Newsletter – September 2017

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • FIRMWARE
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
An article Honeywell Lyric product line is now capable of providing Demand Response functionality. An article Tata Power Delhi Distribution and the Russian Federal Test Centre have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for development of Smart Grid technologies. An article Itron stock price has risen considerably since their purchase of Comverge. An announcement Honeywell has acquired Nextnine for their Industrial Automation and Control offering. An article Enel completed their acquisition of EnerNOC. A report Western Europe to invest $133.7 billion in Smart Grid infrastructure by 2027. A survey of electricity customer purchasing preferences. An article electricity providers are researching new options to communicate with their customers. A purchase battle is in play for Oncor between Elliott Management and Berkshire Hathaway. A set of recommendations to mature HVAC control systems. A report home automation will grow exponentially in the next five years. An additional report supports this growth claim. An article Smart Thermostats are gaining adoption in both North America and Europe. Microsoft has released their first Smart Thermostat. Nest has released a lower cost Smart Thermostat. A research project to identify Smart Home efficiency improvement opportunities.

The second generation of the Smart Grid is occurring now. Financial strength is purchasing first generation organizations which have valuable resources but poor management. Hedge players are now in the market to advance their initial offerings and holdouts are now in the market. These actions are more about debt markets and financial engineering and less about energy markets and network engineering. History is clear on what is happening now and what will happen in a free market. Big money will make money by mass adoption. Proprietary does not feed mass adoption. Big money will move away from proprietary technology to make more money. Watch the Smart Grid, Demand Response, and Smart Thermostat markets move faster and faster to bring residential properties into Time of Use pricing.

Smart Grid – Security
A video describing the 2017 UK National Health Service cyberattack with comments at time stamp 50:40 stating the nature of the Smart Grid security construct today from the device perspective. The SANS reports of 13 June, 07 July, and 08 September 2017 identified credible evidence of electrical grid cyberattack vectors.

There is now no doubt an electrical grid cyberattack will succeed. It is unclear when a cyberattack on the electrical grid will succeed. Hopefully, the attack will not cost as much as the evidence indicates it will in terms of outages and restoring electrical service.

Feedback
We received more responses from our June 2017 newsletter than any other edition in the past few years. Comments included increased understanding of the impact on electrical grid availability from cyberattack, along with desire not to use proprietary technologies in the residential markets from fear an electronics manufacturer will not hold sufficient concern for the residential market. The feedback is encouraging to us, as it tells us the newsletter readers are now more engaged than we understood previously. The GNU remotecontrol team is thankful for the appreciation expressed to us by our newsletter readers.

FIRMWARE

GNU remotecontrol Firmware section of the software project had a rough summer regarding development efforts. We lost some resources due to Hurricane Harvey. We had some developers take employer mandated travel. We had a development environment migration effort stall due to little free time to complete the migration. We need more time, more people, or both. We will get there, but it will take longer with the available resources now recovering from team resource depletion and free time changes.

THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS

We shared in our March 2017 newsletter edition of our new section to both identify and discuss available Smart Thermostat options in consideration with internationally accepted technology standards. This section provides insight into each offering as new information becomes available.

Carrier
No new findings.

Ecobee
No new findings.

Honeywell
No new findings.

Microsoft
No information yet on their newest offering.

Nest
No information yet on their newest offering.

Sensi
No new findings.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted
.

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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

Advertisements

Newsletter – June 2017

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • FIRMWARE
  • THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
An article sharing Honeywell is now providing three utilities with Smart Grid services. An article last fall considered if the time has come to deregulate all electric utilities. Deregulation proponents argue industry deregulation is the best way to lower costs and increase innovation. Deregulation antagonists argue the evidence so far shows little benefit to customers. An article sharing Schneider Electric has sold their data-software unit called DTN for $900 Million USD. An article sharing the search to find the balance between temperature and humidity in an office has resulted in cubicle area managers funding internal payments for immediate changes to HVAC settings. A survey of consumer perspectives regarding their Smart Grid interests revealed respondents cared primarily about saving money through time-of-use pricing in a Demand Response relationship with their utility provider.

Adoption of the Smart Grid is being driven now by customer financial capital savings. There is more interest to save money than address widespread environmental impact. The Demand Response model is advancing without concern for cyber security, as we identify in the following sections of this newsletter edition.

Smart Grid – Security
An article reporting the United States has tasked the Pentagon with the responsibility to protect the electric grid from attack by a cyber attack or atmospheric nuclear blast. The Pentagon has tasked the Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) to lead the protection effort. An article last year provided a thorough explanation of the smart meters in use today. An article sharing the United Kingdom placed their airports and nuclear power stations on terror alert from a credible cyber-related threat. An article sharing energy executives are pressing government agencies for more security clearance to fight cyber-related attacks on energy-related infrastructure. An article sharing United States lawmakers call for a pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities.

The energy generation and distribution leaders, along with both lawmakers and defense department officials, are stating it is unsafe now to connect the national electrical grid to Demand Response by way of the Internet. It is difficult to believe an unsafe connection to the Internet will bring a good result. Good, meaning non-harmful to personal safety nor cause unnecessary risk.

Unlike
The argument supporting the position accessing the Smart Grid by using a mobile device application is no different from accessing a financial institution such as a bank by using a mobile device application is an uninformed debate. If all software applications were the same, then there would be no reason for software security. The GNU remotecontrol team considered this argument and found many differences between mobile device applications involving both the Smart Grid and financial institutions.

First, defense officials, industry executives, and lawmakers stated above it is not possible to defend the Smart Grid from cyber-related attack. Second, the United States Federal Reserve has accumulated substantive information regarding electronic, mobile and online banking. Third, they offer a course called E-Banking/Mobile Banking providing “a detailed understanding of the technologies and risks fundamental to electronic banking (e-banking) and mobile banking.” Fourth, they provide their annual Consumers and Mobile Financial Services, last posted March 2016, describing “consumers’ use of mobile financial services”. Finally, the United States Federal Communications Commission warns against “mobile wallet services to conduct financial transactions over an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

GNU remotecontrol does not find within the Smart Grid industry today regulation of any mobile device access to the Smart Grid. Neither do we find Smart Grid members are under a statute to safeguard against the security concerns identified by both the Federal Reserve and the Federal Communications Commission. Finally, we see no evidence either network connected HVAC (smart) thermostat manufacturers or software applications communicating with smart thermostats are bound by the statutes found in the banking industry.

