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WP4 - Infrastructure and Networking

Objectives

To specify in detail and develop the building blocks and the infrastructure of a generic, interoperable, expandable and scalable wireless-based platform of the PEBBLE’s Sensors, Actuators and User-Interfaces System of the three as well as of generic EPBs.

Tasks

WP4 main objective is to define and develop the infrastructure and its respective building blocks of the PEBBLE’s Sensors, Actuators and User-Interfaces System. Based on this, once installed in the three demonstration buildings, the system will be able to meet the constraints and requirements of the control to be performed. The following building blocks are taken into account in this WP and will form the final deliverable:

  • User Interfaces: this building block is based on graphical user interfaces, to which are added the user interfaces components adapted for BO&C, as defined in WP3 that allow the end-users to interact with the BO&C system. An additional user interface will be available for the out-of-band management of the network and the database, under the form of a PC. This does not preclude that this user interface could be later integrated into the end-user user interface. Additionally, data management (history, assessment, data retrieval, etc.) will also be the subject of this additional user interface that may run on the same hardware.
  • Wireless communication system, for meeting a set of selected time constraints with respect to the BO&C system algorithms. The system will be composed of potentially numerous nodes wirelessly interconnected, forming a mesh network, which can support multiple routes in order to remain operational even in the occurrence of node failures. The objective is to provide a framework which describes the real-time constraints to be met by an EPB communication system and then to describe how the protocol stack that drives the wireless nodes can meet the same constraints and to which extent this is possible at a given probability.
  • Wireless platform. This platform will interconnect to existing sensors, actuators, user-interfaces and other simple I/O devices. The wireless platform will be able to provide energy to some sensors and actuators, provided enough power is available at the required levels. The platform will be interfaced for the sake of the experiment and proof of concept to the sophisticated control elements, such as PLC, HVAC, etc. through the gateway (see below) or dedicated interfaces (e.g. SPI, serial, etc.). Standards, as well as proprietary solutions (for the demon-stration buildings applicable), will be taken into account in the development of the EPB wireless platform.
  • Sensory information gateway, which is the device that links the information management system (see below) to the sensors, actuators, and user-interfaces network.
  • Information management system, which stands for the location of standard information services, such storage, data retrieval, building climate history and manual control commands are performed. Current state and properties of the sensors, actuators and user-interfaces are stored and made available through the information management system. In addition, the information management system is connected to the external world (i.e. the internet) and it can provide services to remote user terminals (provided they have the sufficient access rights and security lev-els).
  • User terminals, which are the devices (appliances) that support the usr-interfaces for interacting with BO&C sys-tem.

Tasks

EPB analysis

The first step in this task consists in identifying the infrastructure data that is really needed (also know as "base case data collection") and estimate the difference between the data that is typically available in existing control systems. The outcome of this study will be the description of the existing infrastructure interfaces and data. It is important to get feedback from the users and modellers, in order to describe rough proposals for which direction to go (e.g. by giving advice on the target buildings). As a consequence, the Task 4.1 will establish links with WP2 in order to analyse the models and extract the properties of the information that will be measured and manipulated by the EPB control system. The second result of this task is the representation of the identified infrastructure data, as well as its dynamics during its lifetime. The objective is to determine the temporal attributes attached to the infrastructure data, which will be managed inside the infrastructure and the network.

System Definition & Control Infrastructure

WP4 will define, specify and develop the building blocks forming the infrastructure system for the BO&C of EPB, with respect to the needs and motivations expressed in WP2 and WP3. It will consist in the translation of the input pro-vided by these two work packages into technical and engineering terms. Task 4.1 will provide the requirements and validation scenarios for the proof of concept that will be used for each brick (inside the T4.x tasks) and for the inte-grated system (this output will be reused in WP5 for the validation of the concept). As already noticed in WP3 de-scription, task T4.2 will interact with task T3.1 (Functional Requirements of BO&C Systems). T3.1 and T4.2 will have a two-way communication and interaction in the following way: at a first place, a preliminary specification of the overall system infrastructure and networking is specified on month 5 of the project, within T4.1; then, within T3.1, specific proposal are made so that the aforementioned preliminary specification is modified to better meet the BO&C system objective of efficient performance (month 7); based on T3.1 recommendations on the preliminary specification, the overall system infrastructure and networking is finalized (month 9).

Information System Use Cases

The purpose of this task is to provide with a generic methodology (not only applicable to the three PEBBLE demonstration buildings but to arbitrary buildings) for the evaluation of the capability of non-EPB buildings to be transformed into EPB. In this context (retrofit), a solution will be defined, designed and developed using wireless sensors and data logging-transmission. Benefits taken from introduction of wireless communication between the sensor, control and user-interfacing elements of the system will be identified and estimated. This will allow for providing requirements for retrofitting methodology and needs, which may translate into requirements in terms of services offered by (typically wireless) communication (justification: easier to deploy, less expensive, etc.).

User Interface Definition

T4.4 addresses the definition of the required user interfaces and their implementation on the basis of EPB operation.

The exact type of information conveyed using the user-interfaces will be defined in detail, i.e.:

  • What type of sensor-based information is conveyed to the end-users, in which form and at what frequency;
  • What type of information is conveyed from the end-users to the BO&C system (user requirements and con-straints, user satisfaction and comfort indices, etc), in which form and at what frequency;
  • What type of forecasted information (using the predictive models of WP2) is conveyed to the end-users, in which form and at what frequency;
  • What type of commands (for manual control) is conveyed to the end-users, in which form and at what frequency.

Based on the above definitions, appropriate software codes and interfaces with the sensors and actuators will be developed for the real-time realization of the above-mentioned exchange of information within the user-interfaces.

Sensors, Actuators, User–Interfaces Wireless Integration

This task will conclude the work of WP4 by putting (integrating) the overall Sensors, Actuators and User-Interfaces System. A preliminary verification will also take place within this task to make sure that the overall system is working properly (for all three demonstration buildings).

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