Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Internet Address for Every Light Bulb

An interesting story here about the increasingly pervasive Internet, in this case individually controlling lights.  Consumer-oriented it seems, and at least they have thought about security issues, but it's not clear that it will be integrate well, if at all, with a commercial building automation system or, worse, with an energy management system as described in a Smart-Grid-related whitepaper from the EIS Alliance, titled The Customer Energy Management System (CEMS) for commercial, residential and industrial buildings/consumers.  I invite you to take a gander (look) at the paper.

Watching the development of BACnet's lighting control extensions, it's clear to me that while one can easily do "On -- Off -- %FullOutput", there is a whole lot more to lighting control than can be conveyed via a simple Android app.  And that's even before you try to go beyond individual control of each lamp -- think about lighting up the house on the way home from the airport, or at least the path from the garage to the bedroom (so I don't have to to flip switches with both hands full of luggage).  There aren't enough stoplights between SeaTac airport (SEA) and home for me to turn on the requisite set of lamps remotely, one by one, enroute.

What these folks are doing is something to watch, certainly, but it doesn't seem to me to be the full answer.

And I hope their power control devices are more robust today than the X10 devices sold in the early 1970s; the vulnerability of the old X10 semiconductors (SCRs/Triacs) to filament-lamp-short failures is the main reason I've never installed X10 in any of my residences.

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