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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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Sunday
Feb082009

Demand and Emergency Responses

Smart responses demand smart buildings. In energy, we have Demand-Response (DR). DR is the utility-centric term for making sure that buildings do not demand more power than the electric utility is able to give. DR started out as dumb control. DR is becoming live energy markets and live energy bidding. Emergency response is the fire/police/medical/hazmat personnel who come during an emergency. What can these areas have in common?

New models for DR anticipate that buildings become full intelligent partners in energy negotiations. DR rewards for each event offer too few dollars to engage the building full time attention of the occupants. DR events today (prior to significant renewable energy generation) occur too rarely to require full attention. Future DR will shun control interactions and therefore require intelligent buildings that are able to respond on behalf of their occupants.

Six cities have already rolled out Next Generation 911 (NG911) as early adopters prior to the 2010 larger scale roll-out. NG911 was designed so that security companies and even buildings can submit calls without waiting for an operator to verify information. Of course, this means that the intelligent building must know its own address and geo-location to place the call, as well as the operational information that causes it to initiate the call.

In energy markets, Demand Response Aggregators are critical in negotiating the agreements to find power when needed. This power that the aggregators buy back for the grid is sometimes called Nega-Watts (as in “Nega-watts are always cheaper than megawatts”). Capacity events that require energy use cut-back are often tied to particular parts of the physical grid. DR aggregators do not like to share their detailed customer information with their suppliers because theirs is a knowledge game, based upon understanding their customers better than the larger grid operators do.

Smaller areas of the grid are supported by distinct infrastructure. The service area for this distinct infrastructure can be drawn on a map as what the GIS (Geographic Information Systems, the digital map makers) makers call polygons. It makes sense for DR promises by DR aggregators to be reported up to their suppliers by polygon.

The techniques for identifying which polygon surrounds a geo-location are well known. If each building knew its geo-location, it would be simple to sum DR promises by polygon as long as standard definitions are used. The open geospatial consortium (OGC) has developed standards for expressing both point locations and polygons in XML, the language of the web. Anyone who has ever “pinned something to Google earth” has used the point location XML standard from the OGC.

If a building needs to know its location for interacting with NG911, and needs to know its location to participate in DR, it makes sense for the same standard to be used in Energy and in Emergency Response. Using the geo-location standard routinely for energy operations will mean that the location is well known when it is needed for emergency response.

There is another scenario that would reward convergence. Power grid failures have implications to the emergency responder at both the point and the polygon level. If a substation bursts into flames, or if a truck hits a transmission line, then a neighborhood defined by a polygon goes into darkness. If a building can initiate a 911 call, then a substation should be able to, as well. If this report includes a polygon, then the polygon may encircle point identified signal lights, and a traffic cop may need to be dispatched to each to direct traffic. Police may also wish to increase patrols in the neighborhood without lights. Emergency dispatchers may wish to correlate incoming calls with power outages.

Simple parsimony suggests that the more elegant solution has both these domains, Energy and Emergency Response, sharing the same geo-location standards from the OGC.

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