Tokyo, October 5, 2015 - Rakuten, Inc. and Ubiquitous Corporation today announced that the two companies have reached an agreement regarding the joint development of cloud-based service platform utilizing energy consumption data collected from residential HEMS*1 equipment.
In preparation for the liberalization of the retail electricity market, Rakuten and Ubiquitous will carry out the joint development of a platform linking Rakuten’s services, such as Rakuten Super Points, with Ubiquitous’ Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and embedded software technology. Residential electricity consumption data will be uploaded to the cloud where corporate users can analyze this information and provide optimal energy-related services to retail consumers.
Rakuten and Ubiquitous have been collaborating on the development of simple HEMS equipment that collects data on energy consumption from smart meters and automatically uploads it to the cloud and have been looking into establishing new services utilizing HEMS. From research carried out by Rakuten Energy and Rakuten Research on the liberalization of the retail electricity market, it has become clear that there is demand from consumers for services related to energy and HEMS, such as systems that allow retail customers to choose the most appropriate price of electricity from a variety of options, services to protect the elderly by alerting when electricity usage differs from normal usage patterns and the most appropriate control of HEMS equipment. In order to meet these needs the two companies have agreed to develop the solutions necessary for the smart home of the future.
In the first stage the two companies will jointly develop a cloud service which automatically stores data on home energy usage from the HEMS equipment acquired by a smart meter. By providing this service in combination with other services, such as Rakuten Super Points, the two companies will support corporate users aiming to develop new services utilizing HEMS.
Since FY2014 the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) allocated approximately 4 billion yen for “Large Scale HEMS Infrastructure Development”*2. With the expected addition of services, including distribution of HEMS device monitors, and coupons, the market is expected to expand.
Visualization and control of energy has been made possible by the collection of data on energy consumption from smart meters by various devices around the home via the ECHONET Lite communication protocol. However, with current HEMS devices, the visualization and management of energy consumption is mostly limited to on-site use. In cases where the service is connected to the cloud, each HEMS service provider uses their own proprietary specifications. In addition, with the usage of different communications protocols in Japan, it will become difficult for consumers to understand which devices they can use in their home, reducing the convenience of home energy management.
In order to expand the market for services utilizing information from HEMS, it is necessary to set up an environment that allows HEMS devices with different communication protocols to connect to the cloud.
Rakuten and Ubiquitous both believe that the smart home solutions of the future will require not just a cloud service platform, but a seamlessly connected environment between cloud services, the home network and HEMS devices that allows consumers to use devices on their home network regardless of which communication protocol the device may support. The two companies will jointly develop a communications protocol to connect home network devices with cloud services to create the smart home solutions of the future.
Since 2011 Ubiquitous has developed IoT service platforms, HEMS services using the cloud, HEMS devices and software development kits (SDKs) for developing ECHONET Lite compatible devices and solutions for the creation of next-generation smart homes. By developing its products, service platforms and technical capabilities, Ubiquitous aims to gain a larger share of the HEMS market by partnering with Rakuten.
In October 2014, Rakuten established the Energy Demand Development Limited Liability Partnership and worked on the development of simple HEMS, and from summer this year, the company has been making preparations for the electricity retailing business for low-voltage users, and has been looking into developing new services that bring merit to customers*3. Rakuten will utilize the big data it will gather on energy usage in new services, and at the same time hopes that it will help in building a service development platform for electricity customers in this collaboration. With its corporate philosophy of empowering people and society, Rakuten aims to first develop the service domestically in Japan, with a view to forming consortiums with a number of local businesses and governments, and then expand the service as a global shared platform, with a focus on Asia markets.
*1 HEMS is an abbreviation for Home Energy Management System and refers to systems that perform residential energy management through the use of sensors and IT. HEMS makes it possible to optimize the amount of energy used, primarily by visualizing the consumption status of electricity and conserving power through the control of devices.
*2 “Large-scale HEMS Infrastructure Development”, METI
About Ubiquitous Corporation
Date of establishment: May 7, 2001
Outline of business: Ubiquitous Corporation was established in 2001 with the dream of seamlessly connecting devices the world over. Today, Ubiquitous Corporation is a Leading Embedded Software Development Company providing a wide range of World Class Software solutions including Data and Energy Management and Cloud Services for the Internet of Things.
Location: Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
Representative: Masahiro Sano, President
Rakuten, Inc. (TOKYO: 4755) is one of the world's leading Internet companies, offering a wide variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on e-commerce, finance, and digital content. Since 2012, Rakuten has been ranked among the world’s ‘Top 20 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with nearly 12,000 employees worldwide.
For more information: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/