Smarter Water at Waterinfodag

ICT Group will gladly meet you in 2020 at the ‘Waterinfodag’ in Den Bosch. The interesting program is very varied.

We would like to invite you at our stand (107) where we would like to tell you more about Smarter Water. Smart IT solutions  for a sustainable water cycle for water boards, drinking water companies and governments. Or to meet you at our presentation about ‘Smart Water management’ given by Oasen drinking water company and OrangeNXT (an ICT Group company).

Presentation at 11.00 a.m.

Smart Watermanagement
Presenters: Jonathan Vondeling (Oasen) en Bas Lamme (OrangeNXT)

The availability and quality of drinking water in the Netherlands is extremely high. On average, we are less than 20 minutes per year cut off from the tastiest drinking water in the world. Further improvement is only possible with new digital solutions, data is key! What are the developments of the Digital Twin on the way to a self-managing pipeline network? From more and better insight into the behavior of the pipe network, to anticipation and ultimately fully automatic action with the help of Artificial Intelligence. The considerations and choices for technology, architectures (OT / IT), platforms (IoT Central/Digital Twin) and partners (3D/Drone/Cloud/PA/ UX/Mixed Reality) are extensively discussed. We are looking forward meeting you at 11.00 a.m. in room Dexter 30.
Read the customer case ‘Oasen adopts a pioneering approach to public provision with Azure IoT’.

We are looking forward to meet you in Den Bosch on Thursday March 26!

Press release: FULL YEAR RESULTS 2019 ICT GROUP

Revenue increase of 20%; EBITDA margin impacted by lower productivity in the second half

Highlights FY 2019

  • Full year revenue came in at € 155.5 million, up 20%; organic growth was 3%
  • Pre-IFRS 16 EBITDA came in lower at € 11.7 million (FY 2018: € 13.5 million), as a result of lower productivity levels in the second half of the year. EBITDA amounted to € 16.5 million including IFRS 16 effects
  • Pre-IFRS EBITDA margin came in at 7.5% (FY 2018: 10.4%)
  • Net profit amounted to € 2.7 million (FY 2018: € 9.5 million) also due to € 3.5 million lower accounting gains
  • Acquisition of Additude marks international expansion into Sweden

Highlights Q4 2019

  • Revenue in Q4 came in at € 39.7 million (Q4 2018: € 37.2 million); organic revenue was down 6%
  • Pre-IFRS EBITDA came in at € 3.3 million in Q4 2019 (Q4 2018: € 5.4 million)
  • Proposition in Smarter Cities strengthened by acquisition of Proficium 

Jos Blejie, CEO of ICT Group N.V.:

“2019 got off to a good start with strong revenue growth, both organically, particularly in the high-tech and automotive industries, and as a result of acquisitions. During the summer we were confronted with the abrupt termination of several projects, causing a considerable decrease in productivity. We have taken immediate measures and increased focus and efforts of the team. At the same time we have been confronted with a more prudent buying behaviour in the industry in the latter part of 2019. In comparison with the excellent last quarter of 2018 these effects caused an organic decline in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The year was also marked by significant strategic steps in terms of growing our international footprint, increasing our successful nearshoring activities and strengthening our position in Infra & Mobility. We are on track to achieve the desired revenue split between secondment, projects and proprietary IP, thus creating a more robust business model. In 2019 we have put more focus in our investment initiatives, with a specific aim at Mobility as a Service and the OrangeNXT solutions. To further drive our international reach we will expand OrangeNXT and Additude to other countries and anticipate building more of our solutions in our nearshoring facilities in Bulgaria. Therefore we are confident that we are able to deliver on our mid-term objectives by 2022.”

Strategy update

In 2019 ICT refined its proposition by further focussing on areas where the company can truly make a difference for its customers. ICT excels in technological solutions in Engineering R&D and Industrial Automation, sustainable mobility, infrastructure and healthcare. ICT’s Software as a Service solutions (OrangeNXT) are also offered across these markets, as are its nearshoring offerings.

International expansion

The acquisition of Additude in Sweden early 2019 was an important step in the international expansion of the company. In line with its strategic direction, ICT expects Additude to become the platform for the Northern European market, offering high-profile industrial technology consulting services.

