About Toby Considine
Scheduling, building systems, electric vehicles, and the smart
grid--coordinating time, space, and energy--are the basis for the third
industrial revolution. Toby Considine works with numerous groups to define
and explore how the internet of things will meet the internet of people and
Through his company TC9, Inc., Toby Considine advises building owners and
engineering companies on business strategies for enterprise-responsive
buildings. He participates in several industry-led international groups
defining the interactions between the enterprise, capital assets, building
systems, and the power grid. His work is based upon decades of experience in
IT infrastructure as well as in maintenance management and building
operations. In 2009, Mr. Considine was a sub-contractor on national projects
to define the NIST Smart Grid roadmap and to oversee its development.
TC9 also works with early stage ventures in smart energy and smart systems,
particularly those that will operate at the borders of e-commerce, energy,
the internet of people and the internet of things. Mr Considine is also a
leader in several national standards efforts in buildings and energy,
including oBIX, EMIX, and Energy Interoperation. You can find out more a
bout working with TC9 at www.tcnine.com
You can read Toby’s blog at
- From the Clouds to the Fog
New options in computing and small-scale intelligence introduce patchy
fog and mist (or just fog) into the technical conversation.
- Principals of Transactive Energy Building toward Transactive Microgrids Everywhere
- Higher Service Autonomy and the New IoT What would you do with a building service that can
tell your system that the building occupants are angry, or happy, or
- Looking Ahead, Looking Behind
Recently, Ken Sinclair suggested I reach back to some earlier columns
that are newly relevant for the Internet of Things (IoT). The buzz
around IoT is now white hot. This has attracted a host of fresh
- Eight Agents for Energy
The descriptions below refer to electric power for clarity and brevity.
The agent behaviors apply to any resource micromarket.
- Just-In-Time power and water at the edge. Since water must be pumped, and pumped water can
generate electricity, markets in transactive power and transactive
water can work together.
- The New Utility and the Farm to Plug Movement Distributed energy is local, so distributed energy markets (and prices) must be local.
- Overcoming Market Challenges to Microgrids The faster a broader market for micro-trading arrives, the more the
capital markets will invest in microgrids.
- Built to Mash Economic mashups enable allocation, balancing, and smoothing of resource use within a micromarket.
- Is this the year of the Microgrid? A
microgrid is a system of systems that manages its energy generation,
distribution, and use internally.
- Smart Building Integrators Should Celebrate the End of Net Metering The
engineering is now unconstrained by artificial limits of technology
choices driven by the need of grid operators to limit technology
- Resource Frameworks to Integrate the IoT
As the Internet of Things becomes the Internet of Doing Things, Apps
will need to work within the boundaries of locally available resources.
- Resource Frameworks and the 3rd Wave of the Internet of Things
The third wave will be built on Apps of Things, and ontologies based on
composite semantics of sensors.
- Have you updated your IoT Plans? On June 29, millions of users installed a securable open source IoT Platform.
- Time for Buildings to Participate as Distributed System Platforms
At last, as a matter of regulation and law, every commercial building,
industrial site, or home can see new opportunity by acting as a
- A Rosy View of Smart Buildings Smart buildings are often moving the wrong way, with more central “cloud-based” decision making, and less autonomy.
- Distributed Energy,
Distributed Control, and Defense in Depth As the internet of things
and the internet of energy use converge, we must apply defense in depth.
- Autonomous Systems and Cloud Diagnostics
We need standard ways to name things and their relationships to spaces
- It Starts
with a Zombie Fortress
- Plans for a Zombie Fortress cannot assume that the grid will work, or
that the neighbors will be a useful source of supply or resilience.
- Autonomy as a Transformer of the Building
The playing field has been tipped toward autonomous systems optimizing
energy based on transactive principals—and that can only be good.
- Getting Things to
Direct server-to-server communications of schedules without the usual
email were demonstrated, along with specific hooks for authorized
interactions between web sites and personal calendars, and between
trusted business partners.
- 15 Years and Odds and Ends All I have is a scattershot article for a scattershot industry.
- Getting Over the Internet of Things It’s time to get over the Internet of Things (IoT).
- What can you ask an OBIX Server? While you can ask if a point is a thermostat, you can’t ask an OBIX server to return a list of all thermostats.
- OBIX, Smart TVs, and the Commercial Building OBIX is a generic web service interface for control
- Moving beyond Demand Response: Energy Interoperation
- Need a Map to those Bridges? If systems can understand what
they discover, they can integrate themselves.
- When Things Negotiate Schedules
It won’t be long until aggregations of systems become self-organizing,
able to balance their needs for scarce resources and their requirements
to provide services.
- The Taxonomies of oBIX Every taxonomy is the outward manifestation of an information model.
- A Path to Multi-Agent Operation of Buildings Binding oBIX
through BIM creates a simple path to multi-agent transactive operation
- Work Plan for oBIX 2.0 oBIX started nearly a decade
ago as an effort to define a standard
means of communication with any building system using XML.
- Unfinished Business for oBIX 40 North American companies offer products that provide oBIX access.
- Energy Surety for Buildings
Buildings should be designed as microgrids in their own right, managing
their own energy supply and quality.
- Tactical Building Communications and Slim BIM
This month, we get our first chance to look at COBie Lite, a profile of
COBie built for today’s applications using today’s tools.
- When Worse is Better For
the internet of things, it is essential to keep your systems'
interfaces, small enough that they can be truly understood.
- Smart Energy Basics: How can everything be a Microgrid?
- Slim BIM Getting Elephants to Dance - Toby Considine, TC9 Inc
- Using COBIE as an integration interface
COBIE-based integration fits building
operations and building systems into the core business of the building
owner and occupant.
- Big Data, Buildings, and the Internet of Things Big Data from Building systems must learn to share well with others.
- BIMCards, COBIE, and touch-less Integration The problem with traditional approaches is that they are too hard and
take too much skilled time.
- The Path to Smart Energy
Smart energy looks to each home, business, and industrial site to take
responsibility for the management of its own energy in the face of an
- Developing Shared Agendas for Enterprises, Buildings, and Other Things
Increasingly, the internet of things will integrate with the internet
- Planning for Abundance
So what if things did change? What if distribution and electricity were
not the be-all of commercial and domestic energy?
- Standards Update Abstraction and Schedule Communication
- Bringing Schedules into Building Design and Operation Facilities that understand their energy use will be able to control
economic risk through committing advance purchases of energy on a
- Efficiency, Resilience, and Smart Energy
Because the building owners are inherently diverse, and building
systems naturally autonomous, building based smart energy gains
resilience as a larger system of systems.
- Gentlemen, Start Your Smart Engines
Smart energy transfers responsibility for energy volatility to the end
nodes, along with economic incentives to adjust to that variability.
- Productive Load Banking - as important as Efficiency and Demand Response?
- Energy that Thinks Like the Web The internet of things and of energy could learn to think like the
- The Building Services Interface The foundation of smart building security and interactions.
- Load Shaping for Net Zero Buildings
Load shaping prioritizes energy use by prioritizing
systems, matching demand to supply within the microgrid.
share schedules with Business and Smart Grids Using
WS-Calendar for scheduling things
Smart Buildings & Smart Energy: the Integration Challenge
Doing things at the right time We created WS-Calendar to create, share, invoke, adjust, and
track coordinated response between domains and organizations.
Integration Barrier to Smart Energy
specifications will move the markets in energy management systems into
improved interfaces, for users, for enterprises, and for energy marketers.
Microgrids and Smart Energy Microgrids, whether virtual
or real, are an important organizing concept of smart energy.
Buildings must get smarter
because Smart Grids will be worse The
grid’s reduced safety margins make even moderate adoption of intermittent
energy sources risky. By every measure, the quality of the North American
grid will get worse. That’s the plan.