Our conclusion is using a mobile device application involving the Smart Grid is not the same as using a mobile device application involving banking. They are dissimilar, discordant, incompatible, and unrelated. The GNU remotecontrol interface is a web application. GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. A mobile application is “an application software designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.” The security model used in a mobile application is not the same security model used in a web application. Both models are software based, but they are nowhere near the same code design. We agree web application security is a concern, but hold the position web application security has a much lesser risk of compromise than mobile application security. This position could change in the future, but we do not see this change occurring in the foreseeable future.

Factorial Facts
The GNU remotecontrol team considered at the beginning of the software project, over a decade ago, the multiple interfaces required to achieve Demand Response with the Smart Grid using a smart thermostat. The rising interest to access a smart thermostat by a third party involving a cellular network introduces a security concern. The cellular network accessing the Smart Grid could advance any cyber attack. Consideration of factorial evaluation reveals there are many interfaces involved from the perspective of role-based access control.

A factorial calculation of a non-negative integer n denoted by n! is “the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n.” A dominant benefit of a factorial calculation is discovering how many arrangements, what we identify as relationships, exists within a distinct list of objects, items, or any other unique entity. Let’s consider a simple example of only the service providers involved with Demand Response.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider

n = 2

2! = 2 x 1 = 2

This example has two different relationships occurring simultaneously. Let’s now add in the Cellular Phone service provider. The number of relationships is more than doubled.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider
(1) Cellular Phone service provider

n = 3

3! = 3 x 2 x 1 = 6

This example has six different relationships occurring simultaneously. Each relationship must always be secure not to suffer nefarious activity to the smart thermostat. Let’s now consider the addition of the smart thermostat’s manufacturer accessing the thermostat.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider
(1) Cellular Phone service provider
(1) Smart Thermostat’s manufacturer

n = 4

4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24

This example has twenty-four different relationships occurring simultaneously. This amount is a staggering number to believe all relationships will operate without compromise. Finally, let’s add in an application installed on the mobile device to accomplish real-time communication with the smart thermostat owner leveraging Demand Response from the Electricity Utility.

(1) Electricity Utility provider
(1) Demand Response service provider
(1) Cellular Phone service provider
(1) Smart Thermostat’s manufacturer
(1) Demand Response software application

n = 5

5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120

This example has one hundred twenty different relationships occurring simultaneously. The different providers must work with a clear plan of operation to achieve their objective successfully. It is difficult to believe the Smart Grid today is ready for this operational complexity.

The articles sharing the Pentagon has only recently tasked RADICS to lead the protection effort against attack by a cyber attack, energy executives are pressing government agencies for more security clearance to fight cyber-related attacks on energy-related infrastructure, and United States lawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities collectively proves there is no widespread confidence the Smart Grid can defend against energy sector vulnerabilities. This conclusion is supported by the statement of defense officials, energy industry executives, and lawmakers. The Smart Grid today is not ready operationally for Demand Response involving real-time customer input to either accept or reject time-of-use pricing offers.

FIRMWARE

We shared in our March 2017 newsletter edition we have elevated our firmware work to a dedicated section in our newsletter. GNU remotecontrol shared in 2016 we have entered the firmware aspect of the smart thermostat. We now share publicly for the first time our specific plans to accomplish building our virtualized smart thermostat.

Our build plans are pretty simple. First, we select a kernel. Second, we select what applications we need to use in our firmware. Third, we add our original code for thermostat functionality to the kernel and applications. Finally, we build the kernel, applications, and our original code into a portable container, a hypervisor, for ease of usage. We have selected VirtualBox as our container for portability. We can easily scale multiple virtualized thermostats once our work is in a portable container. This approach should accelerate further development efforts, as obtaining the virtualized smart thermostat is much less effort than compiling the source code. We then refine our virtualized smart thermostat and develop our work to live on a circuit board within a smart thermostat. Our kernel consideration is down to two kernel options.

Option 1 – CoreOS
CoreOS has a feature-rich offering. We see much active development in the CoreOS project. We do not believe we will need all of the CoreOS source code to build our virtualized smart thermostat.

Option 2 – libreCMC
libreCMC also has a feature-rich offering. We do not see as much active development in the libreCMC project as we do in the CoreOS project. We are uncertain if we will need all of the libreCMC source code to build our virtualized smart thermostat.

We are struggling to reach a decision of which kernel to select. We may select both kernels if we have the developers to do the work. Comparing the strengths and weaknesses of CoreOS to the strengths and weaknesses of libreCMC has consumed much of our time and effort. Talk to us if you would like to participate in this new part of the GNU remotecontrol framework.

THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS

We shared in our March 2017 newsletter edition of our new section to both identify and discuss available Smart Thermostat options in consideration with internationally accepted technology standards. This section provides insight into each offering as new information becomes available. We add Ecobee this month to our list of smart thermostat device options.

Ecobee
The Ecobee product line is owned by Ecobee. Their API seems impressive initially, but a deeper review finds they only use an HTTP-based interface for accessing their thermostat device. They have an authorization token and PIN model for device authentication. They do offer https with their Authorization Code Authorization Strategy. Ecobee integrates with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Control4, Haiku Fans, IFTTT, Logitech Harmony, Samsung SmartThings, Vera, and Wink. Ecobee has external sensors connecting to their thermostat by an uncertain type of wireless connection.

A recent article claims the Ecobee offering is the best smart thermostat on the market today. This milestone takes Nest out of first place, a position Nest has held for just over the past five years. Ecobee is indeed the most feature-rich smart thermostat offering in the marketplace today.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: Yes
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Nest
No new findings.

