Newsletter – July 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

April May Trend % Change
$0.137 $0.137 Same 0.00%
Year May Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.097 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.110 Increase 13.40% 13.40% 13.40%
2007 $0.115 Increase 4.55% 18.56% 5.15%
2008 $0.120 Increase 4.35% 23.71% 5.15%
2009 $0.126 Increase 5.00% 29.90% 6.19%
2010 $0.127 Increase 0.79% 30.93% 1.03%
2011 $0.129 Increase 1.57% 32.99% 2.06%
2012 $0.129 Same 0.00% 32.99% 0.00%
2013 $0.131 Increase 1.55% 35.05% 2.06%
2014 $0.136 Increase 3.82% 40.21% 5.15%
2015 $0.137 Increase 0.74% 41.24% 1.03%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London_Night

London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
The clear message in play now, from many sources, is Demand Response has a money problem. The problem seems to be driven by not having a sound financial plan to replace thousands of miles of supply and distribution lines with new technologies called the Smart Grid. This problem is no surprise, as any sound strategy involves both supply and execution planning. A recent decision has approved substantial modifications to a capacity market framework, known as the Reliability Pricing Model (RPM). Many industry observers believe this decision will lead to substantial increases in capacity prices, spurring the development of Demand Response resources. Another article affirms Demand Response spending has officially stalled. “Leadership of the utility sector has really embraced energy efficiency as a core part of their business…” They now have to find the willingness to spend money. A consistent article holds the position Demand Response is key to utilities’ survival. This is a strong statement, but a well-supported argument justifies this position. GNU remotecontrol maintains our long held position, as stated in our 2014 FSF interview, the success of the Smart Grid, in the context of the network connected HVAC thermostat, requires a team of the financial officer, mechanical engineer, and information technology to find how to make the Smart Grid a sustainable reality.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article reports the national electrical grid is getting smarter, but the average consumer customer is not realizing the benefits. This condition is due to the presence of electric meters speaking with the Smart Grid, though not too many appliances and devices in the customer residence. This condition is caused by a lack of clear interoperable standards enabling mass production and commoditization of appliances and devices. A short-term gain can be realized by helping customers see in their electric bill how lesser spending impacts their purchasing value. This gain is realized by improved customer relation management on the part of the electricity provider. This gain also positions the electricity provider to better respond when appliances and devices begin to become part of the Smart Grid. A related article finds Google Nest is providing more devices for sale, but not providing energy management applications, let alone application capabilities including security, convenience and connectivity. A relevant article finds the Apple Siri Smart Home has stumbled from their launch, from design failures causing tenuous reliability. This is a clear pattern money and size, alone or combined, do not necessarily deliver a viable network connected HVAC thermostat management strategy, let alone a software application.

Smart Grid – Producer
A recent study found consumers are not unjustified to waive weatherization subsidies, to achieve energy efficiency. This finding is determined as the return on the investment is not enough to justify the investment expense. Again, strong evidence the consumer is mindful of the cost to achieve efficiency and is pursuing more viable options. A related article found little to no economic value gained by in-home displays for implementing time-of-use electricity pricing plans. People are not willing to stand and wait for a message to purchase electricity at a lower rate. Another delivery mechanism must be found to offer the lower purchase rate. A recent report provides recommendations of how to effectively achieve time-of-use electricity pricing plans. Again, the source of the problem to find energy efficiency is a financial problem, due to not offering what people want to purchase in the manner they want to purchase. This is more than a marketing or technology problem.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 80% finished with development.
  • We have simplified index.php to have lesser fields for displaying thermostat profiles, through the usage of supporting web forms.
  • These additional web forms accommodate handling more information and separating information changing on a less frequent basis from the view of index.php page.
  • We have separated sensor calibration from the index.php page, to avoid any risk of inadvertently altering calibration settings.
  • We have achieved selecting thermostats by group functionality.
  • The outcome is only viewing what is necessary for changing HVAC control settings.
  • We are prepared to immediately enter structured system testing, upon completion of development.
  • We maintain our position to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

Translation Subsystem

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

ANSI C

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

DISCUSSIONS

VISUALIZATION
Our efforts to read from and write to the network connected HVAC thermostat, in combination with gathering data from weather stations, has resulted in identifying usage patterns we did not expect. Visualization has helped us identity these patterns. Specifically, the ability to know with a considerable amount of accuracy how much energy it will take to either heat or cool a facility, based upon historical run time of the equipment. A pertinent article addressed the benefits of visualization. We have rendered the data we have collected in various graphs and charts. An excellent example of successfully combining data and visualization is the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System. We see no reason not to include visualization in GNU remotecontrol. We have decided to include this visualization functionality in a future release. We estimate this functionality will be developed and released in either version 2.2 or 3.0, depending upon user feedback.

Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

ASSET MANAGEMENT
A common security threat is one computer posing as another computer. This is also true at the device level. We identify the need to mature the firmware running on all known network connected HVAC thermostats, to have improved security capabilities. We are discussing this need now, both internally and externally, to determine how we can better assist with providing security measures to prevent against any form of thermostat hijacking. We first discussed this concept in our February 2013 edition. The risk of convenience through remote access is too great of risk to bear, given the impact of nefarious activity with your HVAC system.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY

Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – June 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
 TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

 

March April Trend % Change
$0.136 $0.137 Increase 0.74%

 

Year April Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.095 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.109 Increase 14.74% 14.74% 14.74%
2007 $0.113 Increase 3.67% 18.95% 4.21%
2008 $0.118 Increase 4.42% 24.21% 5.26%
2009 $0.125 Increase 5.93% 31.58% 7.37%
2010 $0.126 Increase 0.80% 32.63% 1.05%
2011 $0.127 Increase 0.79% 33.68% 1.05%
2012 $0.127 Same 0.00% 33.68% 0.00%
2013 $0.128 Increase 0.79% 34.74% 1.05%
2014 $0.131 Increase 2.34% 37.89% 3.16%
2015 $0.137 Increase 4.58% 44.21% 6.32%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
An article, considering the possible outcomes of the case to decide Demand Response authority in the United States, seems to hold credible reasoning. The CME Group now defines its weather derivatives offering as energy products. A weather derivate is a strategy to reduce adverse or unexpected weather conditions harming organizations or individuals. The trend is the awareness of cost for either heating or cooling a premises is becoming more valuable to more people. The Nagios plugin developed by GNU remotecontrol, for weather monitoring, has the ability to monitor and record weather related information since the beginning of the software project. Access to real time and recorded weather related information is necessary for effectively accomplishing any heating or cooling strategy. A recent illustration of how these topics intersect is considering the challenges faced by the Indian Smart City project.

Power Line Communication
An article, explaining the operation of Power Line Communication and the challenges faced to implement the technology in the residential premise helps to understand why the technology is not yet widely adopted. It is likely this technology will be the dominant player in the Smart Grid home networking segment. Cost and form factor seem to be the biggest barriers holding back wide spread adoption, in combination with the desire to have improved security for remote management capabilities. This is a matter of either maturing the standard or maturing partner standards to accomplish the desired capability.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article, describing a recent study for a revised rate plan. The findings show a lower cost, based upon time-based pricing, does cause a buyer to purchase at a lower rate, therefore the alternate time for the purchase. This is surprising, because of the long held argument a larger discount must be offered to sway purchasing patterns. A supporting article affirms timing is the best pattern for planning a rate revision. Another supporting article details the growing implementation of meters connected to the Smart Grid. This is more collective evidence the cost of energy is in the forefront of buyer thinking.

Smart Grid – Producer
An article, finding customer satisfaction in their utility provider is decreasing. Customer preferences for increased satisfaction include investing in customer service, improved web portals, mobile applications, efficiency offerings, high-bill alerts, and outage updates. Energy reliability is clearly the second most important category, though surprising it is not the first. Another article reports retail energy executives see opportunity in this age of customers driving the strategic planning of the energy business. This trend matches a new FERC commissioner taking over leadership, as it is a change in political party.

Smart Grid – Security
An article, describing the failure of the Open Smart Grid Protocol. Another article, emphasizing the security necessary for the protected Smart Grid is more about overall design than any particular feature. This position matches recent market research, finding a widespread lack of trust in energy gadget security measures. If the Smart Grid is going to be realized, security must become a greater concern to product manufactures.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 80% finished with development.
  • We have simplified index.php to have lesser fields for displaying thermostat profiles, through the usage of supporting web forms.
  • These additional web forms accommodate handling more information and separating information changing on a less frequent basis from the view of index.php page.
  • We have separated sensor calibration from the index.php page, to avoid any risk of inadvertently altering calibration settings.
  • We have achieved selecting thermostats by group functionality.
  • The outcome is only viewing what is necessary for changing HVAC control settings.
  • We are prepared to immediately enter structured system testing, upon completion of development.
  • We maintain our position to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

