In 2011, the Activity 11831 “Open SES Experience Labs” started at the EIT ICT Labs and was running till 2014. The activity dealt with integrating the user experience into living labs and the Smart Grids. During the years, a core team was working on creating a simulation platform, where smart grid nodes (“Prosumers”) could connect to and run experiments on it and for user integration, new concepts of “Making Energy Visible” have been created.


Why do we need that approach?

  • Understanding the challenges of prosumer participation in Smart Grids
  • Making energy efficiency easy to install and easy to understand
  • Motivate people/users, raise awareness, feedback
  • Explore options (what would work, what not)
  • Evolve from proprietary technology, use apps everywhere

The following description depicts the results mainly of the year 2014, but most of it is based on the work started in 2011.

The platform we were using for the simulation is called Symphony and was created by TU Delft (Symphony/Agentscape) . They implemented the communication infrastructure via agents, which are installed at the experiment participants.


The participants in the simulation were Fraunhofer FOKUS (Optimisation Algorithm), DAI-Labor (TU Berlin, EV charging), DFKI (forecasting) and fortiss (buffering and real time data), who offered the different experiment inputs. CWI integrated their MarketGarden tool, which can offer different market mechanisms, so from the input of the partners, a suitable price has been created. Imperial College offered an additional pricing mechanism on the grid level. The experiments can be watch in real time here.

It is planned to offer the simulation platform as a service to interested parties. You can contact us or TU Delft (M.A.Oey(at)tudelft.nl or Z.Genc(at)tudelft.nl) anytime for more information about the services and our results.

The second big part of the activity was to work on different concepts to show the status of the “energy” to the user/customer. The partners who worked on that were INRIA, POLITO, Fraunhofer IDG, University of Bologna and fortiss.

INRIA worked on a “Rapid Deployment Mini-Kit” for smart building applications, which can be installed in any home or building without any effort or touching the electric installation. With an app, the energy usage and other sensor can be monitored

POLITO was conduction user studies about the different concepts of making energy visible and gave valuable feedback on the user preferences

Fraunhofer IDG was working with the Okulus Rift to create a user friendly 3D environment for dealing with the issue of energy visibility. The results can be seen in the following video:


University of Bologna was working on a prototype for easy to install smart meters. They can be installed without having to do any electrical wiring. The sensors can then be monitored via an Android App. In 2015 it is planned to create a Spin-Off to sell the sensor system. For more information contact Davide Brunelli (davide.brunelli(at)unibo.it).

fortiss has been working on creating mobile apps for the office space living lab. Since the office employee is normally less aware of his energy consumption at the office, certain measures have to be taken into account, to keep the employee motivated and informed. Therefore we were working on gamification for the mobile apps, a content aware feedback system with correlation and a public display concept.