Sensi
No new findings.

Carrier
No new findings.

Honeywell
No new findings.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted
.

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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 2017

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • FIRMWARE
  • THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
The United States Department of Energy has released the second installment of their Quadrennial Energy Review. The findings identify the need for seventy-six recommendations to better formulate a strategy for a national Smart Grid. An article finding more contention between wholesale and retail energy markets. An article describing the concern held by public utilities about transactive energy.

The oligopoly nature of an electricity provider, either wholesale or retail, is being changed to more of a perfect competition nature by transactive energy. The more change in any unit price, such as when energy is purchased and used, the less control the electricity provider has in their microeconomics relationship with their customer. The energy markets will need to learn how to succeed in this new role, as they have not historically participated in the microeconomics arena.

Smart Grid – Security
An article identifying hotel room HVAC thermostats are being controlled beyond room occupant preferences by hotel management. The Honeywell XL Web II Controller has been identified as having a vulnerability exposing a user password by accessing a specific URL. A report by the United States Department of Energy found the risk of cyber attack on the national electrical grid is high.

The journey to a national Smart Grid is not without arduous steps. Technology weaknesses are being exposed as are strategy flaws. The inability of an occupant to control room temperature is an example of how overreach can disable adoption of any leadership strategy.

New Technologies
An effort to develop a distributed sensor network powered by excess radio waves is close to completion. The sensors measure temperature and humidity levels in a dwelling. Feeding this data to an energy management strategy would substantially increase the effectiveness of an energy usage strategy.

A company providing a product to control the opening and closing of duct systems. Unfortunately, they use a proprietary radio frequency, has no API, and have no network security beyond a password. The concept is wonderful and would do well to not use proprietary and weak components in their product technology strategy.

FIRMWARE

We have elevated our firmware work to a dedicated section in our newsletter. GNU remotecontrol shared in 2016 we have entered the firmware aspect of the residential network connected HVAC thermostat (smart) thermostat. We are in the process of selecting a kernel distribution. We are down to two kernel candidates. An outcome of our firmware effort is answering the many questions about the existing firmware features in the thermostat devices available today. We address these questions in the following section.

THERMOSTAT DEVICE OPTIONS

We add a new section to our newsletter for 2017. The purpose of this section is to both identify and discuss available residential network connected HVAC (smart) thermostat options in consideration with internationally accepted technology standards. This section provides insight into each offering as new information becomes available.

The present market status is to force the thermostat owner to use a third-party to access their thermostat device. Device control and privacy are not clearly defined when a third-party is involved. The mandate to use a third-party to access the thermostat device provides no user rights for accessing their thermostat beyond what the third-party allows. Furthermore, no privacy rights are provided to the thermostat owner regarding either access to the thermostat device or the data generated by the device. Overriding third-party access restrictions for the thermostat owner is best accomplished by the thermostat manufacturer developing and releasing an Application Programming Interface (API) for the thermostat owner to access their thermostat device.

We identify five commonly asked questions about a thermostat device. There are three questions about the network connectivity to access a device, one question about API availability, and one question about the type of license provided by the technology owner. This list is not meant to be comprehensive.

Nest
The Nest product line has already been well-discussed in previous newsletters.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: Yes
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Sensi
Sensi is a technology protocol owned by Emerson Electronics. They licensed their technology to various electronics manufacturers. They are also working with Amazon for their Alexa product line to integrate with Sensi.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: No
API: No
License: Proprietary

Carrier
The Cor product line is owned by Carrier. Carrier formed a strategic relationship with Ecobee to use their API.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: No
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Honeywell
The Lyric product line is owned by Honeywell. The product is a member of their Smart Energy division. They have partnered with a data analytics firm to find energy usage patterns. They are also working with Amazon for their Echo product line to integrate with Lyric.

Wired Access: No
Wi-Fi Access: Yes
ZigBee Access: No
API: Yes
License: Proprietary

Conclusion
The resounding message from these thermostat device manufacturers is they are integrating their products with complementary technologies. This association causes a new relationship to exist between technology owner licensing and the thermostat device owner. Furthermore, the purchase today of a thermostat device does not mean the thermostat device will not be forced to interface with another technology in the future. This scenario occurred when Google purchased Nest. The absence of complete device control by the device owner has resulted in a confusing position for the home insurance industry to clearly understand and insure against risks. The electronics manufacturing industry presently does not want the owner of a thermostat device to have direct access to their thermostat device. Hopefully, this position will change when it is evident forcing a third-party to be involved is not producing enough satisfaction on the part of those either manufacturing or purchasing these thermostat devices, and when the technology owners are willing to end their insistence to use a proprietary technology license.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted
.

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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 – December 2016

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
Google Home is expected to overtake Amazon’s Smart Echo by 2020. A review of Google Home found almost as many positive features as negative. The expected United Kingdom release date for the offering is November 2016. An article recently asserted the need for high-speed Internet to accomplish integrating the Smart Grid, as Smart Grid development lags behind in rural areas. The FERC said they, “are taking a more “open” avenue instead of a piecemeal approach” for deciding market power matters regarding the buying and selling of electricity. Nest is operating a field test of fifty-thousand thermostats running concurrently. Austin, Texas now requires Smart Thermostats in all new home construction. The requirement does not clearly distinguish homeowner rights. Note the language contained in the ordinance on page four, section C403.2.18 and page five, section C405.2.6. The text of this ordinance passes all security responsibility to the OpenADR protocol.

The race to bring the residential premises into the Smart Grid is accelerating. The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a developing technology standard for enabling simple devices to communicate with the Internet. It is likely CoAP will intersect with existing security protocols soon. It is unclear how security will be handled by CoAP. The opportunity cost to build the Smart Grid without clearly defined technology standards embracing adequate network security is a high price for any nation to pay. The cost is the expense of the residential premises. A single security incident would vacate much forward momentum of Smart Grid integration. The Austin mandate to not only require residential construction to allow access into the home by the electrical utility but also mandate control is clear evidence of how much force is being applied to bring the residential premises into the Smart Grid.

