The Hebes platform aims to facilitate the seamless integration and control of different Internet-enabled devices under a set of common goals. A characteristic case we aim to support is the integration of the existing and future energy assets of consumers under the unifying goals of increased energy self-consumption, energy efficiency and demand response potential.
Our main premise is that technology integration requires more than the ability to share different data encodings between the involved systems. It requires primarily the ability to functionally compose different device or subsystem interfaces into an integrated model that can be monitored, continuously updated and controlled.
And this premise has guided the design of the Hebes platform, so that from its users’ point of view, it acts as a cloud-based service that enables them to integrate their technology assets by:
Our platform is able to learn the dynamics of a system - possibly composed by many different devices, while at the same time devising control signals for its operation. To this end:
The proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the internal market in electricity requires that Member States will ensure that consumers are entitled, on request, to a dynamic electricity price contract by their supplier.
This implies that consumers would first pursue the technological capabilities that enable demand flexibility, and then choose to expose themselves to dynamic prices. However, it is unlikely that consumers will invest in new technological capabilities having demand response (DR) as their primary goal. On the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that consumers would adopt these technologies according to a value stemming from:
The aforementioned support the argument that a viable approach to the engagement of consumers in DR programs is through technology solutions that allow them to exploit the flexibility potential that is inherent in the technology assets they own, as long as:
We believe that the Hebes platform is perfectly suited for this challenge. The reason is that our Control-as-a-Service scheme makes it possible to develop control schemes that safeguard that energy efficiency and energy self-consumption are always put first, while conditionally maximizing the degree of change compared to the baseline consumption that is achievable by a DR event during a given time period. In this way, we can actually embed DR into the daily operation of the connected systems and devices.
To be actually useful, the Hebes platform must enable its users to monitor and fully control their devices through a unified graphical interface. This means that – at least for in-building systems – integration requires effectively combining two different paradigms: one that is based on automated control with minimal user involvement and one that is based on users devising automation rules in the form of “if this then that”, and then deciding themselves when to set them in effect. The latter is the current automation paradigm, and thermostat scheduling is a good example.
Accordingly, we focus our research priorities on enhancing our platform to systematically adapt the control of connected devices to the users’ preferences. To this end, we aim to utilize the user-defined settings as a way to appropriately refine the corresponding control functionality, as well as to identify the extent to which users are satisfied with the control actions.