Energy Savings in Telecom Networks

Vodafone Ireland Case Study

This case study presents an energy savings project for Vodafone Ireland. Our Zen-derived Machine Learming (ML) models were able to predict additional times when Vodafone could save energy without compromising quality of customer experience. Deployed to a subset of the network, our recommendations yielded a 60% increase in power savings – an approach that scaled to the whole network could achieve over a million kWh of energy savings!

Future-Ready Insights with Zen

Download the full case study to find out more about how, with data gathered by Zen, or data already hosted on your own local or cloud platforms, Zen’s ML-driven insights engine can transform the way you do business.


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UK Government Funding for Zen Smart Energy

Systems Mechanics (SysMech) lead a consortium with partners and carbonTRACK winning UK Government funding to develop an Interoperable Demand Side Response solution using the Zen Smart Energy Framework, to allow consumers to remotely increase or decrease their energy use to take advantage of when energy is cheaper, or more renewables are on the grid.

Funding for the project is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under the IDSR Programme and made available from the UK government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), which looks to accelerate the commercialisation of low-carbon technologies and systems.

With electricity demand rising due to electrification of transport, heat and industrial processes, flexibility from consumers will become increasingly important, especially against the backdrop of recent increases in energy prices seen across the world. The UK Government’s ‘Transitioning to a net zero energy system – Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan 2021’ sets out a suite of policies to enable flexibility from consumers known as “Demand Side Response” (DSR). Through the increasing uptake of Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs) by consumers it will be easier to request changes in consumption patterns to support flexibility in the electricity network. 

As has been seen during the winter of 2022 energy providers in the UK have been rewarding businesses and homes for shifting their electricity consumption at peak times. It is estimated that in the UK this approach can provide at least 2 gigawatts of power – enough to power one million homes. By opting in to participate in DSR events, homes and businesses can offer flexibility in consumption and be rewarded or benefit from lower prices . This not only benefits consumers financially, but crucially helps reduce the overall cost of decarbonisation and improves energy security through balancing the load on the electricity grid during times of high demand or when there is surplus renewable energy.

The SysMech lead consortium with partners and carbonTRACK will design and develop an “Interoperable Demand Side Response” (IDSR) solution, to enable consumers to flexibly alter their energy usage by opting in to DSR events via an App. The interoperability between the Electricity system, network operators and consumers homes or businesses is fully automated by the IDSR software, with the ability for consumers to over-ride participation if they wish.

Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) will fulfil a technical oversight and advisory role for the project and provide dissemination and research support as well as domain expertise. ESC and SysMech have previously partnered to develop the Living Lab 2.0, which is also based on the Zen Smart platform

The initial project scope will meet the objectives of BEIS IDSR Stream 1 to demonstrate DSR operations using private Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers in real world settings, integrating Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs), Customer Energy Manager (CEM) and Demand Side Response Service Provider (DSRSP) platforms.

SysMech’s cloud-based Zen Smart framework will provide a CEM for automated smart energy grid flexibility operations (allowing choice of DSRSP to consumers and their ESA’s), initially providing interoperability for carbonTRACK’s DSRSP and ESA platforms via standard interfaces according to PAS 1878 and the principles of PAS 1879 technical frameworks. By standardising the interfaces, the government is seeking to accelerate the technical interoperability so that IDSR solutions can be rolled out flexibly and at scale.


  Full details on GOV.UK Website 


See related article by Energy Tech Review   PDF 


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Introducing Zen 7

2020 sees the launch of Zen 7, the latest release of our software platform, continuing the Zen evolution and bringing major new features and enhancements including cloud native deployment, support for 5G, Smart Energy IoT and large enterprise IP networks.

Cloud Native Deployment

On premises or in the cloud, Zen 7 runs on bare metal, data centre VMWare vSphere or Cloud (AWS). Our continuous strategy to containerise and move to Kubernetes and Helm lowers data centre and cloud costs through best-in-class orchestration.

Zen 7 has all of the benefits of an evolving architecture and technology stack including:
  • Portable architecture
    • Java
    • Python
    • Docker
    • Linux
  • Loosely coupled services to ease orchestration
  • Automated test framework supporting Agile development cycles
  • Re-usable, proven and scalable ETL layer
  • Optimised for Vertica with ability to support other data warehouses
  • Patented correlation engine with machine learning and automation support
  • High availability and scalability

Support for 5G

Cloud native architecture is crucial for the long term success of 5G and is the foundation for 5G Innovation. Zen 7 provides service assurance and data analytics for the 5G era whilst addressing the challenges of operating in a hybrid environment. Zen is already providing service assurance functions for 5G networks along side different generations of technology operating on traditional physical networks and cloud based network virtualisation (NFV/SDN/VNF) for RAN / OpenRAN, Transmission and Core.

Zen is evolving to support the transition to 5G Stand Alone, and the service scenario based opportunities it presents. These services will be implemented using end-to-end dynamic network slicing, providing ultra reliable low latency communications (URLLC), massive machine type communications (mMTC) or enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), that must meet the specific SLA requirements of the vertical industry markets. The opportunity for CSP’s is enormous, however this comes at the price of exponential increases in complexity and data volumes produced by telecoms networks. Key to managing these new types of customer services is AI, Machine learning and automation based on distributed data analytics operating at different velocities and locations in the network, combined with service assurance / root cause analysis covering all the different physical and abstracted layers involved in dynamic network slices and assuring the customer’s SLA.

