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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
May132008

SaaS and Power and Service Oriented Energy

A recent editorial in Baseline used today’s electrical grid as the model for future computing. The article suggested because of the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS), local computing would disappear just as local generation did. Just as the rise of AC allowed generation to move a long way away, the article claimed that SaaS will push all computing off site. Models for computing and generating are converging, but the mode of that confluence is considerably more interesting.

Computing is actually become local. Microwaves and DVD players are not leaving the building. Service oriented computing is moving computing power into building systems and cell phones as well as into the remote data center. Service oriented computing also means that we can now choose the data center that hosts our services, by price, or by reliability, or by security, or even by social conscience as we please.

Today’s electrical grid is more akin to mainframe computing. End users have little choice as to hosting or to distribution, and local options are limited, often by government policy. (DEC originally named their devices programmable data processors, [PDP], to get around federal grant restrictions on buying computers). In the same way. On-site generation is crippled, poor economic information blocks the development of storage technologies, and in so many way, await the “internet revolution” in power.

Ameliorating this, energy is finally about to take advantage of pervasive computing. Electrical power is just beginning to go through the most radical transformation since is became a regulated natural monopoly 100 years ago. Back then, there was no way to measure power usage except by aggregate use between meter readings. All communication was one way by mail (Here is your bill – pay it!). Autonomous systems that can manage power, that can track consumption, that can manage generation are just arriving in the home and office. Today, groups are just sketching out how to use SOA to re-invent the grid; AMI is starting to provide the most critical first service.

Building systems are becoming safely accessible by enterprise programmers using oBIX and other WS-[building systems] variants. The service oriented building is just beginning to be sketched out with telecommuting, hotelling, and carpooling interacting with access control, building ventilation, and tenant QOS agreements. Building access control services feed carpooling recommendations. Worker hotelling reservations inform heating and ventilation strategies. Policy-based security using SCA is extending from IT to building security.

At the same time, the unregulated power providers are starting to define the service oriented grid. Two way communication centered around the new digital meters make time of day pricing and billing possible. Peak shaving standards such as California’s OpenADR (Automated Demand Response) are teaching the regulated electricity providers to exchange web services with the buildings.

On the table are direct purchases from your power provider of choice over the grid. SOA negotiations for pricing and delivery let enterprises opt for power that is cheap, or reliable, or green. Green will be whatever attributes the buyer wants, creating a “Whole Foods” market in generated power.

Service Oriented buildings will be able to remain provably green rather than ostensibly green on the day of delivery. Self commissioning buildings will become perpetual commissioning systems run by autonomous agents, for participants in and scheduled by enterprise operations. SensusMI uses web services to perform remote diagnostics and building analytics to let the building owner understand his costs and control his maintenance decisions. Componentized access control and intrusion detection are being cast through SCA into policy-based physical security, part of the IT security infrastructure. New markets in Service Oriented Buildings are arriving.

TheGreenGrid.org puts the data center in the middle of this transition. Power cost and reliability are factored through web services into the WSDM-based operations console. Building cooling and capacity and electrical distribution capacity are brought in the same way. SaaS combined with prices enable sun-downing, wherein virtual computing follows cheap time of day power prices around the world. Demand/Response, wherein pre-brownout price signals request load shedding, will soon automate the same type of load shifting.

SOA is freeing up power markets to unleash what Fred Krupp has described as “the mother of all venture markets”. SOB meets SOG in a free-for-all of innovation and high-tech investment. It’s all small today, but watch for it to get big soon. Real big. Real soon.

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