Energybox Platform: Creating Simplicity in Monitoring and Analyzing Equipment Performance

Energybox’s very own Ananya Banerjee, Senior User Experience Designer, has written this article regarding our platform. Learn about our platform’s features and the work that has gone into ensuring that all users have a great experience.

Energybox allows business owners to connect, monitor, review and optimize energy-consuming devices and sensors within a site. Energybox is a leading provider of  IoT-based solutions that deliver enterprise-wide operational efficiencies to commercial facilities including restaurants, convenience stores, labs, storage spaces and others. Solutions like SiteHero, EnergyTracker& AutoScheduler help in monitoring energy consumption of equipment, enhancing equipment performance, providing operational transparency and delivering a range of cost-saving benefits, including significantly reducing energy expenses by scheduled control of equipment, reduced maintenance and repair costs and increased equipment uptime.

Energybox’s Platform gives business owners the ability to monitor multiple sites or equipment performance, analyze data through detailed visualization graphs, generate automated reports, control equipment and much more. Senior management can evaluate the performance of 100-500 or thousands of sites within a few minutes.  The intuitive design of the platform allows organizations to easily drill down through the information hierarchy down to each sensor’s activity and access sensor readings over time. The platform provides historical data for comparison of different KPIs as well as real-time data for monitoring and controlling equipment.

In this article, we are discussing 3 key aspects of the platform that are primary contributors for making the platform intuitive, user friendly and comprehensive to the users. They are: 

  • Simplification by Data Visualization
  • Emphasis on Data Accessibility 
  • Easy Navigation Across the Platform

Simplification by Data Visualization

Communicating the data gathered by sensors through simplified data visualizations is one of the key features of the Energybox Platform. Users can easily identify patterns through the visualizations such as a breakdown of energy consumed by different sites of an organization, ambient conditions of a store, or equipment temperature etc. The platform has extensively used time-series type graphs that are used to visualize energy, temperature, humidity-related data, such as energy consumption data, peak load management, ambient conditions etc.  The platform also provides flexibility to increase the granularity of the data with the help of the time picker with a minimum aggregation of 15mins.  

For ease of understanding data, all charts have a common time window. If the user selects “last 24hrs” in the time picker then all graphs will be populated accordingly. The graphs also provide a helpful “selection” tool. When zoomed into one chart,  the “zoom in” function acts upon other nearby graphs, pointing to that same instant. This can both orient the user’s understanding of time as well as make clear any deviations in the relationship between time and space.

Emphasis on Data Accessibility

Energybox recognizes that the platform will be used by various types of users, thus focuses on making the platform easily accessible to all user groups. Using too many colors on a dashboard can lead to information overload and confusion. A carefully crafted color palette has been used and relies on different shades or saturations of the colors in that palette to differentiate information. It was imperative to make sure that there is enough contrast between the shades to convey the information clearly at a glance. The platform has often used colors to differentiate between signals like “green” for active and “red” for inactive.

A special focus has been given on color accessibility for our users with disabilities like color blindness. For color accessibility, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been followed to ensure all platform users have a great experience. Thus the colors have been carefully selected by testing and checking contrast levels to make it accessible for users with color blindness.

Customization of the Platform

The Energybox platform provides the option to customize the dashboard as per users’ requirements. Thus making comparison, multi-site monitoring, and benchmarking fast and flexible. Different user groups can customize the dashboard layout by simply selecting from a range of widgets that are carefully designed based on organizational KPIs. Data representation in the form of charts makes complex concepts easier for users to comprehend. Once users have found the essential data, they can dig deeper to find historical data for comparisons that help them identify trends. 

Providing too much information across the top of the home screen can obscure the most relevant data points, thus the dashboard provides high-level information and detailed data is available with just one click.

Easy Navigation

Energybox identifies its digital platform is where management of organizational data takes place and it is used by various user groups like CEOs, COOs, Operations and Quality directors, department heads and frontline employees for assessing the performance of equipment, spotting trends and accessing actionable insights. 

Energybox focuses on creating an easy to use navigation path for viewers to quickly and efficiently navigate from a macro overview of information to details of sensor activity without any hazards. An inverted pyramid structure has been used for easy information flow i.e. the most crucial information first, provides context for the insights at the second level – as well as exploring historical trends – and then digs deeper for an analysis of the details at the third level, providing actionable insights to improve the top-level data.

The first level is the Tile Overview based on different organizational KPIs like Temperature Compliance across Sites, Highest Energy-Consuming Equipment of a site etc. The second level provides an analysis of real-time data and historical data that assists in Organizational Benchmarking of Equipment and Managing Performance along with Notifications of irregularities in the system. The third level provides detailed sensor information of equipment for users to understand the reason for an incident. 

For example, top-level information can be the overall compliance level of all sites. Users quickly look at a site with a lower compliance level and dig one step deeper to see the list of equipment with their compliance percentages. They then quickly scan through the equipment list and find equipment with the lowest compliance percentage and they visit the equipment details view to analyze why the equipment is less compliant. This insight will enable organizations to take action to improve the overall compliance level of a site.

Future Development Plan

Energybox continues to focus on improving people’s lives and the environment by helping organizations to reduce their energy wastage and optimize their energy consumption. Real-time data will provide proactive and personalized insights into equipment usage at their facilities to help organizations understand and use their energy in new ways. The Platform, using machine learning, over time, will learn the user’s preferences so insights become more and more personalized. The platform’s data analysis has the opportunity to provide information that could educate consumers on their energy use. Considering different countries, facility heating and cooling is a particularly hot (and cool) topic, and because of this, further research into thermostat data has the opportunity to help customers a lot in how to reduce our carbon emissions and work towards our goal of a more energy-efficient future.