Designed from inception to address these types of requirements Zen is now evolving to cater for the increasing demands for 5G Stand Alone network service assurance, analytics and automation.

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Large Enterprise IP Networks

Zen 7 includes major enhancements to the SNMP management functions. By providing insight into the performance of large, evolving, enterprise and safety critical networks, Zen helps to assure adherence to demanding SLAs.

An upgraded SNMP Poller offers enhanced monitoring and alerting functionality to provide up to the minute monitoring of a vast number of device types. each with thousands of instances across the network and providing visualisation through the feature rich reporting available in Zen.

Zen implements a network of distributed SNMP probes to allow monitoring and reporting across the security layers of a large enterprise network. Using industry standard SNMP technology, Zen assures reliability and broad compatibility with existing infrastructure to provide a vendor agnostic view of the operation and performance of your IP network.

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Smart Energy & IoT

With Zen 7 our adaptable framework has been enhanced to support Digital Integration Platform (DIP) applications for Smart Energy Management and IoT applications.

The Zen DIP acts as a fully scalable device and application enablement platform. This facilitates command and control, providing monitoring and Insight into the metrics from IoT and M2M devices, controllers, sensors, and hubs. Zen can scale to Integrate with any number of devices, monitoring for deviations from model-based thresholds and proactively identifying anomalies from expected behaviour on   Impulse . Zen can utilise its in-built Intellect to automate actions or alerts when co-existing conditions arise, helping to build new services or initiate automated activities.

  • Supports Control interface integrations with either a third party cloud or multiple IoT/Smart Meter devices provided by external solution providers. Zen provides a generic Control interface API library in Java, and implements all control interfaces based on this API. The cloud-specific calls are abstracted
  • Supports Loader interfaces responsible for authentication & bulk data collection from sensors (polled or bulk export) from the third-party clouds and the normalisation of this data for loading to the Vertica database
  • The DIP can support data not directly associated with Smart device inventory such as Weather data or Tariff data and can be loaded by a dedicated interface as required. Data can be normalised to support joins with Smart device data, for example geolocation correlation.

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Enhanced Security

Zen 7 enhances the comprehensive features and deep integration provided by the Zen platform to address all aspects of enterprise security. Zen uses an identity store (Window/Linux) to manage user and group information and to determine access rights to the platform. There are two kinds of identity stores; Local implemented in Zen Server; External authentication technologies such as Active Directory, OpenLDAP, SAML, or OpenID, including SAML with F5 BIG-IP and Microsoft AD FS (Active Directory Federation Services). Authentication verifies a user’s identity and this is then used to grant authorised access to Zen—whether to manage the server, or to publish, browse, or administer content.

Zen Northbound Interfaces

Zen provides manager-of-managers functionality for Fault Management, Performance Management and Customer Experience Management. An extensive range of interfaces are available off-the-shelf for integration with Network Elements/Element Managers (physical and virtual) and 3 rd Party OSS/BSS systems in the customer’s environment.

Zen 7 introduces an enhanced SNMP service for integration with north bound operational systems. The following integration points are supported:

KPI Breach Alerts to achieve SLAs 

Zen can monitor KPIs based on any individual metric or perform rapid calculations across multiple metrics that form a KPI. The results are evaluated for deviation from group or entity specific thresholds, generating SLA performance alerts for any KPI breach. The Zen 7 Northbound SNMP Service is now available to integrate with North bound systems to create performance KPI / SLA breach alerts. 

Planned Outages Management

Zen 7 introduces a new planned outage microservice that utilises the Zen Northbound SNMP service. The microservice can be configured so false alarms can be avoided during planned works, equipment commissioning and maintenance.

Energy Systems Catapult

The Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) support the UK government and industry in transforming the energy sector to deliver on the promise of net zero carbon by 2050. ESC are developing the Living Lab 2.0; a first-of-a-kind, agile and scalable real-world test environment for businesses innovating in the home energy market by upgrading homes across the UK to become digitally connected smart-homes.

SysMech have been selected via a competitive tender process to be ESC’s Delivery Partner for the design and implementation of the Cloud based Digital Integration Platform that will be at the heart of the next generation Living Lab.

Living Lab 2.0

This national asset will provide innovators with a safe, affordable, shared space to trial and demonstrate energy products, services and business models with real consumers to de-risk and scale innovations for market. While also providing insights and evidence to help transform market arrangements, policies and regulations – as we move towards a Net Zero carbon future.

Initially it will focus on low carbon heating and transport innovations and the integration of smart controls, electric vehicles and distributed energy technologies. New integrations will be added in response to evolving policy and market needs.

Living Lab 2 Press Release

Digital Integration Platform

A critical requirement of the Living Lab 2.0 infrastructure is the development of a cloud-based Digital Integration Platform (DIP) that acts as the intermediary – to intake, manage and analyse huge amounts of data – between the innovations being tested and the wide range of mainstream smart home devices and energy appliances within Living Lab homes.

Based on SysMech Zen product technology, the Digital Integration Platform will be open, and technology-agnostic, providing true interoperability and scalability to enable a range of innovative new products, services and business models to be trialled in hundreds and eventually thousands of UK homes.

The Digital Integration Platform will act like the operating system, allowing innovators to plug in their own software or utilise a ESC option that will be interoperable – physically, digitally, and commercially – with the smart control systems and IoT devices being used by households.