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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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« What is an internet of energy? | Lessening the Integration Barrier to Smart Energy »
Thursday
May272010

Doing things at the right time

I have been writing too much elsewhere to write as much as I’d like here recently. WS-Calendar, EMIX, and EnergyInterop all have drafts out for comments this week. Standards specifications require a lot of coordination to get into publication.

Last Sunday, the WS-Calendar Technical Committee released a draft for comments. This is a small component among standards, but one that can help integrate building systems into the businesses that inhabit them. Already there are early attempts to integrate this specification into energy, into the enterprise, as well as into building operations.

I couldn’t make it through a week without using the IETF standards iCalendar and its supporting communications tools iMIP, iTIP, and calDAV. I am thankful for the many hours they save me every week. I think you may feel the same way, too.

What, you say? You don’t think about these standards? Well, that’s because they are ubiquitous, they work, and are therefore invisible. You use them to schedule meetings, and webinars, to remember plane travel and hotels reservations. They are everywhere, they work, and so we don’t talk about them.

WS-Calendar builds upon these specifications to bring schedules and synchronization to web services and inter-process communications. We created WS-Calendar to create, share, invoke, adjust, and track coordinated response between domains and organizations. By domains, I mean different groups that speak different languages. WS-Calendar will see use in financial instruments and building systems, in energy markets and in enterprise systems, in PDAs and electric cars.

Of most interest to automated buildings readers is how it affects building systems, and what new opportunities it opens up there. Years ago, when became chair of the oBIX TC (Technical Committee), I observed that the BAS needed to know the schedule of the conference room. My corporate calendar already knows when meetings begin each day, when they end each day, and how many people are in each meeting.

There is already a rough draft to incorporate WS-Calendar into oBIX, the OASIS web services standard for communicating with building systems. I have discussed use of WS-Calendar with many members of the BACnet community. It is likely that both communities will soon be able to use this specification to communicate with their respective building systems.

We can expect that enterprise systems will soon support this information sharing. Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle all participated in the WS-Calendar process. I have heard of a trial use of WS-Calendar directly from a Microsoft Exchange server. The makers of registrar’s office software, used to schedule college classes, are looking to communicate class schedules, and the number of students in each class, directly with the building systems.

Smart grids and demand response are everywhere in the news today. Smart grids communicate energy shortages and surpluses to the end nodes of the grid: buildings, homes, and industries. New standards for energy market communications include WS-Calendar. Through WS-Calendar, Energy, Enterprise, and Buildings communicate in a common language to discuss when and how to perform.

WS-Calendar is based on a suite of documents, all currently seeking comments. xCal defines a standard way to render iCalendar information in XML. CalWS is a web service standardizing the API for Calendaring & Scheduling functions on any platform supporting calendaring. WS-Calendar is the component for inter-domain communications.

Comments on WS-Calendar can be posted using the comments link at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/ws-calendar/

Its almost here – and time to start planning how to use it.

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