Smart Grid – Security
A vulnerability existing for over a decade in OpenSSH has led to today’s Internet of Things devices being used in targeted attacks. The reason is the devices are not being updated with the latest version of software. A recent study of taking the residential premises connected to the Smart Grid and using it as a weapon to harm the Internet was presented. The findings show bringing the Internet to a slower transfer rate is not only possible but has occurred.

The connectivity of a device to the Internet is neither good nor bad. It is a risk which must be managed. The risk is soon to be regulated by more examples of the Austin requirements, as previously stated.

DISCUSSIONS

Firmware
GNU remotecontrol shared earlier this year we have entered the firmware aspect of the residential network connected HVAC thermostat (smart) thermostat. We are in the process of selecting a kernel distribution. The research is going slow, but the work is progressing. An outcome of our efforts so far has highlighted the need to structure the many inquiries and discussions about establishing strategic partnerships with GNU remotecontrol and the need to also establish technology alliances.

Partnerships and Alliances
GNU remotecontrol is at the point of leveraging for-profit organizations to establish both strategic partnerships and technology alliances. The discussions have shown us there are two barriers to the economic side of our growth plan as a software project. First, the financial versus technological relationship. Second, the small amount of system thinking on the part of our applicants. The findings clearly demonstrate the inability to achieve conceptual thinking by establishing productive agreements.

The goal of a for-profit organization to prioritize the financial aspect of the relationship is fair but suffers the ability to come to an agreement when the financial aspect is the dominant factor in the negotiations. The goal of not wanting to be a part of system thinking is not fair, as the software project is a system. The insufficient amount of conceptual thinking on the part of many applicants seeking to form either a partnership or an alliance with GNU remotecontrol requires us to refine our application process further. GNU remotecontrol must gain a more concise understanding during early discussions of applicant’s goals and objectives in their desire to form either a partnership or an alliance with GNU remotecontrol. This understanding will help reduce our time spent in discussions with applicants who are not a productive match for the software project.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted

https://savannah.gnu.org/people/?group=remotecontrol

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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 – September 2016

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy announced their latest report the United States has moved from thirteen to eight in global positioning regarding efficiency rankings over the past two years. A product review reported Schneider Electric’s Wiser Air thermostat has gained energy consumption analysis improvements. Nest has simplified accessing time-of-use electric plans. An article shared numerous complaints have been filed by states accomplishing energy efficiency policies juxtaposed against the federal position on wholesale energy authority. A study finding smart thermostat revenue is expected to quadruple in the next ten years. An article finding the smart home will take longer to mature due to, “a lack of standardisation (sic) means that gadgets from different firms cannot communicate with each other.” A case study of setting an office ambient temperature for the occupants to find comfort. An article finding utility stocks are more financially dangerous than they appear.

The money to fund both the smart grid and the smart home is clearly turning over at faster money velocity with each passing month. The associated products and services for sale are more prevalent with each day, too. The unwillingness to either define a comprehensive standard or adhere to an agreed upon standards set is stupefying this market sector and subsequently the energy industry. The reason is mostly from the unwillingness to bear the risk involved with interoperability. This unwillingness suffers the ability to establish a system. There are isolated pieces of success but nothing close to a smart grid or a smart system running a home.

Smart Grid – Security

EE Times reported the JupiterMesh project is growing in capabilities. Oddly, JupiterMesh reports it is based on, “IEEE 802.15.4e/g media access control and physical layers” and supports, “IETF security protocols such as PANA, EAP-TLS and HIP-DEX for network access authentication and key distribution, and AES-128-CCM-based message authentication and encryption” but does not explain how they accomplish providing security to the network and transport layers. The ZigBee position is they are not responsible for these later layers. The absence of layer-to-layer security is a critical design flaw in this technology model.

An article reporting the United States Department of Energy has spent thirty-four million USD for improved information technology security associated with the national electrical grid while the FERC has requested comments regarding a new set of technologies standards. A recently released book explains how to infiltrate many technologies related to the Internet of Things concept.

Clearly, those involved with the security aspect of the smart grid are the most popular in this market segment. The ability to access smart grid technologies is so concise a book has been written and commercially published instructing how to violate these technologies. The existing grid cannot be protected fast enough while more technologies are implemented to make the grid more intelligent. The result is less security of the existing national electrical grid.

DISCUSSIONS

FIRMWARE
GNU remotecontrol shared earlier this year we have entered the firmware aspect of the residential network connected HVAC thermostat (smart) thermostat. We are in the process of establishing strategic partnerships to further this effort of the software project. The discussions are going well. Stay tuned for more information.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted

https://savannah.gnu.org/people/?group=remotecontrol

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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 2016

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
An article reporting Opower is financially declining, the press release Oracle purchased Opower, and the statement Opower reads sixty million utility end customers. A press release announcing Johnson Controls has sold their integrated demand response business unit. A white paper offering utilities a five-step blueprint to successfully managing distributed resources. An article to identity who remains in the next generation energy distribution industry. An article considering the financial merit of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. An announcement Weather Bug has launched a residential energy efficiency program along with an optional offering to normalize data.

GNU remotecontrol has stopped tracking the number of Smart Grid projects launched in the past six months. The numbers are staggering to consider. The industry experiencing a large number of mergers and acquisitions, along with considerable financial expenditure in the past decade, provide abundant evidence many financial currencies are moving at a rapid velocity in the energy distribution and efficiency segments. Substantial electronics supplier shifts and security compromises are also occurring.

Nest
We devote a section of focused communication in this newsletter edition regarding Nest Labs by considering their organizational structure. Nest announced they have over fifty business partners provided valued-added offerings to residential customers. Greg Duffy accused Tony Fadell of “insulting” Dropcam employees who had joined Nest as part of the takeover. An article considered if Nest is going to survive in light of their organizational strategy. The announcement Fadell has resigned came with both scrutiny and concern.