Translation Subsystem

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

ANSI C

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

DISCUSSIONS

ALWAYS ON TECHNOLOGIES
A recent article with estimations of energy consumption show the technologies in constant operation are collectively consuming a larger and larger share of the national energy consumption. The inability to measure at the device level prevents accurate consumption readings. However, given the trend to have more electronic devices in constant operation, it is clear the rise in consumption will need either more production or experience higher prices.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 3 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

LOGJAM ATTACK
An article, identifying several weaknesses in how Diffie-Hellman key exchange has been deployed. The Diffie-Hellman key exchange is a popular cryptographic algorithm allowing Internet protocols to agree on a shared key and negotiate a secure connection. It is fundamental to many protocols including HTTPS and protocols relying on TLS. It is doubtful a system on a chip could individually defend against an Internet facing threat. The need for accomplishing the protected Smart Grid is more about overall design than any particular feature.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY

Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – May 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
 TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

 

February March Trend % Change
$0.138 $0.136 Decrease -1.45%

 

Year March Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.094 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.109 Increase 15.96% 15.96% 15.96%
2007 $0.113 Increase 3.67% 20.21% 4.26%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 23.40% 3.19%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 34.04% 10.64%
2010 $0.125 Decrease -0.79% 32.98% -1.06%
2011 $0.127 Increase 1.60% 35.11% 2.13%
2012 $0.127 Same 0.00% 35.11% 0.00%
2013 $0.128 Increase 0.79% 36.17% 1.06%
2014 $0.135 Increase 5.47% 43.62% 7.45%
2015 $0.136 Increase 0.74% 44.68% 1.06%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
The United States Congress has passed legislation forcing electric water heaters of a particular size to be connected to the national Smart Grid, under the discretion of the Secretary of Energy. The President of the United States has signed this bill into law. The exact language of the law states:

“(ii) GRID-ENABLED WATER HEATER.—The term ‘grid-enabled water heater’ means an electric resistance water heater that—
“(I) has a rated storage tank volume of more than 75 gallons;
“(II) is manufactured on or after April 16, 2015;

The connection methodology of this law states:
“(iv) REQUIREMENTS.—In carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary shall require that grid-enabled water heaters be equipped with communication capability to enable the grid-enabled water heaters to participate in ancillary services programs if the Secretary determines that the technology is available, practical, and cost-effective.”;

It is recommended to read the entire law, to completely understand the scope of the impact. The biggest impact is residential housing is now mandated to connect to the Smart Grid, given these specifications, meaning irrevocable cultural impact. It is reasonable to conclude other residential technologies will also be required to connect to the Smart Grid at some future date, through some form of federal legislation.

The United States Supreme Court recently reviewed the request to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) both define and regulate Demand Response. The court has announced they have accepted the case. An analysis of the announcement is presented. A recent article affirms there is no certainly in Demand Response efforts until authority is both defined and assigned.

Smart Grid – Consumer
The first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) is complete. An article reviewing thirteen key findings from the QER shows a decoupling of electricity demand and economic growth. This could make sense, if a productive economy using much energy, such as factories, existed compared to a consumer and services economy. This decoupling finding does not match other economic data, claiming high factory output nationally. The QER will take a few years for analysts and statisticians to consume and understand. If this decoupling claim is true, then the electrical industry has truly shifted to consumer dominance. A relevant article supports this reasoning. The latest study on Smart Grid efficiency benefits finds there is a clear need for much more research data to understand if efficiency gains are occurring. This data will not be available until more technologies are developed, such as a specification for an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat. A recent survey shows most consumers essentially care about an even spread of topics, though with more on the environmental side. An economic commentary supports the position efficiency gains will only come when the utility and the consumer are each participating in a mutually beneficial relationship. There is more and more indication this relationship will need an extremely detailed billing statement before either party will commit to finding efficiency gains. A commentator is convinced there is plenty of marketing in play, but little hard evidence one way or the other, until more data is captured to prove how to obtain efficiency. It is our considered opinion this data will not be obtained until there is more agreement on international standards, structured testing is achieved, and the data is accredited. A lack of agreement on testing can easily invalidate any data obtained by testing.

Smart Grid – Producer
A recent article clearly states the future for any utility mandates improved grid resiliency. This improvement is constantly questioned by the impact of weather on any resiliency goals. Another article affirms the position the Smart Grid does offer safer options compared to the grid technologies of today. A research effort shows the Smart Grid business drivers are coming from power-hungry states. This is no surprise, but affirmation the market plays a big part in driving technology adoption. There is clear evidence to justify upgrading any grid segment with suitable information technologies.

Smart Grid – Security
An article discussing a recent speech, regarding security and the Internet of Things impacting the electric supply industry. The voiced concern is change is happening too fast, while system patching and updating are struggling to occur. The resulting risk is too many new technologies impacting older technologies with results unable to be seen, due to poor structured testing. The unstated recommendation is to either slow down implementing unproven technologies or improve testing methodologies.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

Translation Subsystem

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

ANSI C

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

DISCUSSIONS

WHEN?
We are receiving various emails, asking when we will release version 2.0 to the public. We are pleased to hear the interest and demand. We plan to have version 2.0 ready for enterprise usage. We have a substantial structured testing effort to accomplish, to justify the position we are ready for enterprise usage. The combination of Model-View-Controller and further automation efforts will help us deliver on being ready to interface with other existing software technologies. Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

BUGS
We have 3 new bugs and 2 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

F-E-A-R
A good acronym for the term fear is False Evidence Assuming Reality. We do not support the position of not acting, for the sake of waiting. Neither do we support the position of acting without considering and preparing. Achieving an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat is part of our strategy to implement GNU remotecontrol. Structured testing of version 2.0 is also part of our strategy. Providing assured evidence and assuming nothing helps to keep reality, well…real.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY

Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – April 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
 TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

January February Trend % Change
$0.138 $0.138 Same 0.00%

 

Year February Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.094 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.108 Increase 14.89% 14.89% 14.89%
2007 $0.113 Increase 4.63% 20.21% 5.32%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 23.40% 3.19%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 34.04% 10.64%
2010 $0.123 Decrease -2.38% 30.85% -3.19%
2011 $0.125 Increase 1.63% 32.98% 2.13%
2012 $0.128 Increase 2.40% 36.17% 3.19%
2013 $0.129 Increase 0.78% 37.23% 1.06%
2014 $0.134 Increase 3.88% 42.55% 5.32%
2015 $0.138 Increase 2.99% 46.81% 4.26%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Smart Grid – Consumer
A national energy efficiency measure has passed the United States Senate. The legislation associated with energy at large has become so important AEE has started selling a service to assist with tracking this type of legislation. Another article about how business worries about energy waste seems to explain the call for legislation and a market segment to supply energy legislation information. The bigger picture is the concern involving the difficulty to understanding the regional cost of energy. Variable pricing by region is not unusual. What is unusual is the difficulty to understand pricing variability in the information age. Legislation forcing energy efficiency speaks to either a supply problem or a rising cost problem, or both. Regardless, the cost of available energy in the near future is of concern.

Smart Grid – Producer
A recent article explaining the difficulty involved to monetize the distribution grid is well-constructed. The itemized cost of operational versus capitalized is endless to any large scale project. The costs are tangibly the same, regardless of how they are split on an accounting statement.

Smart Grid – Security
A recent article regarding energy management combined with security for businesses helps to understand why any business can see energy consistency as a real concern for doing business. Consistency involves purchasing at a price not experiencing radical increases.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 80% finished with development.
  • We are prepared to immediately enter structured system testing, upon completion of development.
  • We maintain our position to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

Translation Subsystem

  • We are complete with the development stage.
  • The system testing of this effort will occur during system testing of v2.0.

ANSI C

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • Further work on the use-case for our firmware effort.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

DISCUSSIONS

FREE HARDWARE DESIGNS
Stallman presents two articles on the concept of, “a design that permits users to use the design (i.e., fabricate hardware from it) and to copy and redistribute it, with or without changes.” The first article focuses on explaining the need for free hardware designs. The second article focuses on how to successfully accomplish free hardware designs. These articles match the position of our journey to design and build firmware for an internationally accepted residential network connected HVAC thermostat. This is an exciting time for GNU remotecontrol.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

BUGS
We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY

Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – March 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
 TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH

Current and Past

 

December January Trend % Change
$0.135 $0.138 Increase 2.22%

 

Year January Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.094 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.108 Increase 14.89% 14.89% 14.89%
2007 $0.113 Increase 4.63% 20.21% 5.32%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 23.40% 3.19%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 34.04% 10.64%
2010 $0.124 Decrease -1.59% 31.91% -2.13%
2011 $0.125 Increase 0.81% 32.98% 1.06%
2012 $0.128 Increase 2.40% 36.17% 3.19%
2013 $0.129 Increase 0.78% 37.23% 1.06%
2014 $0.134 Increase 3.88% 42.55% 5.32%
2015 $0.138 Increase 2.99% 46.81% 4.26%

United Kingdom Utility Prices

Current and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response

A recent article, with the assertion of saving billions of dollars, explaining how to arrive at this conclusion. Demand Response can or cannot include battery systems, based upon the design of the response. It is important to note batteries will never meet supply needs. Batteries are intended for storing excess energy generation or bridging the gap between a service outage and service restoration. The article is well-written and helps to understand how Demand Response will most likely play into the electrical grid of the not too distant future.

A recent article, discussing the future of Opower. Their growth has stalled and brought into question the viability of their offering. The concern centers around the readiness, and subsequent willingness, of the market to use Demand Response calculation services, or the common concerns of leadership capabilities, leadership strategy, cash flow, and the various components of running any for-profit venture.

Smart Grid – Consumer

2015 is being characterized as the year home automation becomes mainstream. A recent venture called Simple Energy provides cost comparisons for planning energy efficiency implementations. The timing of the offering is excellent, as TVA desires to implement additional charges for when electricity is consumed. These charges will go to the energy distributor, the local electric utility, but will no doubt be passed on in final customer billing. The thrust of the energy efficiency debate is about to switch from market driven to regulator driven, as the cost of energy is about to irrevocably change if time-of-use rates are implemented at the residential consumption level.

Smart Grid – Producer

A compelling report regarding the perceived and tangible costs of reliable electric service. It is important to note the comparison of who receives both the costs and the benefits of reliable electric service. There is little doubt electricity is considered a constant in many cultures. A study years ago found the second leading reason for a successful business in Kenya is energy consistency, as electric service is unstable in this region. This condition is unimaginable in most countries.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 80% finished with development.
  • We are prepared to immediately enter structured system testing, upon completion of development.
  • We have decided to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

Translation Subsystem

  • We are complete with the development stage.
  • The system testing of this effort will occur during system testing of v2.0.

ANSI C

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • Further work on the use-case for our firmware effort.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

DISCUSSIONS

FIRMWARE

Our journey to design and build firmware for an internationally accepted residential network connected HVAC thermostat is moving much faster than we anticipated. We are receiving considerable interest from members of the electronics community and new developers are joining the GNU remotecontrol software project. The completion of the final specification for the firmware project will reveal to us how we need to further grow GNU remotecontrol to support the firmware. This is an exciting time for GNU remotecontrol.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?

Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

BUGS

We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS

We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

BIGGER THAN BIG

Since 2015 is being characterized as the year home automation becomes mainstream, curiosity about security comes along to see how much of an impaction this home automation desire will change the world. DARPA is of the position no one is safe when using the Internet. A recent article reports the edges of most electrical grids are changing, further enabling the ability to interface with external electrical grids. This interface invariability involves further usage of information technology, to facilitate the communication efforts. Usage of an untrusted network, such as the Internet, with an organization having insufficient security measures, such as an electrical utility interfacing with a lesser secure electrical utility, will most likely not bring good results. The bigness of the Internet, combining with the bigness of an electricity distributer, means we as a world are entering a time of bigger than anything big has ever defined, in terms of cultural impact. The usage of information technology by electrical utilities will undoubtedly grow, before ever realizing an effective, substantial, and sustainable Smart Grid.

REMEMBER

GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY

Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – February 2015

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • ANNUAL PLAN
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • SECURITY
  • LASTLY
 TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH

Current and Past

November December Trend % Change
$0.134 $0.135 Increase 0.75%
Year December Trend % Change % Since Difference
2004 $0.092 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.102 Increase 10.87% 10.87% 10.87%
2006 $0.110 Increase 7.84% 19.57% 8.70%
2007 $0.115 Increase 4.55% 25.00% 5.43%
2008 $0.124 Increase 7.83% 34.78% 9.78%
2009 $0.124 Same 0.00% 34.78% 0.00%
2010 $0.125 Increase 0.81% 35.87% 1.09%
2011 $0.127 Increase 1.60% 38.04% 2.17%
2012 $0.127 Same 0.00% 38.04% 0.00%
2013 $0.131 Increase 3.15% 42.39% 4.35%
2014 $0.135 Increase 3.05% 46.74% 4.35%

United Kingdom Utility Prices

Current and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response

  • An article, explaining the jurisdiction aspect of FERC Order 745.
  • An announcement, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has released an open source Demand Response software project in conjunction with OpenADR.
  • An article, describing a United State Department of Energy report finding FERC is severely lacking in controlling and protecting sensitive, non-public information.
  • A perspective, of how Demand Response will shape the future of energy.
  • An article, describing the structural change occurring within the power industry going from supply management to demand management.
  • An announcement, OpenADR now has a deployment map and product database.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • An announcement, Ecobee and Carrier have expanded their strategic relationship.
  • An article, explaining specific energy gadgets yesterday and integrated home energy management services are today.
  • A report, finding a remotely administrated HVAC thermostat can reduce energy usage by seventeen percent.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • A report, explaining the degree of Outage Management System success is directly dependent on the degree of intergeneration with Smart Grid information technologies.
  • A survey, of electric industry executives, capturing their perspective of the future electric industry.
ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • Developing a data abstraction layer.
  • Refactoring remaining code.
  • Effort is over seventy-five percent complete.

Translation Subsystem

  • This effort is dependent upon successful completion of the MVC effort.
  • This effort is over fifty percent complete.

ANSI C

  • Further discussions with the members of the electronics industry.
  • Developing a specification for an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat.
  • Developing a specification for the firmware to operate the internationally accepted residential network connected HVAC thermostat.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

DISCUSSIONS

FIRMWARE

We have started a journey to design and build firmware for an internationally accepted residential network connected HVAC thermostat. The hardware to be operated by this firmware is still unclear. We see this firmware can operate in a virtual machine, a System on a Chip, and few other abstract concepts we are still working to define. The success of this effort will put more traction to HVAC hardware manufacturing , enabling HVAC hardware to support the software comprising GNU remotecontrol and many, many other HVAC technologies. Stay tuned for more information.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?

Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

BUGS

We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS

We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

SMART GRID VOLUNTARY CODE OF CONDUCT

The United States Department of Energy and the Federal Smart Grid Task Force released their final version of a Voluntary Code of Conduct (VCC) for Smart Grid data privacy. The VCC is only a set of recommendations, not a mandate. The VCC defines what is called Account Data fields. Notably, the device identifier is a field, along with pertinent user information. The concern here is the type of information being exchanged with Smart Grid members, though no clear privacy requirements nor strong recommendations regarding the Account Data fields are defined.

REMEMBER

GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY

Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

Newsletter – January 2015

THIS MONTH…..
TRENDS
EYE CATCHING
DISCUSSIONS
EXISTING CODE
LASTLY

TRENDS
The stuff going on in the big picture now…..

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Current and Past

October November Trend % Change
$0.136 $0.134 Decrease -1.47%
Year November Trend % Change % Since Difference
2004 $0.092 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2005 $0.102 Increase 10.87% 10.87% 10.87%
2006 $0.110 Increase 7.84% 19.57% 8.70%
2007 $0.115 Increase 4.55% 25.00% 5.43%
2008 $0.123 Increase 6.96% 33.70% 8.70%
2009 $0.124 Increase 0.81% 34.78% 1.09%
2010 $0.125 Increase 0.81% 35.87% 1.09%
2011 $0.128 Increase 2.40% 39.13% 3.26%
2012 $0.127 Decrease -0.78% 38.04% -1.09%
2013 $0.130 Increase 2.36% 41.30% 3.26%
2014 $0.134 Increase 3.08% 45.65% 4.35%

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Current and Past

London by night, seen from the International Space Station

EYE CATCHING
The stuff that has caught our eye…..

Demand Response

  • An article, reporting the United States wholesale power markets can rely on almost 29 gigawatt of Demand Response, or the equivalent of 6.1% of peak hourly demand in those markets.
  • An article, citing a report stating a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) study shows spotty growth for Demand Response and Advanced Meters.
  • An article, discussing a United States Solicitor General filing, requesting an extension to litigate Demand Response in the United States Supreme Court.
  • An article, reporting The President of the United States is appealing a federal court decision vacating FERC Order 745 to the United States Supreme Court.

