Shesh Tech makes Grid Edge infrastructure communications watertight

The problem

Grid Edge CPO, Jim Scott and Shesh Tech Managing Director, Daniel Clements

Grid Edge has developed an innovative, cloud-based software service which predicts, optimises and controls a building’s energy profile.

Using predictive, machine-learning and neural network algorithms, the service analyses user data to help the customer reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.  Grid Edge puts intelligent control on the customer’s side of the meter.

Although cutting-edge technology, the software requires seamless communication between Grid Edge’s cloud platform to the companies on-site monitoring equipment.

In-house engineers at Grid Edge spent six weeks upgrading the integrity of the connections with their clients.  Typically systems integrators and building owners, Grid Edge’s clients are in charge of large commercial buildings such as universities, airports and shopping centres including Bullring Birmingham. Shesh Tech considered the improvements Grid Edge had made to its systems and identified how cyber security could be raised to an even higher level.

The solution

As a well-established, managed IT services company, based in the heart of the West Midlands, Shesh Tech proactively identified Grid Edge’s need and designed a seamless and secure communications network.

In just two days, Shesh Tech configured and tested a secure, encrypted VPN (virtual private network).  The VPN safeguards the links between Grid Edge’s cloud-based system and its client-side, monitoring equipment.  This means the transfer of data between the two is now not only more secure but also running at near real-time efficiency.

Daniel Clements, managing director at Shesh Tech, says: “Grid Edge’s innovative technology handles sensitive information such as how many people are in a building at any one single time. It was crucial to have a system that would be safe from poor security on the customer’s side as well as protect the integrity of all data transferred.

“By creating a VPN – which called for precise, accurate and ruthless attention to detail – we helped Grid Edge securely connect without the need for any third-party service.

“No matter how Grid Edge develops or adapts their systems, the VPN is future-proofed to continue to transfer data, which may become more complex and sophisticated, without the need to redevelop or reconfigure the infrastructure.

“In a world where data is increasingly at risk – for a variety of purposes – it makes sense for closed enterprise networks, no matter how big, to be secured with VPNs. VPN technology allows Grid Edge to expand their network both in distance and number of nodes.

“To enhance the system’s security even further, when deploying Grid Edge’s hardware system, each client is given a 4G sim card so it connects to the internet using cellular data rather than a broadband network. This eliminates the need to rely on the client-side broadband connection which is more susceptible to downtime than a cellular connection.”

The results

By 2020, Grid Edge estimates this technology will be rolled out to around 150 sites.

In 2016, the company was awarded ‘Best Start-Up’ at the Silicon Canal Tech Awards and is one of three best property tech start-ups at the MIPIM Europe awards. The company is backed by £200,000 funding from Centrica’s social impact investment fund Ignite.

The client’s experience

Dr Jim Scott, one of the three owners of Grid Edge, explains: “We’ve been developing the Grid Edge solution since we started the company in 2016 but it took Shesh Tech’s intervention to solve the riddle of how to build a unified communication tunnel between the cloud and the customer site that we could be confident of and rely upon. The work Shesh Tech did with us quickly professionalised our prototype solution into one we could confidently deploy in the field.

“Shesh Tech’s been instrumental in streamlining our infrastructure.

“The value of our service relies on our ability to forecast and respond to distributed and dynamic site-specific factors. It’s much easier to do this now we have a near-real time, reliable data-pipeline. That means we’re processing energy data, analysing it, interacting with it and using it in ways which clients find more meaningful, timely and therefore valuable. The result is that our customers have greater foresight and control over their energy assets enabling them to act powerfully in the energy system.”

Jim continues: “It feels great to have resolved this business-critical and complex issue so we can move onwards and upwards and execute our hardware built out with confidence.”

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