The electronics industry designs and manufactures HVAC thermostats. The absence of an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat prohibits interoperability across technology implementations. Our June 2014 edition addressed Dynamic Demand Response. We have repeatedly addressed the need to develop an internationally accepted technology standard for the residential network connected HVAC thermostat. If the dominant player in the residential network connected HVAC thermostat arena cannot successfully operate their organization, then the market will experience a new dominant player. The resulting market shifts will ripple into waves.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article reporting 2007 and 2015 residential power sales accounted for 37.7% of all retail electricity sales with a 1.1% sales decrease in 2015. An article identifying massive strides accomplished by Singapore for establishing a Smart City. Both the UK and Australia have launched new Smart Grid efforts.

Smart Grid – Producer
The International Trade Associations 2016 Smart Grid Top Markets report ranks thirty-four international markets in terms of growth potential for the United States Smart Grid industry. The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a consolidated case examining state incentives to construct new power plants and whether those incentives would distort federal power markets under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee. This case does not seem to redefine the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee but could based upon the case ruling.

Smart Grid – Security
The documented events of a team compromising electrical grid security with a video overview. The Energy Systems Integration group presented insecure field devices on the Smart Grid involving risks, damage potential, and practical solutions by using the Ukraine and Crimea security compromises as an example. The United States Congress held hearings on Smart Grid security to understand the US position in light of the Ukraine and Crimea events. The hearings have determined the utility industry members saying it is a matter of several hours to a few days to resolve the type of attack experienced by Ukraine and Crimea. The same hearings found the information technology industry members saying it is a matter of several days to a few weeks to resolve the type of attack experienced by Ukraine and Crimea. The differences between hours, days, and weeks show the utility and information technology industries are not in agreement.

DISCUSSIONS

RELEASED
GNU remotecontrol version 2.0 is released. Announcements were made by both email and news postings. The user manual explains the many improvements and new features. We identified in the March 2016 newsletter edition the next steps for the software project. The combined legislative, court, and market events leave no doubt the desire for interconnection of residential HVAC thermostats will become commonplace.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted

https://savannah.gnu.org/people/?group=remotecontrol

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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 2016

THIS MONTH…..

  • TRENDS
  • EYE CATCHING
  • DISCUSSIONS
  • WORK PACKAGE PHASES
  • PROJECT NEEDS
  • EXISTING CODE
  • LASTLY
TRENDS

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past

December January Trend % Change
$0.133 $0.134 Increase 0.75%

 

Year January Trend % Change % Since Difference
2006 $0.108 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2007 $0.113 Increase 4.63% 4.63% 4.63%
2008 $0.116 Increase 2.65% 7.41% 2.78%
2009 $0.126 Increase 8.62% 16.67% 9.26%
2010 $0.124 Decrease -1.59% 14.81% -1.85%
2011 $0.125 Increase 0.81% 15.74% 0.93%
2012 $0.128 Increase 2.40% 18.52% 2.78%
2013 $0.129 Increase 0.78% 19.44% 0.93%
2014 $0.134 Increase 3.88% 24.07% 4.63%
2015 $0.138 Increase 2.99% 27.78% 3.70%
2016 $0.134 Decrease -2.90% 24.07% -3.70%

 

EYE CATCHING

Demand Response
An announcement from OpenADR of their program guide, providing templates for the most common DR programs. A survey finding energy efficiency is the most preferred new revenue stream for energy distribution providers. The United States Supreme court ruled in favor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on 25 January 2016. This ruling came at the surprise of many, who expected the ruling to be issued June 2016. A commentary identified the ruling does not mean the end of all tensions between state and federal regulations. States may still be able to prohibit or limit participation in demand response markets. The FERC quickly issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on possible rule changes addressing the provision of primary frequency response service and compensation for those providing the service.

The United States has entered unknown waters to balance supply and demand of energy markets by mixing wholesale and retail markets under a single price regulation structure. It is unclear if the FERC ruling will provide faster adoption of DR, as the Supreme Court has ruled FERC has statute authority to implement nationalized DR efforts, or if the markets will stall to limit financial risk exposure from the unclear impact of this ruling. What is clear is the federal government has authoritatively moved to implement nationalized DR and the United States will have a Smart Grid, whether the people or the markets want the Smart Grid.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article sharing the Nest thermostat suffered a firmware deficiency which emptied the charge in the thermostat device batteries, deactivating the device. The problem was suffered in the UK where pipes were likely to freeze and burst. Another article shared users abandoned their Nest thermostat device due to a loss of confidence. An article describing the Schneider Electric release of their first wireless networked enabled thermostat device. An article Nest is ending their MyEnergy service, acquired in May 2013, informing users they must now get the same data from their energy provider.

The United States moving to implement nationalized DR will help sell more smart thermostats and help DR service providers sell more of their services. The lack of standardization for the network connected HVAC thermostat device means more products will most likely have performance problems, simply by having less eyes evaluate the hardware and software running these devices, as the manufacturers have proprietary technology. A manufacturer ending a service to further usage of a network connected device is not necessarily bad, as the manufacturer is not bound to offer the service forever. The message the device owner will now need to get this information from their energy provider is more evidence nationalized DR is coming sooner than later, as the Supreme Court just rapidly accelerated the implementation effort.

DISCUSSIONS

FINISHED
GNU remotecontrol version 2.0 is finished. We spent time after the holidays up to now developing a few last features and polishing the user interface. We have completed the documentation. Our team is doing the last read on the documentation, to see if we missed anything. We will package and announce release of the new version only by project news and email.

NEXT
We have received contact from people in fifty-six different countries about GNU remotecontrol. We are excited to have such an interest in the project. We focus our excitement to further develop our skills and increase our work output. The accomplishment of getting version 2.0 structured as Model-View-Controller enables us to now work on requests we have not yet accomplished. Scanning the horizon of what we can do in comparison to what we have been asked to do is always entertaining. The list of work we could do next is:

We know satisfactorily meeting the bulk of requests put to us requires addressing the obvious need to improve the firmware on the thermostat device. The market does not have a solid firmware offering, but a collection of ideas here and there across multiple electronics manufacturers. Standardization of the thermostat device would promote adoption of the network connected thermostat device. Therefore, GNU remotecontrol has begun to build firmware for the network connected HVAC thermostat device.