Accelerating nearshoring

To further enlarge its nearshoring position in Bulgaria, ICT acquired two start-up companies in 2019, Kodar and Up2. Kodar closely collaborates with the University of Plovdiv, which increases ICT’s access to technical talents in the second largest city of Bulgaria. With Up2 ICT gains access to talents in the world of app development. At the end of 2019 the Group employs over 250 professionals in Bulgaria, representing a growth of 26% compared to 2018.

 Mobility as a Service

In the year under review ICT took important steps towards strengthening its offering in the field of MaaS. With the acquisition of BNV Mobility, one of the leading smart mobility services firms in the Netherlands, in Q2 2019, ICT significantly increased its position in the mobility market. To enable more efficient and decisive operations, BNV’s activities were fully integrated into InTraffic. The MaaS platform (TURNN) was further developed and commercialized. At the end of 2019 TURNN was involved in several pilots in Groningen, Drenthe, Limburg and the Eindhoven area. 

Strong growth in software solutions

ICT’s offering of proprietary software solutions showed very strong growth in the past year. OrangeNXT welcomed HelloFresh, an innovative player in the meal-kit market, as a large new customer of the MobileNXT SaaS platform. The platform enables HelloFresh to manage its expanding supply chains efficiently and reduce costs while optimising the consumer experience.

Focus in 2020

In 2020 ICT aims to further strengthen its position both in the industries it services and in the geographies in which the company operates. ICT aims to expand its international operations. The company will also continue to fuel the growth of own IP solutions, such as OrangeNXT. At the same time business processes will be further optimised throughout the whole Group by implementing one way of working. Reducing complexity within the organisation through further integration and centralisation will increase effectiveness and efficiency.

Notes to the results

In the financial analysis below focus is put on the pre-IFRS 16 results because it facilitates a fair comparison.

Performance ICT Group

In 2019 ICT Group’s revenue came in at € 155.5 million, an increase of 20%, organically revenue increased 3%. Revenue growth was mostly attributable to the acquisitions of InTraffic (acquired and consolidated in April 2018), Additude (acquired in January 2019 and consolidated as of February 2019), BNV Mobility (acquired in March 2019 and consolidated as of April 2019) and Proficium (acquired in and consolidated as of November 2019). After a strong first half, organic revenue growth was significantly impacted by the sudden termination of a number of projects in the second half by certain large clients.

Revenue added value increased 13% compared to 2018, reflecting an increase of projects and related equipment as well as an increase in use of freelance professionals.

The personnel costs increased 22% to € 93.6 million (post-IFRS 16: € 91.5 million) compared to € 76.7 million in 2018, mainly a combination of the increase in FTEs and higher wages.

Other operating expenses decreased slightly from € 24.0 million in 2018 to € 23.6 million in 2019 (post-IFRS 16: € 20.9 million), as a result of cost efficiency measures. In 2018 other operating costs included one-off contract termination fees of € 0.8 million, following the acquisition of InTraffic. The costs related to strategic initiatives and the realisation of acquisitions and partnerships increased significantly in 2019 to € 0.7 million, compared to € 0.3 million in 2018.

EBITDA came in at € 11.7 million (post-IFRS 16: € 16.5 million), 13% down compared to € 13.5 million in 2018. The EBITDA margin decreased to 7.5% (2018: 10.4%). This was due to the lower productivity that impacted both the secondment business and projects in the second half of the year.

IFRS 16

IFRS 16 ‘Leases’ is effective as of 1 January 2019. Under this new IFRS standard an asset, defined as the right to use the leased item, and a financial liability, representing the present value of future lease payments to be made, are recognised. Consequently, IFRS 16 leads to a shift from operating lease costs to depreciation and amortisation and financial expenses. In 2019 IFRS 16 had an effect of € 4.8 million on EBITDA and an equal and opposite impact on depreciation and amortisation.

Performance per segment

Change in segmentation

In line with the new reporting structure, as of 1 January 2019 ICT changed its reporting segments. The activities in the Netherlands are segmented along the end-markets: Engineering R&D, Industrial Automation (including Raster IA), Infra & Mobility (including InTraffic, BNV, and NedMobiel) and Healthcare Technology Solutions (including BMA). In addition, Bulgaria and Sweden are separate segments. The segment Other includes Improve, OrangeNXT, ICT Belgium, CIS Solutions, ICT Motar and Group holding costs.

