Field Trials, Results and Findings

Activities

  • Announcing the project for the local partners, households and general audience
  • Selection of participants for the advanced and basic versions of AnyPLACE
  • Installation of the appliances
  • Support of, and Communication with, the trial participants

Key Learnings

Staff: The coordination of a field trial of this size (25 households) requires highly educated staff, large amounts of effort and good teamwork. The range of duties is broad, so the responsible organisation needs to build a team with a minimum of two members, full-time throughout the project duration. The skills of the team members should cover the range of duties, but one communicator and one technician are a must-have.

Communication: The end-user hotline did not work at all. At least, some of the participants used the online support via e-mail and appreciated the quick responses from the coordinator. Most participants preferred personal contact with the project during the workshops and the visits to the households.

Selection of the participants: The selection of the participating households focused on the type of buildings to generate a wide range of different household types (residential, public, operating/industrial). At a later stage of the project this turned out to be a problem, because the focus should have been more on the participants themselves. Active participation requires enthusiasm, which is very hard to measure or to find out with only a few minutes of personal conversation. Having participants in public buildings (e.g. the innovation centre, the drugstore) was very important, because the project team can access these buildings without making appointments in advance.

Expectations of the participants: The technical development faced problems and the consortium needed time to find solutions. In the framework of R&D projects this is daily business. It is important to decrease the expectations of the participants while installing the prototypes to a realistic level, so that they don’t expect a fully developed product during the trial.

Lack of DSO involvement: The fact, that there was no distribution system operator (DSO) part of the consortium was a complicating factor.

Time factors: The coordination of appointments was much more difficult than expected. It often took weeks to get a fixed appointment. Some appointments could be fixed spontaneously, but this was not common. For the planning of a similar projects this means, that the field trial, with its different phases, needs much more time, and at least 1.5 years.

Findings: What questions were answered?

The roll-out of the AnyPLACE solution was possible. The installation of the solution required a solid internet connection. In rural areas like Dörentrup (Lippe) this can’t be guaranteed all the time. Alternatively, LAN cables and larger antennas on the smart meters were installed to improve the signals and to stabilise the connection between the appliances. This worked out well and made the solution work even in very old buildings with solid walls.

The information we learned would be of interest to:

  • Organisations responsible for the execution of a field trial
  • Distribution system operators (DSO), municipalities, districts

Further reading

Project documentation will be added and published to this site as they are completed.