profile and, on the other hand, more efficient and precise management of the DEEP C energy grid.

The solution offers a very flexible interface: changes can easily be made, for example adapting and developing new reports, designing dashboards, and adding sensors.

There are two main reasons why we chose the Opinum Solution” stresses Niels Hubert. “The first is the simplicity and clarity of the interface. The intuition of the interface allows us to quickly on-board new users with various user profiles with minimal training.  

The other reason is the advantage of flexibility. “Changes can easily be made. This is very important for us as we want to be able to operate autonomously, without having to depend too much on our software provider, for instance when we install new sensors, when we need to connect a new client or when we deploy new services. We will be able to do it ourselves. 

It should be noted that the deployment of a remote energy data collection solution, via LoRaWAN connections, was a first in Vietnam. This was one of the main obstacles to be overcome in a country with strict control over communications.

The Opinum solution will eventually allow to better plan their maintenance interventions, to implement predictive maintenance programs, based on trends, and anticipate actions to be taken. The group also intends to expand the type of data collected in order to extend Opinum Data Hub analytical capacity to its water distribution activities — DEEP C Blue entity — and its facility management entity – DEEP C Park Operations. These other entities will be able to economically equip their respective infrastructures thanks to the availability of the already deployed private LPWAN network within the industrial zone.

Opinum has demonstrated its ability to manage large amounts of data. Our customers select our Data Hub for its robustness but mainly for its flexible architecture that allows them to successfully build up several added-value use cases.”- Loïc Bar, Opinum CEO.

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