Retail Energy Management through IoT

Most people prefer to visit big stores like Walmart and Costco for buying almost everything from iPhones to ice-creams. But running huge stores is not an easy task, and the superstores are always on the lookout for ways to cut costs by streamlining their operations.

With superstores the size of a city block, streamlining operations is not simple. Substantial resources—time and staff—are necessary to keep store lighting, food court ovens, HVAC systems, and digital displays running at maximum efficiency.

The stores may have hundreds of freezers and refrigeration units operating at the same time. Constantly monitoring them for meeting government regulations, while manually adjusting them, can lead to food safety compromises. A breakdown can halt services and food sales, slashing profits and irritating customers. While the retail sector increasingly adopts sophisticated digital solutions, its inefficient management of energy systems can become an anomaly.

With the recent pandemic causing a worldwide worker shortage and subsequent rise in labor costs, retailers would rather not add people for tracking and monitoring their back-end facility.

Traditional energy management systems available on the market operate in two ways. First, system integrators must build from scratch a software program for managing energy consumption to make the effort feasible, but this is too resource-intensive. The other may require purchasing an off-the-shelf system for building management—such as those that office towers and apartment buildings use. But these systems are usually not customizable, and they do not accommodate retailers. This is where a new platform has become necessary.

IBASE and Novakon have created a new platform for managing energy. They have designed the IBASE platform specifically for retailers. The platform, IBASE IoT Energy Management Platform, can monitor and manage refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning, kiosk signs, food court appliances, and lighting. The IoT system connects everything to the Internet, which allows tracking, monitoring, and controlling them possible in real-time.

Therefore, retailers no longer need a staffer to tend to freezers and refrigerators. Instead, they can concentrate on their own activities. The system does the tracking and data recording from multiple sensors that transmit new information all the time.

The new platform allows retailers to review the status of not only the refrigeration system but also the power that all connected devices and appliances consume. Anything going wrong brings up an immediate alert. The same alert also reaches the servicing company, so they can take up repair and maintenance immediately.

Moreover, the IBASE platform also has the capability to automatically turn HVAC and lighting on and off in synchronization with business hours. Retailers can tweak the system to match their special requirements to further save energy and money. Utility companies often offer discounts to businesses that can keep their power consumption below a certain threshold.

The IBASE platform is a real boon for large retailers—they can really save big on resources and energy. For instance, in a retail operation with 250 lighting devices, 36 air conditioners, and 22 power meters, staffers had to monitor each floor with notebooks, noting down appliance information every hour. The IBASE platform has transformed this.