Next Box & Software Interfaces
How we digitally connect
The Next Box is a remote control unit. It allows us to connect thousands of decentralized electricity producers and consumers to our central system and control them from there. Moreover, each Next Box is able to send us exactly the data we need in real-time to market their electricity with quarter-hourly precision. The Next Boxes can faciliate dispaching of schedules for both individual plants or whole sub-pools. At a signal from our Control Center, the assets can so start up or shut down individually and as a group at any time.
How the Next Box works
The Next Box connects the systems in the Next Pool with our control system. The connection works bidirectionally.
- The Next Box sends information on the operation of the remote unit to the control system,
- Through the Next Box, the control system can start up or shut down the units.
- Data communication takes place over a GPRS connection, which is established via a SIM card.
- The data is encrypted directly in the Next Box.
- At the access point, the SIM cards are authenticated so that they can join the closed user group.
- The SIM cards do not have any access to the Internet, which makes data transmission even more secure. (Tunneling Protocol)
- Once it is in our control system, the data is decrypted (End-to-end-Encryption).
The Next Box is individually configured for the type of system: district heating, gas or water storage, and any timetable restrictions are programmed, so the unit can always operate under optimal conditions both technically and economically.
Elements of the Next Box
The basic configuration of the Next Box consists of three elements: PLC, modem and antenna as shown in the image above.
- PLC (Programmable Logic Controller): A small computer, which processes and encrypts the raw operating data of the installation.
- Modem: Provides a communications link between the remote unit and the control system.
- Antenna: Amplifies the signal reception and can be located up to 15 m from the Next Box if necessary, for example, on the roof of a building.
If the Next Box is installed on site, the plant becomes part of the Virtual Power Plant. It can now send all the data that forms the basis for calculating the optimum way it should be operated directly to our control system.
Connecting your unit through built-in solutions
Solar and wind power plants in particular today have built-in software interfaces that allow access to the Virtual Power Plant without the use of additional hardware such as the Next Box.
In this list you will find some of the interface partners which we have already successfully integrated into our Virtual Power Plant.