FIRMWARE
The GNU remotecontrol team has discussed since early 2014 the need to improve the firmware operating the thermostat device. It is doubtful any market will grow until standardization occurs and enables manufacturers to produce their product offerings with increased cost effectiveness by leveraging product interoperability. This scenario occurred when Ethernet was adopted in the early 1990s, rapidly accelerating user ability to use the Internet. We expect the network connected HVAC thermostat device will one day be standardized in the electronics industry through an internationally accepted technology standard. GNU remotecontrol is contributing to the arrival of this day by developing firmware for the thermostat device. Stay tuned for more information.

WORK PACKAGE PHASES

GNU remotecontrol accomplishes productive work output through structured work packages. This approach helps to organize our efforts and keep things on track to achieve publishing our work. We have ten different phases for our work packages.

GNU remotecontrol Work Package Phases

Order Label Name
1 REQ Requirements
2 DSG Design
3 DEV Development
4 UNT Unit Testing
5 SYS System Testing
6 UAT User Acceptance Testing
7 DOC Documentation
8 RLS Release
9 TRN Training
10 SPT Support

The GNU remotecontrol team does not perform any work output outside of structured work packages.

PROJECT NEEDS

Staffing
GNU remotecontrol Project Help Wanted

https://savannah.gnu.org/people/?group=remotecontrol

New 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.

EXISTING CODE

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.

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 – October 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

 

July August Trend % Change
$0.142 $0.142 Same 0.00%

 

Year August Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.105 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.118 Increase 12.38% 12.38% 12.38%
2007 $0.121 Increase 2.54% 15.24% 2.86%
2008 $0.132 Increase 9.09% 25.71% 10.48%
2009 $0.130 Decrease -1.52% 23.81% -1.90%
2010 $0.133 Increase 2.31% 26.67% 2.86%
2011 $0.135 Increase 1.50% 28.57% 1.90%
2012 $0.133 Decrease -1.48% 26.67% -1.90%
2013 $0.137 Increase 3.01% 30.48% 3.81%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 36.19% 5.71%
2015 $0.142 Decrease -0.70% 35.24% -0.95%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London_Night

London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
Accenture and Siemens announced a large effort, a joint venture called OMNETRIC Group, focused on the Smart Grid. They are starting in Brazil and expect to grow throughout Latin America. Schneider Electric and IPKeys Technologies announced a smaller effort, a partnership to monitor energy performance in near real-time, track energy savings, and actively participate in automated Demand Response events. A recent report provides insight to the $3.45B USD in spending on Smart Grid efforts since 2009. Another report shows Asia is growing in Demand Response at a much faster rate than the United States. The 2nd Demand Response World Forum has considerably grown in scope since last year. The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments 14 October 2015 to decide who has the authority to regulate Demand Response in the United States.

The market growth and pending court decision for Demand Response indicate the quickly growth trend to achieve Demand Response, at least in the United States. It is unlikely the court will defer a ruling in need of more information. The court ruling will either give the authority to the Federal or State level. Industries and market sectors will quickly move to align with this pending ruling.

Smart Grid – Consumer
An article provides an example of how to deploy residential energy efficiency in the market of today. The example found the ability to achieve a 28% reduction in annual energy consumption. Comcast has partnered with Crius Energy to provide energy efficiency strategies for the residential HVAC thermostat. Emerson has released their Sensi Wi-Fi enabled residential HVAC thermostat.

The majority of the network connected residential HVAC thermostats do not provide the device owner any ability to directly access their own device, their own property. The thermostat device connects through the Internet to the device manufacturer and the device owner connects to the manufacturer through the Internet. This is fine, until the day comes when the manufacturer is out of business. Additionally, there is no standardization in connecting to the device. Each manufacturer has their own proprietary technology combination. The market trend is to sell the lowest priced thermostat device by means of an energy efficiency strategy, then try to connect the device to the growing Demand Response trend. This combination means the device owner has their information provided to the utility partnering with the device manufacturer to achieve any Demand Response effort. No data privacy rights are provided to the device owner.

Smart Grid – Producer
The United States Department of Energy released more Quadrennial Technology Review information. The report shows rapid change in the structuring of energy production and consumption. IEEE Smart Grid introduced a Smart Grid Framework. They have an idea to establish Smart Grid Domains and Sub-Domains. This framework will assist in accomplishing their Transactive Control idea.

The United States and IEEE are rapidly seeking to update the national electrical grid with automation. The standards and frameworks abound, to enable public utilities to mature and join the Smart Grid. There is little discussion of data privacy for the residential customer. The pending Supreme Court decision for Demand Response will most likely contain the only data privacy rights the residential customer will receive for a long, long time.

Smart Grid – Security
Nest has released their Weave communication protocol to the general public. The Nest effort is a direct challenge to the Apple HomeKit. Nest Weave works with Wi-Fi and the ZigBee interpretation from the Thread Group. Apple HomeKit works with both Wi-Fi and ZigBee. It is unclear who will have the final responsibility for security. GNU remotecontrol has voiced much concern about ZigBee.

It does seem strange no network connected residential HVAC thermostat device manufacturer can develop an end-to-end security strategy. If they can, then they are unwilling to present such a strategy. Determining liability in the event of a security compromise will be difficult, if not impossible, for those suffering from the security compromise.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in TESTING stage.
  • We are approximately 40% finished with TESTING.
  • We are testing with both Apache and Nginx.
  • More work on the items addressed in the September 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

THE GLOBAL NOBLE
We speak with people all over the world about energy efficiency. We are constantly amazed at how cold climate cultures have little to no idea about air conditioning, while warm climate cultures have little to no idea about heating. They both care about ventilation and relative humidity. The help received by the GNU remotecontrol project is also amazing. We calculated the total contribution of labor in the millions of USD. This is not unique to a software project. All the same, we take this opportunity to acknowledge the many contributions from well over a hundred people who have helped GNU remotecontrol arrive at this point. We expect to release our latest work by the end of 2015. It is taking longer than we expected, but it will be well worth the wait. All of the reviewers who have seen the work are quite pleased with the changes since version 1.1. We have every reason to expect the general public will be similarly pleased.