Engineering R&D

In this segment, ICT is active in the R&D of the industrial sectors Automotive, High Tech and Machine Building.
In the first half of the year this segment benefited from the high demand in the Automotive industry which translated into a strong performance. In the second half market developments across the spectrum of industries ICT serves weakened. The abrupt termination of a number of projects significantly impacted profitability of this segment during the second half of the year.

Industrial Automation

In the Industrial Automation segment, Logistics & Transport, Industry and Outsourced services are the main business units for ICT. In the first half ICT divested Raster Products. Raster Industrial Automation remains part of the ICT Group.
Port Logistics showed good growth in revenue and profitability, all other units showed a stable performance.

Infra & Mobility

In the public domain ICT focuses on services around capital assets in the area of Water, Energy, Road and Rail infrastructure as well as Mobility. InTraffic improved its margin to the average ICT Group level.
The Infra & Mobility segment experienced lower productivity in the Energy and Water & Infrastructure activities and results were also impacted by the upfront outlays in Mobility as a Service.

Healthcare Technology

To strengthen the efficiency of the total Healthcare offering, the integration of the different activities into one ICT Healthcare, which started in the first half of the year, is now completed. Although the part of the healthcare market ICT serves stagnated, sales of foetal heart monitors increased, which resulted in an improved performance compared to last year. This performance was offset by a weak performance of the other secondment activities in the Healthcare entity. 

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the nearshoring activities realised healthy growth in both revenue and EBITDA, mainly driven by ongoing demand for nearshoring services. The economies of scale are translating in better margins. The investments in the past period are bearing fruit and the nearshoring activities are performing within the desired margin bandwidth again.

Sweden

With the acquisition of Additude in January this year, ICT expanded to Sweden. The integration into the ICT Group is complete and cross selling opportunities are being exploited. Given the business model of Additude, with a large pool of freelancers, it operates below the average ICT margin.
Productivity in the second half was lower than anticipated, which impacted the margins.

In the segment ‘Other’, Improve showed a slightly lower performance. OrangeNXT doubled its revenue in 2019, driven by product development and new customers. Despite this successful year of operations, OrangeNXT posted start-up losses as expected. Holding costs increased as a result of higher M&A costs.

Other financial information

ICT has attributed a value to and is amortising several intangible assets, including order backlog, software and customer relations of its acquisitions. Total amortisation for 2019 (pre-IFRS) amounted to € 5.4 million (2018: € 3.8 million). Depreciation (pre-IFRS) for 2019 amounted to € 1.4 million (2018: € 1.2 million).

The result from associates came in at a loss of € 0.9 million (2018: € 0.4 million loss). The loss is mainly attributable to GreenFlux which, as anticipated, is still loss-making and also reflects ICT’s share of an impairment by GreenFlux on its assets.

Financing expenses came in at € 1.1 million in 2019, an increase compared to € 0.9 million in 2018, due to increased financing.

Taxes in 2019 amounted to € 1.0 million compared with € 2.1 million in 2018.

Net profit in 2019 included a one-off accounting gain of € 0.7 million, as a result of the revaluation of ICT Group’s stake in GreenFlux following the second round of investment by other shareholders. Net profit in 2018 included one-off accounting gains of € 4.1 million in total, of which € 3.5 million was related to the revaluation of the 50% stake in InTraffic already held by ICT and € 0.6 million to the revaluation of ICT Group’s stake in GreenFlux (first round of investment by other shareholders).

Reported net profit for 2019 came in at € 2.7 million (2018: € 9.5 million). This represents earnings per share of € 0.27 (2018: € 0.99). As a result of stock dividend the number of outstanding ordinary shares increased to 9,565,010 at 31 December 2019 (31 December 2018: 9,463,878).

Cash flow developments

In 2019 the net operational cash flow amounted to € 14.4 million (2018: € 11.1 million). The increase is the net effect of increased tax payments, IFRS 16 effects and positive results of disciplined working capital management.

