Success Story: ORATORIO – Energy transition with data portability

by ORATORIO team

The Challenge

The European energy sector, and in particular electricity and gas distribution, is currently undergoing major disruptions including deregulation, digitalisation and clean energy transition.

While the ongoing investments in the connected energy infrastructure (electric smart meters, electric car charging points, solar panel generators, smart connected buildings…) are very significant, the underlying data portability is still at its infancy at best. The newly promoted European Green Deal, aiming at climate neutrality by 2050, call for almost immediate deployment of new energy data collection platforms, and makes it very urgent to provide necessary interoperability and compatibility solutions.

The consumers are not really in control of their smart building, connected car, energy consumption and production data. While privacy regulations (GDPR) bring some transparency of data being stored, it is mostly impossible to migrate data between different service and equipment providers outside of pre-defined eco-systems.

The Solution

The ORATORIO project brings pragmatic and efficient answers to the data portability, based on open standards, as well the extensive experience of GridPocket team in large scale deployments of digital energy services with electric and gas utilities, as well as many years of applied research of data security, analytics, open data and human acceptance.

Oratorio offers a tool that simplifies end-user data exchanges between data utility companies and energy third-party companies. These third parties can offer additional energy services that do not exist on the initial service provider platform. These can be saving energy tools, IoT smart home systems, electric car charging platform or other data services that could strongly benefit the end-user. The utility company can also benefit from the solution by increasing the number of energy services offered through its portal.

DAPSI support

DAPSI provide co-financing for the project. This co-financing enables GridPocket to dedicate considerable R&D resources during 9 months to the ORATORIO development.

Additionally to the financing, DAPSI offered multiple coaching sessions. This included business coaching with an objective to identify the best go-to-market strategy, as well as technical coaching sessions. The technical coaching and trainings offered access to experts from the data portability field.

DAPSI journey – Achievements from first phase of the DAPSI programme

During the 1st phase of DAPSI, the Oratorio project, managed by GridPocket, accomplished multiple milestones enabling delivery of the first prototype. The initial tasks included definition of a data portability framework for the energy sector and definition of the interoperable, evolutive and secure communication protocol. Following the specification phase, GridPocket has implemented the first prototype energy data hub and deployed it in a secure cloud cluster. In order to test the data hub, a prototype use case application has been connected to the data hub. The prototype enables demonstration of data portability between an energy utility and a third-party electric car charging system. On the commercial side, GridPocket has signed a first commercial agreement related to the Oratorio technology.

DAPSI journey – Achievements from second phase of the DAPSI programme

During the second phase, GridPocket released the MVP version of ORATORIO and published open sources software, enabling third parties to build ORATORIO client applications.

The MVP version of ORATORIO processes data from an existing legacy API into a new normalized API, using a proposed data-model based on RDF serialization format: JSON-LD.

ORATORIO can share rights with end-users (who own their energy data) to manage their consents for data sharing from energy provider, to selected energy third parties via a web user interface. Oratorio is GDRP compliant by design following the European requirements.

ORATORIO manages authentication and access rights to any actor willing to use and process the user’s data. The third parties can become data controllers as well. Indeed, once they get the user’s consent, they are fully responsible for the user’s data processing regardless of utility company’s responsibility.

ORATORIO proposes a public API for third parties for getting end-user data from the utility provider.

ORATORIO integrates data (user data, contract data, technical data and consumption data) and adapts them into a standard and fully documented format.

ORATORIO provides a consent dashboard to the end user to keep him or her fully informed of what data type is used and for which purposes. The related consents are clearly worded and can be granted or removed at any time by the end user.

With ORATORIO, the utility company can guarantee that consumption data can be transmitted in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format to any other data processor, whatever is: additional service provider, or another energy provider.

Lessons learnt

The DAPSI enabled a well-structured approach to bring an innovative product to the market. While being offered access to state-of-the-art knowledge and experts, we have identified some gaps between ideal research-based approach and real-life expectations of users and clients. Some compromises needed to be made with respect to the choice of protocols and ontologies. The compromises enabled to lower entry barriers for future users and gain time-to-market. Another challenge consists of associating the technology with a viable business model. The data portability as such is expected by users, but few of them are willing to pay for it. It is necessary to associate the data portability with pre-conceived services in a way to generate immediate revenue or savings for all the stakeholders.

What’s next

GridPocket is integrating the results of ORATORIO into its commercial PowerVAS platform as its natural Energy Data Hub extension. PowerVAS is an ideal choice for electric, gas, water and waste utility companies. It enables them to handle large volumes of energy related information, process it and provides well packaged service to end-users (residential and businesses).

The new PowerVAS solution has been selected be presented to global utilities at upcoming Enlit-Europe event on 30 november – 2 december 2021 in Milan, Italy.

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