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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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Tuesday
May222007

Virtual Home Maintenance and Operation

I have been quiet for a couple days. I am making 4 presentations and sitting on two roundtables in 4 days speaking at BuilConn and GridWise, both at Connectivity Week, and at a follow-up CABA conference.

While I am at Connectivity Week, I hope to catch up on how Sensus is doing. Sensus is originally a controls company that has embraced software as a service. Sensus contacts in place building control systems using existing business internet connections. Sensus analyses the performance and makes suggestions to improve performance and efficiency.

The customer can receive this analysis b email, or by we services, or by logging in to a custom web site. This year they have added RSS to their options. Each maintenance suggestion includes an estimated cost per month of not performing the work, based on local energy pricing.

What makes this Sensus unique is that it is a pure web services play. Sensus collects the metrics using Web services – no chatty control protocols are used. The recommendations are delivered using well known open protocols. The Sensus process is defined from end-to-end to offer building analytics as a service, a component of a service oriented architecture (SOA).

Large enterprises are using web services to componentize the operations of each part of their business. Each operating unit defines its service offerings in terms of web services, enabling other parts of the company to make internal requests against the web service, eliminating internal paperwork and process delays. Businesses that have made this effort find that they can market these services to others, turning cost centers into new sources of business. AIMCO, a REIT owning apartments and providing property management services has aggressively embraced this approach.

One of the GridWise scenarios describes a third party customer face (3PCF). This remote energy manager negotiates acceptable service level for each building system in the home with the end user – presumably using a web-based user interface so this profile can be updated regularly. The energy manager buys power on the owner’s behalf, negotiating the maze of power generation ontologies to make costs effective purchases that meet the owner’s preferences and sensibilities.

In a Service-Oriented world, the 3PCF has an opportunity for an enhanced service offering to its existing customers. One important characteristic of SOAP-based web services is that they are message oriented. The original recipient of a SOAP message can forward the message to another web service, just as the recipient of email can forward on a message to someone else.

The 3PCF already has a persistent internet connection into the home, and is able to discover each building service in the home. The 3PCF could partner with Sensus to gather performance analysis and failure predictions. The 3CPF could request the local maintenance staff from AIMCO to provide maintenance and repair services based upon the owner’s preferences and the building analytics. Without acquiring staff, the 3PCF is now able to offer enhanced knowledge-based maintenance and operation services to augment its energy management business.

And that is how one could build a virtual corporation in the home operations and maintenance space.

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