In 2019 the cash outflow on investment activities amounted to € 17.6 million, compared with € 10.2 million in 2018. The main elements of this outflow were the purchase price cash considerations for the acquisitions of Additude, BNV, the payment of the earn-out for the remainder of BMA and Proficium and investments in product development and housing facilities. Cash inflow concerned the sale of Raster Products.

The cash inflow from financing activities amounted to € 2.8 million (2018: cash outflow € 0.9 million). The main elements are the net effect of dividend paid (€ 2.3 million cash outflow) and the increased acquisition financing and the lease liabilities (following IFRS 16).

The net cash position at 31 December 2019 was € 5.8 million (31 December 2018: € 6.2 million). The net cash outflow amounted to € 0.4 million in 2019 (2018: € 0.1 million).

Balance sheet structure

Shareholders’ equity increased to € 54.5 million at the end of 2019 from € 54.2 at the end of 2018, mainly following the net effect of the dividend payment of € 2.3 million and net profit of € 2.7 million. The balance sheet total increased to € 124.4 million at year-end 2019 from € 95.6 million at year-end 2018 as a result of the acquisitions of Additude, BNV and Proficium. In addition the implementation of IFRS 16 lease accounting caused a balance sheet increase of € 13.1 million (lease assets as well as liabilities). The solvency ratio (shareholders’ equity/total assets) stood at 44% at year-end 2019, although lower compared with 57% at year-end 2018, it reflects ICT’s sound financial basis.

Personnel

At 31 December 2019 ICT Group employed 1,413 FTEs (1,468 employees), 15% higher than the 1,227 FTEs (1,274 employees) at year-end 2018. The recent acquisitions and ongoing recruitment efforts contributed to this increase.

Dividend

ICT proposes a dividend of € 0.30 per share for the 2019 financial year (2018: € 0.38). The proposed dividend is subject to the approval of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) to be held on 13 May 2020. For the calculation of the proposed dividend, the net profit realised is adjusted for the accounting gains recognised in 2019 as well as non-cash amortisation amounts. This results in an adjusted net profit for the full year 2019 of € 7.2 million. The proposed dividend of € 0.30 per share represents a pay-out ratio of 40% of adjusted net profit, which is in line with ICT’s dividend policy. ICT offers the option of distribution of the dividend in cash or in shares.

ICT will calculate the dividend payment in shares one day after the end of the optional period on the basis of the weighted average price of ICT shares during the last five trading days of the optional period, which shall end on 2 June 2020. The dividend in cash or in shares will be payable on 4 June 2020.

Outlook

ICT remains fully focused on profitable growth and will continue to execute its buy-and-build strategy; combining healthy organic growth with selective acquisition opportunities.

We foresee demand in the markets we serve in the first half of 2020 to be in line with the second half of 2019. The global economic circumstances are anticipated to remain uncertain in 2020 and therefore we refrain from giving an outlook for 2020. Despite these uncertainties we do see ongoing demand for digital transformation projects. We remain fully committed to deliver on our mid-term objective of increasing annual revenue to between € 200 and € 230 million by 2022, with a targeted EBITDA margin between 13% and 15% (including IFRS 16 effects).

Click here to download the Annex of the Annual Results of 2019.

Meet ICT Group at Tech.Ad

This year, ICT Group will be present at the Tech.Ad conference in Berlin. The conference is Europe’s leading technical autonomous vehicle L4+ development conference for the automotive industry. Come and meet us at our booth and learn more about our smart solutions.

Meet us at booth 30

During the conference (March 1- 4), you can find us at booth 30, where we will inform you about how ICT develops software for cars. With more than 20 years of experience in the international automotive industry, we provide system and software engineering services that help the automotive OEM industry to make their vehicles more autonomous, safe and connected. We make use of the cloud-based solution Microsoft Azure, where data can be stored and accessed remotely.

To accelerate the driving safety, we provide software conforming to the ISO 26262 functionality safety for automotive. Closely related, ICT Group is at the forefront of many of the latest developments in the field of connectivity, enabling vehicles receiving useful information from roadside infrastructure and utilization of big data generated from vehicles to improve traffic control and accident-related measures. With our Motar solution, we build model-based software which enables mechanical engineers in the automotive industry to create software without programming skills.

