::: nBlog :::

Due to living on the countryside, my home includes quite a few pieces of relatively complex equipment, performing vital functions such as heating, water supply, air conditioning, sewage treatment, auxiliary power and surveillance/alarm system.

Heating alone requires four separate microcontrollers: one in geothermal heat pump, one for solar collectors, one for wood furnace pumps and one to distribute heating water across the house. In total, there are 18 controllers executing their own, small real time programs. All of these have multiple sensors and actuators attached. What comes to electric power, these boxes together command a maximum of 25 kilowatt draw.

I’ve painstakingly connected most of these devices, talking very different digital dialects, into BaseN Platform. To my surprise, this has yielded major flaws in firmware programming, usually causing extra power consumption, incorrect operation or sometimes even environmental damage. Even more surprising was that only after 5 years of operation, the equipment manufacturers provided no support to the firmware releases I’m running. In the case of my 5kW auxiliary inverter, the manufacturer didn’t have a single person left with knowledge of my device and its resident code.

I have corrected most of these flaws and inefficiencies by augmenting local logic programming with better algorithms and controls from BaseN Platform. Without too much effort, I’ve lowered the total energy consumption by 20% while being free from nasty surprises like pumping untreated chemicals to nature.

I do not believe in a socialist model that all this technology should come from a single provider. However, we should pay increasing amount of attention to resource efficiency through interoperability and continuous improvement. Pieces of critical software and hardware should never again be forgotten islands, waiting to fail at an unexpected moment.

By connecting and Spiming these devices into an interoperable Spime Farm, manufacturers can not only provide more efficient products. The best ones will completely transform themselves into service providers, capable of reeling in equipment from other vendors, including legacy. They will also continuously create new digital services based on real time customer data.

Luckily we’re already serving a few of these leading companies.


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