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Next Box

We control the networked plants via M2M communication

The Next Box provides control of each individual asset aggregated in the Virtual Power Plant. It is compatible with all common generation units and demand processes. The Next Box has been the key to our asset control since the beginning and now connects more than 4.000 units of different techonologies. The amount of control the Next box has over the individual asset is agreed upon with each owner, who retains in full command over his unit.

M2M in the Virtual Power Plant: the Next Box
The Next Box is a remote control unit. It allows us to connect thousands of decentralized electricity producers and consumers to our system and centrally control them. Moreover, the systems are always able to send us exactly the data that we need to market their electricity in real-time. Given one signal from us, the units can start up or shut down directly and as a group at any time.

How our Next Box works

The Next Box connects all plants with our control system. This connection works bidirectionally:

  • The Next Box sends information to the control system
  • Via the Next Box, the control system can start up or shut down the units

Data communication takes place over a GPRS connection. This is established via a SIM card:

  • The data is encrypted directly within 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 don't have access to the Internet, which makes data transmission even more secure
  • As soon as the data is in our control system, it is decrypted again

The Next Box is individually configured for the specific type of system. Where available, district heating, gas or water storage as well as all time restrictions are programmed, so that the unit can be operated at maximum efficency.

Under the surface

The basic configuration of the Next Box consists of these three elements: modem, antenna and PLC

  • Modem: Provides a communications link between the remote unit and the control system
  • Antenna: Amplifies the signal reception. It can be located up to 15 m from the Next Box if necessary, for example, on the roof of a building.
  • PLC (Programmable Logic Controller): This small computer processes and encrypts the raw operating data of the installation.

As soon as the Next Box is installed at your site, it becomes part of our Virtual Power Plant. All the data we need to operate your plant is now directly sent to our control system.