Please come and watch our demonstration at the booth!

Learn more about the event.

Water Update: Cyber Security, deliverables, IT & OT and more…

With the Water Updates (newsletters), ICT Group is happy to keep you informed of the latest developments in the field of IT solutions in the Water sector. This information is particularly relevant to you if you work for a water board, drinking water company, municipality or engineering consultancy.

In the February 2020 edition of the Water Update you can read about ‘Continuity of companies: Cyber ​​Security’, ‘How do I get IT and OT aligned’, new assignments within Water and more.

Sign up for the Water Update

Do you want to receive the Water Update automatically in your mailbox three times a year? Register now via the form on our website. The Water Update is only available in Dutch. 

ICT Group wint contract ProRail voor configuratiemonitoring

ICT Group heeft het contract van ProRail gewonnen voor de bouw en aansluitend het beheer van een systeem voor ConfiguratieMonitoring (CoMo). Met dit systeem wordt de technische staat van publicatiemiddelen op de stations, zoals de dynamische informatieborden en omroepinstallaties, op afstand gemonitord. Op die manier kan tijdig onderhoud plaatsvinden om te voorkomen dat deze systemen uitvallen. In eerste instantie worden alleen de informatieborden en omroepinstallaties opgenomen. Uiteindelijk zal CoMo het beheer omvatten van alle ProRail Stations assets.

— Only available in Dutch —

InTraffic, onderdeel van ICT Group en specialist in realisatie en onderhoud van complexe informatie- en besturingssystemen voor mobiliteit, voert het project uit.

Teamsamenstelling bepalend
ProRail schreef een minicompetitie uit onder vier inschrijvers. ICT Group heeft deze competitie onder andere gewonnen op basis van de teamsamenstelling. Accountmanager Edwin Winterkamp zegt: “Op basis van domeinkennis heeft ProRail vier inschrijvers gekozen. ProRail heeft bij het beoordelen van de inzendingen vooral gelet op de teamsamenstelling en de manier waarop de mensen in het team samenwerken. Je kunt Scrum half/half toepassen, je kunt Scrum 100 procent volgens alle regeltjes toepassen, maar je kunt ook Scrummen vanuit de geest van het concept. In dit geval levert iedere iteratie een werkend product af. Dat lukt alleen als de teamleden op elkaar zijn ingespeeld, voor elkaar door het vuur gaan en elkaar helpen en werk overnemen als iemand ziek wordt of om andere redenen zijn deadline niet haalt.”

Aanpassen aan de klant
Winterkamp ziet dat ICT-dochter InTraffic zich blijft ontwikkelen. “We zijn een lerende organisatie. Domeinkennis hadden we altijd al, technische expertise ook. Maar klanttevredenheid wordt ook voor een groot deel bepaald door de manier van samenwerken, de manier waarop je tot een bepaald resultaat komt. Daar investeren wij continue in en zetten we grote stappen. We passen onze manier van werken steeds beter aan op wat klanten verwachten. Dat is een belangrijke reden waarom we nu dit contract hebben gewonnen.”

PRODUCTION PROCESS AUTOMATION (PPA) EVENT 2020

Meet ICT Group (OrangeNXT and ICT Netherlands | Industry) on January 28, 2020 in Den Bosch at the PPA event and register for our inspiring presentation.

Presentation: How do I align IT and OT?
Speaker: Leendert Mijnders (ICT Netherlands)

Due to growing international competition, pressure on margins and changes in the chain, many manufacturing companies are experiencing the pressure to work even more efficiently. Much efficiency improvement is hidden in better collaboration between IT and OT. IT is the baby of the business, where everything revolves around financial data. OT is the engine of the workplace, where productivity is almost obsessively controlled. Two separate worlds that suddenly have to work together to make their organisation future-proof. In this presentation we discuss the steps needed to get both aligned, with practical examples.

Sign up today! Click here. 
Click here for futher information.

ICT Group nominates Koen Beeckmans for appointment to the supervisory board

ICT Group N.V. (ICT) today announces the nomination of Mr. Koen Beeckmans for appointment as member of the Supervisory Board of ICT Group. His nomination made by the Supervisory Board will be on the agenda of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of ICT Group on 13 May 2020. On appointment, Mr. Beeckmans will become member of the Audit Committee. The current chairman of the Audit Committee, Mr. Deepak Luthra, whose second term ends on 13 May 2020, will not be available for re-election.

