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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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« Information Stewardship | NBIMS and Enterprise Interfaces »
Thursday
Sep062007

AMR, AMI, and Autonomy

Automated Metering is one of the critical for changing how we think about and use electricity, both within and outside buildings. Sean Dempsey pointed out ( http://www.newdaedalus.com/articles/ami-doesnt-make-much-difference-without-fundamental-process-.html ) that I had elided AMR (Automated Meter Reading) and AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure. AMR is simply automating the old meter reading process, reducing head counts and reducing dog bites, but not essentially different from old processes. AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) refers to more advanced systems that enable dynamic pricing mechanisms, new payment and customer service options, and control of electrical loads within the home. One source of confusion is what the electric companies are actually doing. Many utilities are installing AMI-capable equipment to support AMR.

Not even AMI, as usually implemented, fundamentally changes the traditional relationship between buildings and the grid. Neither process puts the building inhabitant, whether home or business, in control. Neither one creates the change in markets and attitudes that will create fact-based building operations. Fact-based building operations will create the open markets needed to power innovation. Without control by the inhabitants, fact-based operations will not create sustainable drivers of market-based innovation.

The information of AMI must be accessible in real time and fully trusted by both the power company and the building inhabitant. Rights to AMI information and control must be securely assignable to whatever agents the inhabitant chooses.

The power company must not have privileged position in managing the facility. The power companies interests are not and never will be aligned with the desire for maximum amenity and control desired by the inhabitant. The power company’s interest is in maximizing its own revenue by eliminating peaks; it will never have a strong interest in limiting off-peak demand. That is as it should be.

The inhabitant, of the building, whether a home owner or a business, should be in charge of the buildings responses to the information made available through AMI. The building inhabitants will be the customers for diverse markets in demand response and price reaction. Building inhabitants will have the proper incentives to manage the overall economic and reliable provision of power-based services. Building inhabitants will be the market for integrating local power storage, on-site generation, and time-based energy purchases. Electric companies can only commit to technologies guaranteed no to fail in large scale installation; building habits can afford to gamble on innovation.

The inhabitant may choose to mange this internal energy portfolio internally. The inhabitant may choose to outsource this portfolio management to any of a number of vendors which already have a connection to the building, from industries such as telecommunications, or home security, or cable. The inhabitant may even decide to let the power company bid on providing these services.

What would you do if you had full access to your own AMI infrastructure?

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