“What impressed me most was how much responsibility each employee had.”
25.05.2023 Michael Jakob is studying Industrial Engineering and Management Science at BFH and completed a start-up internship with the two start-ups Appmodule and aliunid in summer 2022. He learned a tremendous amount about OCPP and electric mobility during these six weeks. But he appreciated the work experience in the dynamic start-up environment even more. Find out why he would be keen to do an internship with a start-up again any time.
Michael Jakob has been interested in the topic of entrepreneurship and start-ups ever since he joined the Industrial Engineering and Management Science programme. During his second semester, he attended the Innosuisse Module 2 where various people who had set up their own companies gave an insight into their daily working lives. He was fascinated by how varied their work was. This convinced him to do an internship with a start-up during the semester holidays. He made up his mind after attending a lecture by Prof. Dr Andreas Danuser on ‘IoT and Embedded Systems’, in which Danuser presented his start-up aliunid. Even though he believed an internship with any start-up would be interesting and informative, working in a field in which he had a strong personal interest was even better. And he got lucky: he asked Danuser right after the lecture and was offered an internship on the spot.
Aliunid was founded in 2018 by Prof. Dr Andreas Danuser and his business partner, Dr David Thiel. The start-up provides energy as a digital all-in-one solution for energy suppliers, grid operators and energy producers. The end customers – i.e. electricity consumers – are issued an aliunid GATEWAY, which they can connect to their electricity meter. This gateway then sends the meter data to the aliunid HOME app, enabling the customers to view their power consumption, carbon footprint and electricity costs at any time directly in the app. The gateway also sends the data to aliunid UTILITY, which is operated by the energy providers. They receive the data on power consumption in real time and can take action to prevent the power grid from overloading – thus laying the foundation for the Smart Grid of the future.
Michael Jakob worked for the company Appmodule AG in Biel, one of aliunid’s partner companies, which handles the technical implementation of aliunid products. His task was to analyse the OCPP protocol and to evaluate whether it would be worthwhile for Appmodule and aliunid to invest in this technology. OCPP stands for open charge point protocol and is responsible for the transfer of data between the charging station and the back-end system. It is an open communication standard and ensures interoperability between various manufacturers. OCPP has a very important role to play in creating an extensive network of charging stations that can be used by all end customers.
In his research activities, Jakob looked at the most popular charging stations on the market and assessed their OCPP compatibility. A key finding was that some standard charging stations worked with cloud OCPP API, which cannot be controlled by the Appmodule Lab. Armed with the insights gained from the study, he also developed a program that simulates a charging station and a backend system. At the end of his internship, Jakob presented his findings to a company interested in an OCPP solution for its charging stations.
Jakob learnt a huge amount about OCPP and electric mobility during his six-week internship, but found the work experience in the dynamic start-up environment much more interesting. He witnessed how quickly and unbureaucratically decisions are made and observed employees performing many different roles. But what impressed him most was how much responsibility each employee had. Giving a presentation to a customer after a six-week internship? It is hard to imagine in a traditional large company, but it was an incredibly valuable experience for Jakob. And Jakob got lucky once again: his time with Appmodule and aliunid is not over yet. He has been working part-time (20%) as a working student since last summer and hopes to learn much more.
The internship positions for summer 2023 have been published. If interested contact: