Newsletter – January 2015


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

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.


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.

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.

The stuff you may want to consider…..

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.

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.

The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

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.

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.

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.


Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

10 Responses to Newsletter – January 2015

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