Kenneth Wacks, Ph.D.  -  Home Automation and Utility Customer Servives

kenn@alum.mit.edu
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C O N T E N T S

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Home Automation and Utility Customer Services

New technologies promise home automation capabilities at lower costs than ever before. Busy families and those with physical limitations represent a fertile market for the new technologies. Utilities, faced with fierce competition in a rapidly changing, deregulated business environment, are looking to deliver new customer services. 

The confluence of these three trends presents a short term window of opportunity for utilities, consumer electronics companies and appliance manufacturers to gain early entry to a field about to explode with possibilities. To seize the moment requires an understanding of the history, technologies, the infrastructures, and markets of the home automation industry.

That's where Home Automation and Utility Customer Services comes in. This dramatic report, written by industry insider Ken Wacks, covers the home automation industry from basement to attic.

History

Wacks traces the history of the industry from the home hobbyist phase of the 1960's through the recognition of home automation as a potential market bonanza in the mid-1980s to its current status poised on the threshold of becoming a billion dollar market. 

Infrastructures and standards

His report covers the major infrastructures and standards that are vying for dominance in the nascent industry. Learn how the Consumer Electronics Bus (CEBus) an open standard developed by the Electronics Industries Association (EIA) differs from LonWorks technology of Echelon Corporation. See which utilities are supporting each approach, and see how they compare to SMART HOUSE, X-10, BatiBUS, European Home System, European Installation Bus, and Japan's Home Bus System. 

EIA continues to support maintenance of the standard while a CEBus Industry Council has been formed to push the standard in the market. Sponsors include IBM, Honeywell, Intel, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Lucent Technologies (ne AT&T), among others. Echelon is pushing to have its LonWorks approach be considered a home automation standard as well. Issues to be resolved include terms for licensing, and which features to include in the standard.

A billion-dollar market?

Current market estimates range from several millions of dollars to one-billion dollars or more. Whatever the real number may be, product announcements, corporate research reports, marketing of wiring infrastructures for homes, publications aimed at the home automation industry, and exploration by energy utilities of new customer services based on home automation all indicate that the industry is growing and evolving. The report explains how the industry will be influenced by the housing market, consumer demand, the trend to home offices, and demographic trends as the baby boom ages.

The technology

But just what kinds of technology go into home automation? There's communications--learn why digital is the way to go; local area networks--follow the evolution to LAN standards; communications protocols and media--find out how fast data can be transferred and what's the best way to carry that data. A special appendix discusses the challenges and promises of power line carrier communications--one of the keys to successful, low cost home automation. 

What should utilities do?

And then there's the utility connection. With the coming of a competitive environment, utilities are seeking to diversify their product offerings beyond energy. Value-added services, extending to home automation, represent the chief means for utilities to differentiate themselves. Find out how utilities must struggle to balance the need to maintain a return on shareholder equity, conform to local and Federal regulations, and survive in a competitive environment. Discover possible strategies that adventurous and conservative utilities can take to secure their place in the new environment.

Learn which electric utilities are experimenting with providing services and capabilities such as automatic meter reading, monitoring of power quality and delivery, detailed billing data, staggered power restoration, tamper detection, appliance diagnosis, telemetry services. Gas utilities are covered too, with such services as monitoring gas flow and quality, monitoring pipe corrosion, determining load profiles, distribution safety improvements, detection of meter tampering, monitoring indoor air quality, and coordination of fuel switching. 

Summaries are presented on a number of utility projects, including: American Electric Power's time-of-use pricing trial with TranstexT technology; Cable Utility Communications Services with trials in progress at Southern California Edison and Virginia Power; Central and South West's trial with First Pacific Network's communications equipment; Detroit Edison's Intelligent Link Project using LonWorks technology; Lucent Technologies' trials with PSE&G and Consolidated Edison; Pacific Gas and Electric's Energy Information Services project; TeCom's InterLane energy management and home automation system; and Wisconsin Electric Power's alliance with Ameritech to develop customer service capabilities. Size, scope, and status are discussed for each project.

The players

The report also covers the major players in the industry--learn who they are and find out about their major activities and strategies. An appendix to the report provides contact information for 40 of the major companies and organizations that are helping to shape the field.