Smart Grid – Consumer

  • An article, discussing the likely 2015 investments in the Smart Grid industry.
  • An article, describing Google’s Nest announcing new integrations with more Smart Home devices and services.
  • An article, exploring United States seniors’ perspective toward the Smart Grid.
  • An article, explaining the privacy conflict brought on by the Smart Grid.
  • An article, describing privacy challenges both present and pending due to the Smart Grid.
  • An article, reporting Data-Flyte has gained venture funding, demonstrating the stability of their meter reading technology. It also validates the meter transmission signal strength is considerably strong.
  • An article, considering how a computer is or is not loyal to the computer user.

Smart Grid – Producer

  • An article, reporting more than half of the United States poorest households do not have Internet service at their home.
  • An article, reporting the Smart Grid helped speed service outage recovery during a recent storm.
  • An article, reporting Smart Thermostat enrollment continues to grow in Texas, Arizona, and Maryland.
  • An article, reporting Pepco Holdings has enrolled 360,000 of their customers in their Demand Response program.

Smart Grid – Security

  • An article, predicting critical infrastructure is a leading target for 2015 security threats.
  • An article, discussing Smart Grid security certification in Europe.

DISCUSSIONS

2015 ANNUAL PLAN
Our plan for the coming year is to accomplish a considerable amount of under-the-hood work with GNU remotecontrol. This work will facilitate ease of integration between GNU remotecontrol and other software projects, along with positioning us to successfully expand into new code development within the GNU remotecontrol project. Our plan has three parts:

  • Coding GNU remotecontrol to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) software architectural pattern
    MVC is a software architectural pattern. It divides the code base into three interconnected parts. It is an excellent approach for achieving code reusability. Our objective with MVC is to achieve easier reusability of the GNU remotecontrol code base. Additionally, there are more and more web accessibly requirements, the concept of Representational State Transfer (REST) before us, and the idea of having a smaller display version of GNU remotecontrol. We first discussed the display requirements in our June 2013 newsletter. We have decided the need for displaying information on smaller format devices is growing. We must now take action to meet this need. The code base is presently being completely rewritten using the MVC pattern.
  • Improve the Translation Subsystem
    The majority of the GNU remotecontrol user base uses languages other than English. The GNU remotecontrol team will leverage contributors who have the necessary language skills to translate the display language content into languages other than English, using the workflow approach. This effort is much more than an exercise in language translation. This effort will promote increased value during the interaction with the various cultures, helping us to understand how to improve GNU remotecontrol content display. We are presently building a browser based interface to easily accomplish this interactive translation effort. The language translations will then be exportable, enabling GNU remotecontrol users to import whatever display language they need to run their GNU remotecontrol server. This translation interface resides on our new development server.
  • Preparing to begin ANSI C code development
    The driving reason we are looking to develop in ANSI C is because it is the predominant software language used with network connected HVAC thermostat hardware. Our objective with ANSI C is to prepare for interfacing with HVAC hardware, with the hope electronics manufacturers will generate an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat. The majority of building automation hardware also uses ANSI C. There is no reason why we should not consider interfacing directly with hardware.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.

OTHER TYPES OF THERMOSTATS?
Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODE
The stuff you may want to consider…..

BUGS
We have 1 new bugs and 1 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

TASKS
We have 1 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

Z-WAVE
Z-Wave interest is growing as an alternative to wired or other wireless device connections. The selling point of Z-Wave is a stronger waveform, capable of penetrating deeper into a building, along with requiring less power than either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. An informative presentation is provided by the Black Hat 2013 Briefings seminar, comparing Z-Wave to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Power Line Communication. The presentation demonstrates how to gain the Z-Wave HomeID parameter, at time stamp 19:00. They present additional Z-Wave security findings, at time stamp 25:00. They present their security analysis tool, Z-Force. They find the nonce value regulation is a design flaw within Z-Wave. Open Security Research provides research on the security of Z-Wave. Both Open Security Research and the Black Hat presentation conclude changing the HomeID is the most effective means of penetrating Z-Wave security.

Granted, the research cited is dated 2013. However, there is little newly available research or documentation on implementing Z-Wave security. CES 2015, a global consumer electronics and consumer technology trade show, has many offerings in the Z-Wave technology space. The lack of sufficient Z-Wave security documentation, along with the ease of compromising the Z-Wave security model, brings the wisdom of using Z-Wave into question.

REMEMBER
GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.

LASTLY
Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.

…..UNTIL NEXT MONTH!

Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

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