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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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« B2B2B2B | Business Exchanges on the Grid »
Saturday
Aug092008

Tomatoes and Energy

Ahh, Saturday morning at the farmer’s market. Wonderful smells, and bright colors, and seasonal delights. The local peaches have just come in, and it looks like this year’s crop is making up for the failures of the last two. The nightshade family has just come into full mid-summer explosion; every kind of tomato and pepper is piled high on the tables.

Mid-summer abundance is a time of choice. Winter tomatoes are commodities; local spring tomatoes at the farmer’s market red and flavorful, fresh from the hot-house. Late summer tomatoes come in red and gold and chocolate brown and even in surprising stripes. They come in small bites and in one slice per sandwich double-handfuls. They are low acid and high acid, are recently designed or heirloom favorites. With multiple producers all competing you can get any attributes you want, along with helpful suggestions and advice thrown in for free.

Several people have written or called this last week that they do not like my call for a universal B2B (Business to Business) interface for energy-using and producing systems. The most cogent comments advocated P2B. I also tended to agree with their vision. But I still call it B2B

Everything at the farmer’s market is personal; but only the most naïve of the local city folk think that it is not all business. It takes just a few minutes from the market opening to achieve price equilibrium for “ugly” or “canning” tomatoes. Prettier tomatoes soon reach equilibrium, and compete on special qualities; “heirloom”, “low-acid”, or “no sprays”. Farmer’s markets are all personal, and all business. Just watch them establish new market clearing prices at ten minutes before noon….

The home and the individual energy user, the Person in P2B, should have all the abilities and responsibilities that the business has. Some home users are gradually moving to sophisticated always-on homer servers; others are doing the same with always on servers in the clouds. Many homes use more technology than many small businesses. Many individuals have much more sophisticated understandings of energy than do many businesses.

Like the farmer’s market in mid-summer, I want the vendor communications in energy markets to include more than price. I may want to contract for today’s shaky power or for true digital-quality power. I may want to buy only local sources of power, or only power at least a thousand miles away; let NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) and short transmission advocates both express their desires in the market place. Just as the farmers sell no-spray and certified organic produce, let the market interface describe renewable status, carbon cost, and even bird kills.

A single robust B2B standard for two-way negotiation can be applied to new market models. There is no reason that a negotiation with your neighbor’s power generation, or that run by the neighborhood homeowner’s association, be any different that the negotiation with the traditional utility.

Even within your home or business, there can be a negotiation. If your drier submits a lower bid for energy than does the grid, perhaps your home generation should sell to the grid, or to storage, rather than to the drier. As the home owner, or as the business manager, you can of course set the rules for the internal market. As an enlightened despot of the home market, you can override the market rules when you want to.

Energy that interacts only with the established energy market is hard pink winter tomatoes, available at the same price even in summer. New energy needs farmers markets with plenty of choice. These markets are B2B, even if the agent lives only as a minimized program on your Mac.

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