It has been quite a while since we posted an update on our Electro-Magnates project so here goes! The project is progressing along nicely and has reached another ‘technical’ milestone. Using Windows Communication Foundation, we have built a Restful API that exposes the University of Lincoln’s near-real-time energy consumption data in either XML or JSON formats. Exposing the energy data using open formats is one of the project’s core deliverables and follows the ethic that only good can come of data transparency. Having the data ‘online and out there’ allows the potential for tapping into the creativity of developers, designers and anybody who knows a little bit of basic programming. The API has granularity at the building level (for now) and energy data consumed (KWh) at half-hour intervals.
Although the API is built and ready for consumption, it will be released at an appropriate time in the project’s timeline in the near future. And there’s more! By building our own API we have the benefit of designing it to meet the needs of the project and that of any requested features, we also understand the benefits of an ‘internet of things’ service in the ‘cloud’. To this end we are about halfway through the development of automatically syncing the energy data to Pachube, described by themselves as ‘a data brokerage platform for the internet of things’. With Lincoln’s energy data also on Pachube developers will have access to Pachube’s feature-rich API for consuming the data, its community and its growing set of ‘ready-to-go’ applications (desktop and online widgets) built by the community. Readiness with Pachube is just a few weeks away; again the availability of the Pachube energy feeds to the public will be released in the near future.
In other Electro-Magnates work we are collaborating with Oxford University to run three ‘energy themed’ workshops across Lincoln, Oxford and De Montfort universities. The Lincoln workshop is planned for May 17th, other dates to follow. The workshops are primarily part of Oxford’s JiSC funded project into the effectiveness of innovative energy usage ‘info-graphics’ to change consumption behaviours. The JiSC project complements the ‘energy visualisation’ work component of Electro-Magnates hence a collaborative effort with the workshops, with findings shared with each project.