Koen Beeckmans (48 years, Belgian nationality) is CFO at GVB Amsterdam, the public transport company for the Amsterdam region, since August 2018. Prior to this he was group CFO of bpost NV, a listed Belgian postal operator, parcel and e-commerce logistics provider. He started his career as a consultant at Deloitte in Brussels and New York after which he has held various financial roles in the energy and technical services sector, including CFO at GdF Suez NL and CFO at Engie Services NV.

Theo van der Raadt, chairman of the Supervisory Board of ICT Group: “We are very pleased to nominate Mr. Beeckmans as member of the Supervisory Board of ICT Group. He brings extensive financial experience both with listed and private companies. Moreover, his broad experience in M&A and process management will be of value in the further development of ICT Group. At the same time, I would like to express my gratitude to Deepak Luthra for his valuable contribution to the development of the company in the past eight years.”

Koen Beeckmans will be nominated for appointment for a period of four years until the AGM in 2024. The nomination will be made under the condition that the general meeting does not make use of its right of recommendation. The search for the successor for Mrs. van der Werf, whose decision to step down due to personal circumstances as per end of the year 2019 was announced recently, is ongoing.

Making the world smarter

The new ‘Elsevier 500’ has recently been published. In this edition, Jos Blejie tells more about innovation and acquisitions. Read the article below or download the PDF.

Please note: the text is in Dutch only.

ICT Group is een vooraanstaande technologie- en servicesprovider met een notering op de Amsterdam Exchange. Het bedrijf maakt sinds 2014 een forse groei door. CEO Jos Blejie vertelt over acquisities, succesvolle software en innovatie.

“Van zeshonderd medewerkers in 2014 naar vijftienhonderd in 2019: ja, we zijn onstuimig gegroeid”, zegt CEO Jos Blejie. “Deels autonoom, deels door overnames. Begin 2019 hebben we Additude uit Malmö overgenomen. Dit bedrijf won de afgelopen vier jaar de Zweedse Gazelle Award en is nu ook actief in Nederland, vooral in (tech)recruitment. Daarnaast verwierven we BNV Mobility, dat TURNN heeft ontwikkeld: het beste onafhankelijke MaaS-platform op de Nederlandse
markt. Met de recente overname van Proficium willen wij, samen met Nedmobiel, het ingenieursbureau van de toekomst neerzetten. Deze acquisities dragen daadwerkelijk bij aan onze strategie om een total solutions provider te worden.”

Digitale transformatie

ICT Group is actief in de industrie, de gezondheidszorg en het publieke domein. “We zijn al veertig jaar gespecialiseerd in industriële automatisering”, zegt Blejie. “Als het gaat om digitale transformatie, hebben wij een voorsprong op concurrenten.
Digitalisering en het omzetten van data in operationele bedrijfsinformatie zit in ons DNA.”

ICT Group is betrokken bij diverse grote projecten, zoals het Zuidasdok en de Gaasperdammertunnel. Blejie: “Onze software is toonaangevend. Zo heeft OrangeNXT, dat deel uitmaakt van ICT Group, mobileNXT ontwikkeld: een platform dat buitendienstmedewerkers een kantoor op zakformaat biedt.”

CoLab

“In Nederland is het aanbod van technici schaars”, zegt Blejie. “Toch weten we mensen ook hier te boeien en binden. Via onze CoLab-community werken we met studenten aan oplossingen die in de toekomst het verschil maken. Dat we onze
reputatie van opleider waarmaken, blijkt uit de tweede plaats die we in de recente Computable 100 scoorden in de ranking ‘Opleidingen & Trainingen’. ICT Group is aanwezig in Nederland, België, Duitsland, Zweden en Bulgarije. Wij
hebben dus een sterke positie in Noord-Europa en zullen deze verder blijven verstevigen.”

ICT Netherlands is awarded project for energy community Loenen

During the next few years, the Loenen municipality is hosting activities that will create the energy system of the future. In order to centrally manage the energy that is generated locally and merge this energy into a community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP), the Sustainable Projects Loenen Foundation (Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen) selected ICT Netherlands as its IT partner.

