Newsletter – April 2013

THIS MONTH…..
-TRENDS
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-SECURITY
-LASTLY

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

  • PG&E has early results, showing their customers like to control their thermostats with their smart phones. These results come from researching how utilities are embracing smart thermostats to help manage energy grids.
  • Sprint is expected to reduce their retail energy costs by 15 percent, a $1.5 million annual savings, with an 18-month payback on the program.
  • There are, clearly, several thermostat options available for single user scenarios. What is not in place, at the Power Distribution Provider level, is a way for those thermostats to be managed, en mass.
  • The GNU remotecontrol development team is now working on our first large scale deployment. We hope our Thermostat API Emulator will demonstrate that the GNU remotecontrol can withstand the network and system demands of large scale deployments, and do it without the cost and restrictions of proprietary licensing.

OPEN GEOSPATIAL CONSORTIUM
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international industry consortium participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards. OGC Standards support interoperable solutions that enable the Web, wireless, location-based services, and mainstream IT. The standards empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful for all kinds of applications. OGC has a desire to get their project running with equipment inside buildings. An example of this usage is when indoor temperature and humidity sensors are moved, but that move was not widely communicated to the rest of the energy management team. Sensor location very much matters when reviewing captured data. GNU remotecontrol will observe this emerging standard from afar, to see if we need to support any communication standard they come up with.

SMART ENERGY PROFILE
The Consortium for Smart Energy Profile Interoperability has developed the Smart Energy Profile (SEP) 2. This is a forthcoming standard for applications that enable home energy management via wired and wireless devices that support Internet Protocol. The founding members HomePlug Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance and ZigBee Alliance continue to clear a path to SEP 2 interoperability for consumer benefits in the smart grid market. GNU remotecontrol will observe this emerging standard from afar, to see if we need to support any communication standard they come up with.

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

SECURITY ENHANCED LINUX
We reviewed, in 2009, what it would take to get our application running under SELinux. We have a good understanding of what those requirements are, and have interest in completing this effort. We realize being able to operate in the Smart Grid requires that we demonstrate our security capabilities. We expect having this enhanced security configuration integrated with the core GNU remotecontrol implementation will aid adoption in the United States. SELinux is the best option we have found to demonstrate our security capabilities. The Nagios part of our framework already works under SELinux.

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

BUG FIXES
We recently resolved 2 bugs. Please review and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

-SECURITY
The stuff you REALLY want to consider…..

SCADA RESEARCH REPORT
Leyden reports on research from Trend Micro. The article shares how simple SCADA security oversights can disrupt entire systems. It is not worth suffering a compromise of your systems due to not implementing simple security measures. Talk to us if you would like further information on addressing HVAC security concerns.

-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!

Newsletter – March 2013

THIS MONTH…..
-DISCUSSIONS
-EXISTING CODE
-NEW CODE
-LASTLY

-DISCUSSIONS
The stuff we are talking about now…..

DEMAND RESPONSE
Many discussions about Demand Response have been taking place recently. Check the February 2013 Blog paragraph on this topic, for more detail. Here is a pretty good video explaining more about Demand Response. We found the National Grid encourages energy efficiency with a new Smart Grid Pilot. We are thinking of starting development in this direction, by setting up an Open ADR server and polish GNU remotecontrol to be able to receive and respond to Demand Response messages. This will more accurately inform your electricity and/or fuel provider of your future energy demand expectation. We are thinking of basing this on historical/seasonal consumption data trends, but with the ability to override manually with a different profile. The benefit is to help you get better pricing, if you reduce your consumption of electricity and/or fuel from your provider, at times of peak energy demand. It will also help you with your Operation and Maintenance efforts, by helping to monitor your energy consumption relevant to your usage of your assets.

POWERLINE COMMUNICATION
This is still in the works. Check the February 2013 Blog paragraph on this topic, for more detail. Good discussions occurring, but things are not clear yet on the type and amount of demand for this technology from the Power Distribution industry and what GNU remotecontrol needs to do about providing capability for using the technology.

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

SECURITY
Strong security protocols are priceless, period. Security considerations remain at the forefront of managing an HVAC system, given the Stuxnet headlines in the news not so long ago. Is it time to hire HVAC Security? Most likely, if you are looking at GNU remotecontrol or remotely accessed thermostats, it is that time. Siemens came out rather quickly with a posting for Building a Cyber Secure Plant, following the Stuxnet outbreak. There is a growing urgency to protect the Electrical Grid, before a large scale attack occurs. The reality is that threat has been here for decades. Talk to us if you would like further information on addressing HVAC security concerns.

-NEW CODE
The stuff we are working on now…..

THERMOSTAT API EMULATOR
We are scaling up GNU remotecontrol to furnish the capability for a POWER DISTRIBUTION PROVIDER to service their customers. We are building an IP enabled thermostat emulator, to facilitate understanding of how this can be achieved from the END-USER perspective and test the robustness and resilience of our software. This technology capability means several HUNDRED-THOUSAND messages going to several HUNDRED-THOUSAND IP enabled thermostats, all at once. It also means you DO NOT have to purchase, install, or modify any IP enabled thermostats to start using or testing GNU remotecontrol. Talk to us if you are interested in running in GNU remotecontrol in large deployments.

ASSET MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
This is still in the works. Check the February 2013 Blog paragraph on this topic, for more detail. Talk to us if you want us to pursue developing this code sooner than later. We will most likely build it at some point in the future. It is a matter of how important it is to the folks using GNU remotecontrol right now.

-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!

%d bloggers like this: