June 2010

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Doing things at the right time

We created WS-Calendar to create, share, invoke, adjust, and track coordinated response between domains and organizations.

Toby Considine


Toby Considine
TC9 Inc

The New Daedalus

Contributing Editor

Last month, the WS-Calendar Technical Committee (TC) released a draft for comments. This is a small component among standards, but one that can help integrate building systems into the businesses that inhabit them. Already there are early attempts to integrate this specification into energy, into the enterprise, as well as into building operations.

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I couldnít make it through a week without using the IETF standards iCalendar and its supporting communications tools iMIP, iTIP, and calDAV. I am thankful for the many hours they save me every week. I think you may feel the same way, too.

What, you say? You donít think about these standards? Well, thatís because they are ubiquitous, they work, and are therefore invisible. You use them to schedule meetings, and webinars, to remember plane travel and hotels reservations. They are everywhere, they work, and so we donít talk about them.

WS-Calendar builds upon these specifications to bring schedules and synchronization to web services and inter-process communications. We created WS-Calendar to create, share, invoke, adjust, and track coordinated response between domains and organizations. By domains, I mean different groups that speak different languages. WS-Calendar will see use in financial instruments and building systems, in energy markets and in enterprise systems, in PDAs and electric cars.

Of most interest to automated buildings readers is how it affects building systems, and what new opportunities it opens up there. Years ago, when I became chair of the oBIX TC (Technical Committee), I observed that the BAS needed to know the schedule of the conference room. My corporate calendar already knows when meetings begin each day, when they end each day, and how many people are in each meeting.

There is already a rough draft to incorporate WS-Calendar into oBIX, the OASIS web services standard for communicating with building systems. I have discussed use of WS-Calendar with many members of the BACnet community. It is likely that both communities will soon be able to use this specification to communicate with their respective building systems.

Control Solutions, Inc We can expect that enterprise systems will soon support this information sharing.  Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle all participated in the WS-Calendar process. I have heard of a trial use of WS-Calendar directly from a Microsoft Exchange server. The makers of registrarís office software, used to schedule college classes, are looking to communicate class schedules, and the number of students in each class, directly with the building systems.

Smart grids and demand response are everywhere in the news today. Smart grids communicate energy shortages and surpluses to the end nodes of the grid: buildings, homes, and industries. New standards for energy market communications include WS-Calendar. Through WS-Calendar, Energy, Enterprise, and Buildings communicate in a common language to discuss when and how to perform.

WS-Calendar is based on a suite of documents, all currently seeking comments. xCal defines a standard way to render iCalendar information in XML. CalWS is a web service standardizing the API for Calendaring & Scheduling functions on any platform supporting calendaring. WS-Calendar is the component for inter-domain communications.

http://www.ietf.org/id/draft-daboo-et-al-icalendar-in-xml-04.txt
http://www.calconnect.org/publicreviewdocuments.shtml
http://docs.oasis-open.org/ws-calendar/v1.0/wd06/ws-calendar-1.0-spec-wd-06.pdf

Comments on WS-Calendar can be posted using the comments link at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/ws-calendar/ 

Its almost here Ė and time to start planning how you will use it.

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