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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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Sunday
Feb172008

Some things that should be Easy (but aren’t yet)

I get a lot of correspondence indicating that we now have enterprise ready interfaces. Pshaw. We have a lot of control protocols that are serialized to look something like well crafted XML.

We have a lot of points exposed, without any means for the non-engineer to evaluate what they might mean. These points suffer because they lack what Bob Smith of Tall Trees is teaching me to call an upper ontology. Without the fancy words, we have access to a lot of numbers that don’t mean anything.

What follows is a list of some things that should be easy to do. They should be doable by a non-specialist. Exposing the ability to wire these things together should not involve exposing or interfering with the inner workings of each system.

  • A tenant entering a lobby door after hours uses a card reader or keypad to gain access. Simultaneously, the HVAC starts and lighting turns on in the tenant's space so the tenant is safe and comfortable when entering their space. The building manager receives the necessary information to bill the tenant for use of the environmental systems from the time they walk in the door until they later leave the building.
  • A new employee is enrolled by human resources and a photo badge is printed. Simultaneously, that badge is activated as a credential in the access control system and parameters for when and where they can go are downloaded into controllers and readers.
  • An "after hours" security console provides graphical information of alarms for security and HVAC for emergency response at a multi-building office campus.
  • Dorm residents leave for the summer. Their card credentials are disabled - but not deleted - until they re-enroll for the fall semester. Student Housing, Administration, and Security all save many keystrokes.
  • The provosts office sets up class schedules and space assignments and the building automation systems automatically schedule the appropriate spaces for occupancy
  • A building occupant who operates very energy-intensive equipment can access real-time energy use and pricing data to take advantage of time-of-day energy rates when running major pieces of equipment
  • An administrative assistant in a conference facility can have a desktop application the enables room scheduling and set-point control for the entire conference facility without any interaction with Building Automation System staff
  • A professor in the School of Business or in Information Science can assign undergraduate research that easily makes use of near real-time data from energy producing and consuming equipment to develop business models based on building analytics.
  • A High School theatre department can disable a smoke alarm for the duration of a play, confident that the safety systems will re-enable themselves without expensive and hard-to-schedule involvement of a controls company.
  • Tenants can directly monitor QOS agreements in provision of services
  • Landlords can directly monitor QOS of outsourced utility services such as steam and chilled water.
  • Special needs areas within Universities and Biomedical research companies can meet regulatory needs for direct monitoring of key areas (animal care facilities, pharmaceutical storage) gaining instant access to temperature, humidity, and air-turnover rates, information that is today available only within the Building Automation System control silo
  • Students wish to be able to manage their own environmental footprint, and see their own net energy use in sustainable dorms, as well as having dorm-to-dorm comparisons during the annual Green Games.
  • A doctor’s office is able to integrate the environmental controls of its examination rooms with the schedules for patients into those rooms, enabling the practice to improve patient comfort (warmer rooms when a patient is undressed) while saving money over all (less conditioning when the room is vacant).
The question is, why are any of these things difficult, and why do they require the work of buildign operations staff or an engineer?

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