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

SMART HOME RISKS
A recent article explained how the Internet of Things is bringing substantial risk to the homeowner of today. The article does not excite fear mongering, but it does clearly explain how easy it is to access a home using poorly secured Smart Home technologies.

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 – September 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

 

June July Trend % Change
$0.143 $0.142 Decrease -0.70%

 

Year July Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.105 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.118 Increase 12.38% 12.38% 12.38%
2007 $0.122 Increase 3.39% 16.19% 3.81%
2008 $0.131 Increase 7.38% 24.76% 8.57%
2009 $0.131 Same 0.00% 24.76% 0.00%
2010 $0.133 Increase 1.53% 26.67% 1.90%
2011 $0.135 Increase 1.50% 28.57% 1.90%
2012 $0.133 Decrease -1.48% 26.67% -1.90%
2013 $0.137 Increase 3.01% 30.48% 3.81%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 36.19% 5.71%
2015 $0.142 Decrease -0.70% 35.24% -0.95%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London_Night

London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
A new technology standard has been produced by ASHRAE and NEMA. An article explains the term facility has been redefined by ASHRAE within this standard to broadly encompass residential, multi-residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings. This is paramount, as ASHRAE historically defines standards based upon the facility type. Another article emphasizes the ASHRAE logic to design the standard. Oddly, no interest is present to have information technology contribute to their standard. This is seen by an absence of any information technology references for adherence to other standards contained in their new standard. The standard is available for public review, at a behemoth 1,077 pages.

The absence of directly matching to existing technology standards for a comprehensive security model, in combination with the lengthy page count, means there is little potential this new standard will gain widespread traction. The standard will most likely be accepted by BACnet, the endorsed ASHRAE technology option. However, BACnet has no security model. A Financial Officer attempting to achieve a Cost Benefit Analysis for implementing this new technology standard will have their work cut out for them, as they must account for the cost of security when neither ASHRAE, BACnet, nor NEMA can provide them formulated guidance.

Smart Grid – Consumer
Nest has released the 3rd version of their thermostat device. An article reviews the new device. Another article finds shortcomings with the device. Nest states, “the Nest Learning Thermostat is on millions of walls in millions of homes around the world.” This statement is inexact, as their publicly stated position has their offering is only available in 7 countries. “If you choose to use Nest products outside the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Ireland, or the Netherlands, you do so on your own initiative, and you are solely responsible for complying with applicable local laws in your country. To the extent permissible by law, Nest accepts no responsibility or liability for any damage or loss caused by use of Nest products in countries other than those listed above.”

The first cited article speaks of increasing competition in this market space. A recent study does find considerable competition in this space, with Honeywell and Nest scoring highest in ranking of Smart Thermostat vendors. A separate study finds Opower and Nest lead the Home Energy Management vendors market segment.

The evidence is clear. The consumer market increasingly wants a network enabled HVAC thermostat device in their residential premises. Nest is the leading thermostat device and energy management option, by far. It does seem odd the leader in this space does not have more to offer for energy management analysis and only has limited adoption by public utilities for testing viability. It seems the public utilities are not ready to use a third party to achieve consumer (residential) level Demand Response.

If this is the case, then the unwillingness of the public utility means Nest will never have widespread adoption, particularly for utility endorsed Demand Response. This means there is no offering for time-of-use pricing. The clearest message is the public utility must have more trust in any technology option compared to what they presently have in someone like either Nest or Honeywell. It is doubtful a public utility will ever find such trust. An entity such as Honeywell or Nest would have to become responsible for public infrastructure and the definition of a public utility would have to also change. This is highly unlikely. The public utility would do best to bring this responsibility in their house and under their control by using a freely available software offering to achieve large-scale network connected HVAC thermostat management.

Smart Grid – Producer
Japan has returned to using nuclear as a source of electricity. This return has not come without contention. The Japanese position is stated as one of recovery, meaning they cannot continue without nuclear as a source of electricity for their country either today or the foreseeable future. The years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster mean nothing in view of inadequate supply and rising demand for consumption. The message is clear; demand will win in any competition to determine acceptable supply options. The simpler option to increasing supply is to use efficiency to lower total demand.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in TESTING stage.
  • We are approximately 35% finished with TESTING.
  • The code is operating much faster now compared to version 1.1.
  • The user experience is enriched by an expanded set of capabilities in the user interface.

 

  • 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 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

DEVELOPMENT IS DONE!
We are pleased to announce development of GNU remotecontrol version 2.0 is complete. This milestone is no small task. We spent months considering what we have with the goal of coding to Model-View-Controller. We discussed, at length, what needs changing and how those changes need to occur. The code operates much faster compared to version 1.1 and has more features. The user experience is enriched by an expanded set of capabilities in the user interface.

We have arrived at a point of both satisfaction and surprise. Satisfaction with the work accomplished, while surprised at the results. We see small changes to the user interface with large changes to the code running the user interface. The overall look and feel is similar, but there are significant changes to the flow of using the user interface. We are now much better positioned to accomplish far-reaching unattended sever side automation. The effort to code for Model-View-Controller has paid off. We now have more capabilities with less effort to deliver those capabilities. More to come, stay tuned!

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

THE MISSING SECTION
A report detailing the structure and size of the home area network (HAN) market does not address the key question of comprehensive security. The report is valuable to understand the market players, but does not identify how to safely implement HAN technologies through a trusted or untrusted network. The assumption is this is covered by a vendor, but this assumption is not clearly stated.

