May 2011

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Energy Data Clouds
Include Energy Analytics, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Dynamic Energy Management, Tenant Energy Kiosks, Energy Business Integration, Energy Portals, Carbon Analysis, and many more.
Anno ScholtenAnno Scholten

Over the last few years we have started to see many new and innovative enterprise energy applications become available in the commercial building market.  These applications include Energy Analytics, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Dynamic Energy Management, Tenant Energy Kiosks, Energy Business Integration, Energy Portals, Carbon Analysis, and many more.  All of these new applications recognize the value of the energy data locked up in all these buildings and much of their value proposition hinges on easy access to this data.

 Energy Services & Data

What we find today is that each of these energy applications have their own database and connection solution that typically requires PCs, networks, gateways, servers, security and all the supporting hardware and software needed to make it work.  Installing and maintaining this infrastructure is complicated, expensive and creates potential security issues for the customer.  Cloud Computing technologies can now eliminate this entire overhead.

What exactly is Cloud Computing? 

Cloud Computing uses the Internet as the means to share resources, hardware, software, and information on-demand.  Like with the electric utility, you don’t own nor manage the generator or the wires.  You just pay for what you use.  Don’t use much electricity while you are away on vacation, don’t pay much.  Put up 10,000 holiday lights; get a big bill in January.

Cloud Computing takes managed services and virtualization to the next logical step.

•    You don’t own anything other than the workstations.
•    You don’t manage anything but the workstations. 
•    You have no capital expense, everything is operating expense. 
•    And you can be agile.

Most Cloud Service providers, the companies that actually host all the equipment, will allow your resource utilization to grow as much as it needs to keep up with your business, and then automatically shrink when the resources are not needed.

 Cloud Service Providers

Cloud Computing significantly lowers the cost required for data processing services when compared with the older model of establishing and maintaining software and its associated hardware on internal or hosted systems.  The use of cloud computing removes the need for the potentially large capital and operating costs associated with purchasing or leasing such software and hardware and shifts these costs to a usage-based model.

Cloud Computing Advantages for Energy Services

[an error occurred while processing this directive] There are two main categories for Cloud Computing; Remote and Local.  Remote advantages apply to the additional benefits you get using Cloud Computing over traditional solutions like local on-site servers or even hosted servers.  These include:

•    Enterprise grade services and management
•    High scalability
•    Highly secure infrastructure
•    High quality of service
•    High reliability
•    High elasticity
•    Full backup and redundancy
•    Full emergency power backup
•    Full database backup and archiving
•    Multi-user, multi-platform secure access

Local benefits include all the savings you realize in installing a Cloud Computing solution.  These include:

•    Easy installation and startup
•    Easy expansion
•    No hardware maintenance
•    No software maintenance
•    No IT support costs
•    No customer IT costs
•    Reduced manpower
•    Reduced overheads
•    Pay for what you use
•    Increased profits

How Can Energy Services Use Cloud Computing?

Based on all these benefits, Cloud Computing is an ideal solution for Energy Services.  Removing the need for on-site or remote servers, networks and all the maintenance and management they need, Cloud Computing can provide a single interface and single database of all real-time and historical building energy data.  This can then provide a secure, simultaneous and multi access solution for all energy services applications, significantly reducing their cost of implementation.
Using Cloud Computing

Of course, there is much more to know and understand about Cloud Computing, especially as it relates to security, back up, management and applications that can use Cloud Computing today.  If you do want to learn more about how and why Cloud Computing can be applied to energy services I would encourage you to come to my session at Connectvity Week: “Aggregating Data to the Cloud, How and Why” on Thursday 26th May in Santa Clara, Ca.


About the Author

Anno Scholten, C.E.M, C.D.S.M, has spent the last 25 years driving innovation in building control systems and smart grid technologies.

Anno has developed leading edge, smart grid energy products for the commercial building markets that have included Constellation Energy where he helped lead the design of Constellation’s pioneering automated demand response system, VirtuWatt Energy Manager and as the CTO for Novus Edge, he developed a first generation of automatic demand response technology for large commercial buildings.

As VP of Engineering for CSI (now Schneider Electric), a leading building controls company, he led a 60 person global engineering team through multiple major releases of the CSI product line. He joined CSI when they acquired EMS Control Systems, an Australian company where Anno had built one of the first control systems to fully integrate multiple building systems using the latest distributed architecture technologies — deploying systems across the Asia Pacific region.

During the last decade Anno has been a major contributor and leader in a number of critical standards efforts that have transformed building automation systems including BACnet, LON, and OBIX. He is a widely recognized industry expert and sought after speaker at building automation and smart grid conferences and holds a US Patent on a distributed-architecture building controller.


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