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Energy revolution with new “Flower.Power” concept

Interactive Energie.Zukunft (energy.future) app: Electricity and gas network operator Bayernwerk AG has come up with a playful, fun way to promote renewable energy to its customers.

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Ensuring a decentralized energy supply using domestic resources – that’s the declared aim of the Regensburg-based Bayernwerk. After all, the sun, water, wind, and biomass are the future. The rapid transition to renewable energies is also a stated aim for the whole of Germany, in light of ongoing climate change and the current energy crisis.

But what exactly will the energy landscape look like in Bavaria in 2030? And how can you explain the complex issue so that everyone can understand it? In order to answer these questions, Bayernwerk worked together with Telekom subsidiary T-Systems MMS to develop an innovative app. Using augmented and virtual reality 3D content, the app brings the energy landscape of tomorrow to life in a fun but informative way.

The inspiration: a poster in the style of a hidden-picture puzzle

An illustrated city map, showing different interactive places.

Bayernwerk wanted to use a modern app to create awareness among its patrons about the energy cycle, from energy generation to purchase.

Photo: Bayernwerk Netz GmbH

Companies, authorities, and individuals are showing an increasing interest in alternative energy sources, with some occasionally even generating their own power from solar panels. They are actively shaping the energy landscape through their individual decisions with regard to power, heating, and transport.

The “Flower.Power” energy concept from Bayernwerk sees the future energy landscape as locally connected microsystems, much like a wildflower meadow. Cities with high energy requirements are like calyxes and are supplied with excess energy that has been generated by the surrounding rural areas – the petals.

The aim of the concept is primarily to strengthen the regional energy supply. Accordingly, the company wants to network and synchronize high-consumption areas with regional producers. However, this can only be achieved with a high level of digitalization, as the energy landscape of the future will require more intelligent networks. Numerous sensors record the current feed into the network and enable control of the power generation from natural sources, which naturally fluctuates heavily. So far, Bayernwerk has already connected 350,000 decentralized systems for generating power from renewable energy to its network, which means that 70 percent of its supply comes from purely regenerative energy.

Bayernwerk wanted to use a state-ofthe-art app for its customers to create awareness about the energy cycle – from generation through to consumption. Furthermore, the company wanted to strengthen its public image as a modern network operator and pioneer of sustainable energy.

Anna Zwicknagel, Project Lead Energie.Zukunft-App at Bayernwerk Netz GmbH

This app explains Bayernwerk's contribution to shaping the energy world of tomorrow in a vivid and very informative way. 

Anna Zwicknagel, Project Lead Energie.Zukunft app at Bayernwerk Netz GmbH

“We were looking for a partner with a great deal of experience. We found exactly that in digital service provider T-Systems MMS,” says Anna Zwicknagel, project manager of the Energie.Zukunft app at Bayernwerk Netz GmbH.

In the space of just a few months, nine scenarios were created with VR/AR content. “In this project, we used agile methods such as design definition loops and development sprints; sound development was also iterative,” says Martin Reißmann, xReality Project Manager at T-Systems MMS.

When you download the Energie.Zukunft app onto an iOS or Android device, all you need to do is use your smartphone or tablet to scan a scene from a special hidden-picture poster or hold it over the space you're in, such as a wall or piece of furniture, and you’ll be transported to a small city in the year 2030. Users of the app can zoom into nine stories, which are then displayed in 3D on a projection space, such as a table. The individual scenes are modular, with AR content from low-polygon models. Users of the app can move through the scene and feel part of the action. For example, there is a highly automated network control station, which controls the flow of energy flexibly. Or a smart local network station, where remote-controlled switches enable the power to be restored in the event of an outage. Or a digital household with smart garbage cans, which report how full they are independently.

When developing the app, T-Systems MMS focused on gamification and immersion in virtual content. Users can find out more about each station intuitively and easily. The app is controlled by means of a minimalist user interface.

Technology with future potential

A three-dimensional screenshot of a city.

People who download the Energy.Future app need only to hold their smartphone or tablet over the hidden object poster – and they'll find themselves in a small town in the year 2030.

Foto: Bayernwerk Netz GmbH

The Energie-Zukunft app is free and is also available as a kids’ version, making it perfect for school lessons. In the long term, Bayernwerk AG is planning to use the VR/AR technology in other areas.

“It’s fascinating how easy it is to convey complex issues to the right target group by means of VR/AR content. This app helps declare Bayernwerk’s contribution to shaping the energy landscape of tomorrow in a clear, informative way. The mixed-reality content is fun and makes you curious to find out more about the energy landscape of tomorrow,” says Anna Zwicknagel.

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