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

  • The Stakeholders in Home Automation 
    • Consumer Electronics Companies 
    • Appliance Manufacturers 
    • Energy Utilities 
  • Home Automation Networks 
  • Utility Customer Services

OVERVIEW OF THE HOME AUTOMATION INDUSTRY

  • The Evolution of the Home Automation Industry 
    • Industry Background 
    • Infrastructure Networks 
    • Growing Momentum 
  • Home Automation Infrastructures 
  • The CEBus Standard 
    • The Significance of a Standard 
    • The Mission of the EIA 
    • Motivation and Goals of the CEBus Protocol 
    • Institutional and Corporate Support for CEBus 
  • The LonWorks System 
    • The Formation and Marketing of Echelon 
    • Relationship of Echelon to Standards Bodies 
    • Institutional and Corporate Support for LonWorks 
  • SMART HOUSE 
    • The SMART HOUSE Organization 
    • The SMART HOUSE System 
  • X-10 Modules 
  • European and Japanese Developments 
    • The Home Bus System 
    • European Home Systems (EHS) 
    • EHS -- CEBus Cooperation 
    • Building Automation Protocols 
  • International Standards - Home Electronic System 
    • Goals of HES 
    • HES Application Models 
    • Functional Safety 
  • Prospects for Home Automation 
    • Whole-House Control Systems 
    • Home Automation Subsystems 
    • The User Interface 
    • Home Automation Components 
    • Home Automation Wiring 
  • Growth Indicators for Home Automation 
    • Corporate Interest in Home Automation 
    • Premises Wiring 
    • Industry Publications 
    • Telemetry Services 

DEVELOPMENT OF A HOME AUTOMATION MARKET

  • The Housing Market 
  • Consumer Demand 
    • The Demographics 
    • Relation to the Home Office 

FEATURES OF HOME AUTOMATION NETWORKS

  • Home Automation Communications 
    • Communications Engineering 
    • Analog versus Digital Communications 
    • Home Automation Applications of Communications 
    • Local Area Networks Applied to Home Automation 
  • Overview of the CEBus Protocol 
    • Network Architecture 
    • CEBus Devices and Topology 
  • Overview of the LonTalk Protocol 
    • Architecture and Topology 
    • Event Notification 
    • Implementing a LonTalk Network 
    • LonWorks Development Tools 
  • The SMART HOUSE Technology 
    • SMART HOUSE Wiring 
    • SMART HOUSE Communications 
    • SMART HOUSE Topology 
    • Other SMART HOUSE Features 
  • The Home Electronic System 
    • The Universal Interface 
    • HES Application Language 

ENERGY UTILITIES AS DRIVERS OF HOME AUTOMATION

  • Mandates for Utility Restructuring 
    • A Historical Perspective 
    • The New Regulatory Environment 
  • Utility Response to Competition 
  • Value-Added Services 
  • Symbiosis between Utility Services and Home Automation . 71 
    • Home Automation for Load Control 
    • Distributed Load Control 

ENERGY UTILITY DEVELOPMENTS

  • Utility Home Automation Projects 
    • American Electric Power 
    • CableUCS (Cable Utility Communications Services) 
    • CELECT 
    • Central and Southwest 
    • Detroit Edison 
    • Lucent Technologies 
    • Pacific Gas and Electric 
    • TeCom, Inc. 
    • UBI Consortium 
    • Wisconsin Electric Power 
  • Implementing Energy Management 
    • Energy Management Controller 
    • Cluster Controllers 
  • Bundling Utility Services

STRATEGIES FOR UTILITIES

  • Heading for Success? 
  • Will Energy Management Succeed? 
  • What Should a Utility Do?

APPENDIX A -- Home Automation Companies

APPENDIX B -- The Challenges of Power Line Communications

  • Theory versus Reality 
  • The Power Line Environment for Data Transmission 
    • The Electrical Load at an Outlet 
    • Power Line Transmission Problems 
  • Importance of PLC to Power Companies

THE AUTHOR

  • Biographical Sketch 
  • Abbreviated Sketch

LIST OF FIGURES

  • Figure 1. Interfacing to a Local Area Network
  • Figure 2. Example of CEBus Topology
  • Figure 3. Example of a CEBus Application
  • Figure 4. Example of SMART HOUSE Topology
  • Figure 5. Appliances connected to Home Electronic System
  • Figure 6. Distributed Load Control using an Energy Management Controller
  • Figure 7. Logical Architecture of a Control Subsystem
  • Figure 8. Interconnecting Subsystems as Peers
  • Figure 9. Interconnecting Subsystems via a Home Automation Coordinator

T O P

C O N T E N T S

Home Automation and Utility Customer Services
by Dr. Kenneth Wacks
Apen Publishers, April 1997
$485, $495 outside North America

Special Web Order

NOTE:  This book is no longer being sold by Aspen Publishers.
However, it contains foundational information about home automaton
and energy management, and data about the industry evolution.
Please contact Dr. Wacks by phone or email to purchase an
electronic version of the book.

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Kenneth Wacks, Ph.D.     +1 781 662-6211