Thoughts on Smart Grids Musings from the GridWise Architectural
Council, Orlando, 2010
Smart Grids and Distributed Energy create opportunities for Diversity in Energy
Storage There is no reason at all to limit our concepts
of grid energy storage and buffers to electricity and batteries—and many
opportunities open up if we do not.
Privacy, the Essential Service for Smart Buildings
Privacy issues and privacy concerns became
front and center at the Grid-Interop and the Smart Grid Interoperability
Managed Energy, Collaborative
Energy, and Autonomous Load There are two fundamentally different
approaches to Energy Interoperation: managed energy and collaborative energy.
Smart Buildings and Market Information Enable Collaborative Energy
Collaboration requires able partners; smart grids require smart buildings
able to make intelligent decisions about energy use.
Distributed Energy Resources and Storage
With the big smart grid standards roadmap
conference coming up in Washington on the third and fourth, I am going to
stick with writing about what this means for buildings.
Intelligent Buildings talk to the
Smart Grid Last month,
the National Institute for standards and Technology (NIST) unveiled the Interim
Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap. (http://www.nist.gov/smartgrid/) The
roadmap defines the smart grid and how it interacts with is smart end nodes.
between Intelligent Buildings and Smart Energy
As I write this, the Interim Roadmap for the Smart Grid has
not been published. What follows is my view of how this area will develop.
SGIX – Smart Grid Information
Exchange Some feel that direct control of
tomorrow’s smart buildings must be in the hands of the utilities. I feel that
that building owners must be in control.
Cyber-security, Smart Buildings, and
the Smart Grid We went to a distributed
approach for Enterprise Building Management System EBMS, something that looks
nothing like the approaches of traditional building systems and of SCADA.
Energy Interoperability Standards: Smart
Buildings, Smart Grid
Energy, Innovation, and E-Tech
Current assumptions of a paternalistic utility providing all
control will not be sustained. New models of loose integration and symmetric
interactions are required.
Working with the Wind in Chicago
week, there will be a lot of wind surrounding the AHR Expo, the largest
conference anywhere dedicated to the efficient movement of air, and thereby the
biggest energy-related conference of the year.
Standards and Opportunities when Smart Buildings meet the Smart Grid
The goal of the new standards efforts is to support new
markets that we do not today know or understand.
The Lie in Demand—Response We encourage only the
crudest, least effective energy savings, while denying the market the energy
signals that would cause better.
Buildings, Emergency Response, Energy, and Situation Awareness
The NG911 system, or Next Generation 911 upports better interaction.
Even buildings, and building systems, might act as 911 operators.
Privacy, Price and the Cost of Control
As we seek to extend Demand / Response to more systems in the
house, we run into what we might call Knowledge Problems, problems of
diversity and understanding.
It’s all too cheap
If we are not going to manage our devices, our systems, and our
energy, who will?
Clouds and Rain
Cloud Computing is a name for putting computing services, whether
traditional, such as CRM applications, or modern, such as SaaS, on computers
up in the wider network.
Efforts to solve traditional
building-grid interactions as command and control interactions will fail if they
leave out the human and social factors.
throwing it away – Energy Recycling Once you start
thinking about waste heat as a resource, it will lead a long way from where you
Service Performance, Compliance, and Business Responsiveness
Just as in the rest of business computing, open
source is coming to building control systems. Open interfaces such as oBIX
make open source programming effective.
Rent Seeking is Crippling Building System Markets
Rent seeking is defined as when an individual, organization, or firm seeks
to make money by manipulating control of the economic environment rather
than by making a profit through trade and production of value.
- the Service Oriented Building My
passion is web services interfaces to the engineered world to let embedded
systems be full participants in the enterprise.
Spaces: Where Everything is in a Name
Last month, Toby Considine closed his column with an invitation to meet
him in Northern California in mid-September, where he was speaking at
the TechIntersection conference. I seized that opportunity to
interview Toby on the topic of "the semantic web." - Therese Sullivan
- The Building System Interface Space is what the building systems
support, space is what the tenants recognize, space is where building
systems deliver service. To interact with those services, we need
building services interfaces (BSI).
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