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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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Whither Grid Standards

On last Friday’s phone call about advancing the OpenADR specification to a national and perhaps international standard, we agreed to continue the discussion in an open forum at the OASIS site ( OASIS, or the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, has long been the home for the underpinnings of e-commerce, for web security, and for service oriented architecture. OASIS is also home to a number of domain-specific standards, such as LegalXML, Open Office, and OpenDocs as well as the foundational web services registry UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration).

OpenADR (Automated Demand Response) is a California developed specification developed for the regulated electricity providers in that state. Demand-Response (DR) refers to live negotiations between the grid and its end nodes (buildings) to reduce demand before a shortfall causes problems. DR is a very important first step on the road to transacted energy, and solves some big problems in the short term.

One effect pulling OpenADR to OASIS is a perception that it is largely an economic transaction. The end nodes of the power grid contain far too diverse a mix of systems for grid operators to control well. As Gale Horst, who works in the Whirlpool Corporation Research & Engineering Center, has observed, a washing machine cannot respond to a grid request to shed [electrical] load unless it determines that the grid unless it has determined that there is no bleach in its current load of laundry. Every system in a home or business has similar rules that matter within its own domain. For all but the smallest response, DR will require an economic incentive and decisions from the agents running all the systems.

Even before OpenADR began discussions within the OASIS framework, a number of standards potentially useful to the new intelligent grid were underway. oBIX created a specification normalizing the operations and reporting of control systems as web services. The WS-DD and WS-DP committee, standardizing web services for device discovery and device profiles, includes members not just from software and printer makers, but from a maker of electrical switch gear as well.

There may be several of what I call micro-specifications that come out of this. As far as I know, there is still no standard way to exchange scheduling via web services as there is ICALENDAR in email. Such a specification would be useful not only for transmitting schedules from OpenADR to building systems managed by oBIX, but also would be useful in forward pricing of power generally. It would also be useful in a number of other standards, such as BPEL (Business Process Execution Language).

Emergency signaling is an important area or work within OASIS. One critical area is standardization of location. These standards include addresses, geographic points, and geographic territories bounded within a closed polygon. DR specifically, and utilities in general need the same information. When a DR aggregator reports the commitments he has received up to the System Operator, the operator would like the information aggregated by territory. New standards for emergency communications anticipate buildings submitting alarms directly into 911 queues. Components of the power grid could do the same, notifying police to increase patrols in blackout areas and to send officers to direct traffic. It would be very useful for the power grid and for emergency response to use the same standards.

New business models will encourage a move from hierarchical command and control operations to symmetrical peer to peer negotiations on the power grid. Renewable energy sources will decrease reliability. Distributed generation will create more power sources not under the control of traditional utilities. Zero Net Energy buildings will make each end node both a buyer and seller of power. OASIS standards such as WSDM (Web Services Distributed Management) may find a place in the new grid.

The panoply of WS-Security standards, including federated identity management, would require more room than I have here – but OASIS is their home.

There is no replacement for the IEEE and IEC standards at the core of deep control; increasingly, we will have interactions that are more arms length and economic than that.

To join the list, send email to The list is open to all, and there is no commitment to join OASIS or participate in a technical committee implied. For a general discussion of applying e-commerce standards to new energy, you may be interested in reading

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