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. And not only that. the systems are also always able to send us exactly the data that we need in real-time to market their electricity with quarter-hourly precision. And at a signal from us, the units can start up or shut down directly 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
- Though 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 must be 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
- Once it is in our control system, the data is decrypted
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.
A peek under the hood
The basic configuration of the Next Box consists of three elements: PLC, modem and antenna
- 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 in the system, the system becomes part of the Next Pool, our 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.