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Why New Daedalus?

Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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« EBMS – Slogging through the Details | Abstract the Interfaces »
Tuesday
Nov132007

Extreme Integration

New trends in building integration in which the systems respond not only to their own internal operations, but also to their tenants, and to the operations of the buildings housed within them are coming soon. Building systems will also interact with other systems in the building, not only the business systems, but also the other embedded systems with different missions. Buildings will also gain situational awareness of the world around them, starting with Demand-Response, but soon including greater awareness of weather and interactions with first responders. I like to think of this trend as extreme building integration.

Extreme building integration has been around for some time. It was difficult, and time consuming. Only those with special needs or special obsessions underwent the expense to acquire them. There was a certain cool factor to them, owners would show them off. But to date, they have had little effect on markets.

Three factors will increase the pace and penetration of extreme building integration. Increasingly, infrastructure that will enable them will be in-place to support the growing attention to Demand/Response as energy prices mount and carbon concerns gain ascendancy in the public mind. For Demand/Response, requiring internet-scale integration of control systems, to flourish, building system integrators will have to learn the lessons of encapsulation and isolation that are at the heart service orientation. Service orientation will require situational aware security to replace simple perimeter-based control.

These changes in system integration will both drive and be reinforced by three imperatives: information availability, a decreasing size and scope of each system, and interoperability. These three forces are mutually reinforcing, and will drive innovation for some time.

All organizations want actionable information abstracted from the raw data of their business operations. As enterprises discover such information in their Demand/Response systems, they will no longer look on their building systems as invisible and uncontrollable. They will begin to wonder what other business information can be gleaned from these systems. Can it decrease maintenance costs? Can it improve tenant loyalty or increase rents? A little information begets requests for more.

As systems learn to communicate in more standard ways, they open up interactions with more elements of the enterprise. More communications will encourage smaller systems with a single purpose. More complex interactions outside each system will encourage reducing the size of each system to control complexity. Smaller single-purpose systems will open up greater competition on performance of that function.

Interoperability is the largest aspect of these forces, unseen, perhaps, like the underwater portion of an iceberg, but keeping the other two afloat. Interoperability enables building owners and tenants to swap out building systems to meet special needs. Competition on quality of performance and subtlety of operation becomes possible. Interoperability requires the discipline to keep extraneous details out of the interface. Interoperability requires abstraction to enable new interactions not anticipated at design time. Interoperability enables and drives innovation. Interoperability allows not only extreme integration, but also agile integration, responding to the needs of the home or enterprise in different ways as needs change.

Soon, such integration will not seem extreme any more.

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