“ICT offers an excellent price/quality ratio. One of the reasons for selecting them as supplier of the system was the system’s early roll-out and delivery date. Moreover, the possibility to control extra devices beyond the scope of our request offered additional value”, says Willem Dikker Hupkes, chaiman of the Sustainable Projects Loenen Foundation (Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen). “During the last couple of years inhabitants and businesses already invested 1.25 million Euros in sustainability projects such as installing solar panels and insulation through Loenen Energy Neutral. The next step is to maximise the local consumption of the energy that was generated in a sustainable manner. This is the reason why we chose the EU level to initiate the cVPP project aimed at realising an Energy Management System.”

Expertise energy domain
A cVPP is a model in which citizens who generate and consume energy decentrally are connected virtually, thus creating one, single, large entity that generates and consumes energy.” Eric van der Laan, Business Development Executive Energy at ICT Group: “As a technical IT company we know what’s involved in the process of connecting sustainable equipment such as solar panels, heat pumps, electric cars and batteries. In addition, we offer a wealth of expertise in the energy domain. We understand the entire spectrum, the context, and we are thoroughly familiar with the future developments that may be relevant for the Loenen municipality. And of course we take all these factors into account during the project’s realisation phase.”

Partners
ICT Group has been carrying out similar projects during the last ten years. “In addition to the technical and organisational expertise, we have accumulated a good amount of experience in the various ways in which you can involve inhabitants in the project. And our experience resulted directly in a smart application.” Van der Laan is referring to Earn-e, a smart gateway that is installed in each household at the beginning of the project. “Giving inhabitants insight into the amount of energy they generate and consume themselves ensures that they’re actively involved.” Earn-e was developed by Wijkie, a young company that stimulates maximum local consumption of locally generated solar energy. Earn-e was one of the companies for whom ICT developed the platform. “But we have so many other partners who we can also involve providing it would add value to the project.”

Interreg NWE project
The project for realising a community-based Virtual Power Plant is part of the Interreg North-West Europe-project, led by the Eindhoven Technical University. The objective of the project for the Sustainable Projects Loenen Foundation (Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen) is to optimise the benefits achieved by generating sustainable energy within the community. The first phase entails solar cells, heat pumps and electric transport, while a field of solar panels and Smart Grid Ready Heat-installations will be added in the longer term. After its realisation, ICT Group will manage the project for a period of at least three years. The energy project of the future involves some 100 households and possibly more in years to come. Van der Laan concludes: “This project allows us to take a nice next step in our service portfolio towards energy communities in which we serve individual households, but where we can pay particular attention to the households as a group, resulting in a virtual energy station.”

Water authority Hollandse Delta and ICT Group sign agreement for future-proof management of water system

Requirements with regard to water management are becoming increasingly strict. In the past water management activities mainly consisted of managing the water level, however this is no longer sufficient. Factors such as more intensive use of space and water as well as climate change are imposing pressure on water management making proper management of water, in terms of both quantity and quality, increasingly important. In order to ensure a sustainable and efficient level of management of the water system, Secretary-director Eric Jongmans of the Hollandse Delta water authority (WSHD) signed the agreement ‘uniform object management’ with ICT Group (ICT).

The area managed by WSHD consists of five islands and more that 750 measurement areas. The area is managed by infrastructure objects with barrages, pumping stations, valves, inlets and locks. The project involves migrating and creating a uniform Technical Automation (TA) water system with over 475 objects and central systems within a period of four years. The migration is followed by a management phase of 15 years.

ICT uses its solution Waterproof to realise the project. This solution comprises the latest open and standardised telemetrics interfaces, completely integrated with WSHD’s  current Geographical Information System (GIS) and in compliance with the Baseline Information Security Government (BIO).

Eric Jongmans is looking forward to a long-term and sustainable relationship: “Modifying the management of our barrages, pumping stations and other objects enables us to facilitate and improve the way in which we monitor the water in ditches, canals and lakes. This investment is a big step towards making the management and quality of the water future-proof.”

The project has already started and will run until the end of 2023, followed by a 15-year contract for maintenance and management.