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 – August 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

 

May June Trend % Change
$0.137 $0.143 Increase 4.38%

 

Year June Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.104 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.118 Increase 13.46% 13.46% 13.46%
2007 $0.122 Increase 3.39% 17.31% 3.85%
2008 $0.128 Increase 4.92% 23.08% 5.77%
2009 $0.132 Increase 3.13% 26.92% 3.85%
2010 $0.132 Same 0.00% 26.92% 0.00%
2011 $0.134 Increase 1.52% 28.85% 1.92%
2012 $0.135 Increase 0.75% 29.81% 0.96%
2013 $0.137 Increase 1.48% 31.73% 1.92%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 37.50% 5.77%
2015 $0.143 Same 0.00% 37.50% 0.00%

 

United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past

London_Night

London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
The push to determine authority for the topic of Demand Response seldom has a boring moment. An article describing the legal briefs to establish Demand Response authority demonstrate the intense desire to capture this segment of the up and coming Smart Grid. A commentary on the Demand Response topic found there is little chance of Demand Response not occurring with an established Smart Grid. California has recently approved a significant rate structure reform plan for residential electricity cost, centering around the time of use policy for achieving Demand Response. An analysis of commercial property using Demand Response found the necessity to earn a tax credit is in the automation aspect of Demand Response. AVEVA entered a sale of assets to Schneider Electric, for automating industrial efforts to help design and operate engineering projects. This move is clearly positioning Schneider to accomplish Demand Response for managing energy production in relationship to time of use pricing for any energy customer.

There is no doubt the insistence to have FERC Order 745 approved by the Supreme Court as valid authority has the attention of all involved in the Smart Grid. The suitable pursuit of an organization positioning their connection to the Smart Grid is led by both participation cost and data privacy. The latter is more likely the determining factor in participation cost, as data privacy involves both security against and liability for suffering a data breech. The struggle to define valid authority is a clear indication the future of the Smart Grid will have Demand Response not only as a part of the Smart Grid but most likely a mandate of the next generation national electrical grid.

Smart Grid – Consumer
A recent article found nearly half of the network enabled HVAC thermostats sold are connected two-way thermostats, opening up many options for utilities. Even some telecommunication companies are selling network connected HVAC thermostats as a package to help sell other offerings. The dominant player in this space is undoubtedly Nest. Nest is not sold on a global basis, but in about a half-dozen countries. This small footprint means the network enabled HVAC thermostat is not a globally needed technology in the global market of today. A segment of the global market clearly wants network connected technologies, but assembling them in a wise manner is a bit of a challenge. A recent article found technologies can assist to operate a home but do not necessarily make life easier. The recent Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study found ongoing communication efforts and increased price satisfaction are key drivers behind the third consecutive year of improved overall customer satisfaction with residential electric utility companies.

The electricity of today does not contain any more or less efficiency characteristics compared to the electricity of yesterday. The progressively increasing cost of electricity is more than a rise in a regional cost of living. It is a rise in the cost to produce electricity and prepare to join the Smart Grid. It is highly unlikely any electricity customer will continue to pay more for the same offering and not receive some type of additional benefit. The offering of additional information to the customer, relevant to their purchasing of electricity, is a cost effective choice for the electricity producer. Defining and delivering this information seems to be the public debate now, but without the interest to actually supply the information due to lack of technologies to know and explain electricity consumption. It is a circular debate.

Smart Grid – Producer
A cellular service company has adopted the mindset of smart-grid-as-a-service as a cloud-hosted platform meant to connect Smart Metering, Demand Response, Meter Data Management, and Distribution Monitoring and Control under as single provider. The privacy of customer data is a concern with this offering. The Wi-SUN Alliance announced collaboration with India and their effort to upgrade their national electrical grid within a decade. The Wi-SUN Alliance seeks to advance seamless connectivity by promoting IEEE 802.15.4g, otherwise known as ZigBee. GNU remotecontrol has voiced concern about ZigBee and maintains this position. Nest also uses ZigBee, as do most Smart Meters. However, having ZigBee on the device does not necessarily mean ZigBee is enabled. The problem is knowing if and when ZigBee was enabled on a device. This is the crux of the concern with ZigBee, followed by their poor security model. An article by Harvard Business Review brings the matter into focus. The world has much more heat being contributed by computing technologies. This invariably means heat will cause the need for cooling of the computers. The article offers what is called a framework for revenue resilience, providing protection against volatility in energy demand.

Regardless the ability to dissipate the heat, the cost to dissipate the increased amount of heat means an impact to organizational revenue streams. Cost of either a wired or wireless connection must be measured by the total cost of ownership, to determine the lifecycle costs. Participation in the Smart Grid can occur in many forms, both small and large. It is a wiser choice to not join the Smart Grid until the total cost of ownership is calculated, including a suitable end-to-end security plan.

ANNUAL PLAN

Status of our 2015 Plan

ModelViewController

  • We are in development stage.
  • We are approximately 85% 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

DEEP IN DEVELOPMENT
Our primary goal now is to deliver version 2.0 of GNU remotecontrol. All effort as of late is centered around this goal.

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

BUSINESS BLACKOUT
A report into the insurance implications of a wide-scale cyber-attack on the US energy sector reveals just how costly the breach would be for government and insurers. A Stuxnet-style attack on US Smart Grid could cost $1 trillion USD to repair. The need to upgrade the national electrical grid is clear. The speed to accomplish this upgrade seems to be happening too slow, as an upgraded national electrical grid would not only be more resilient against attack but it would also most likely suffer a lesser impact of the attack. The FERC is considering how to address new cyber threats in updated reliability standards. However, they seem to be quite behind in providing any form of viable assistance either today or in the near future.

Selecting appropriate technology standards is a paramount decision for successfully joining the Smart Grid. Perhaps the most important characteristic of an appropriate technology standard is the security model for each standard implemented for any interface with the Smart Grid. It is a wiser choice to not join the Smart Grid until end-to-end security is established for any organization participating with the 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

%d bloggers like this: