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Intelligent System Development Platform for Intelligent and Sustainable Society
EU project (STREP)
Start September 2013
Finish February 2016

The IMPRESS project is a 30 month EU-Brazil collaborative project. The aim of the IMPRESS project is to provide a Systems Development Platform (SDP) which enables cost effective development of mixed critical complex systems involving Internet of Things and their services and at the same time facilitates the interplay with users and external systems. The holistic interplay of things, systems, people, and services will contribute the underlying technologies needed to enable a sustainable and smarter society. The IMPRESS development platform will be usable for any system intended to embrace a smarter society. However, the demonstration and evaluation of the IMPRESS SDP will focus on user oriented energy efficiency systems, which addresses reduction in energy usage and CO2 footprint in existing public buildings and spaces by enhancing the intelligence of monitoring and control systems and user awareness.

Smart societies worldwide needs to find effective solutions to the major trends that will change the world and our societies in the next twenty years. An area of special importance for our future societies is the development of urban, energy efficient infrastructures.

Intelligent ICT-based monitoring and control systems play an important role in raising user awareness about energy usage. However, developing and deploying them requires significant construction works and development of costly software / hardware components. Moreover, to ensure the completeness of information, these systems also need a complex horizontal and vertical integration that involve heterogeneous technologies. This has been proved to be time and resource consuming. Having been involved in many FP7 energy efficiency projects, the IMPRESS consortium has learned that even system modules were made for similar goals, such as monitoring power consumption, still have very low reusability when deployed in other application domains. This is caused by different factors e.g. technological advancement progresses differently in different domains and integration with legacy systems and diverse business processes. Consequently, building these systems requires many modules to be engineered from the ground to address these fragmentations. Developing them from the ground consumes huge amount of effort as developers must have a deep understanding of the technologies, the new application domain, and the interplay with the legacy systems.

Technological advancement in the hardware architecture such as ultra-low powered wireless sensor nodes, and multicore mobile processors i.e ARM architecture have opened new opportunities to develop more cost effective and energy efficient systems. An emerging field that recently is investigated questions the possibility to mix applications with different criticality on a same platform without compromising the critical applications. Having a mixed critical application on a platform reduces the cost of the system development as different applications could take advantage of the same resources. From the energy perspective, the ARM architecture offers a balance between computing power and energy consumption for mobile devices. ARM however has drawn general interest from the ICT industry e.g.: even to use ARM for making data centre more energy efficient.

The IMPRESS development platform consists of a set of technologies that help to build general-purpose applications accessing to a plethora of sources, such as information from the physical world, analysing and fusing relevant data and perform monitoring and control operations on complex system. This is achieved through the definition of a number of tools and predefined modules that can be managed and combined in order to define a specific logic flow. In Figure 1 the IMPRESS development platform is presented.


Figure 1 IMPRESS middleware

The Application-domain Resources cloud represents all the entities that IMPRESS platform can interoperate with. These entities are:
  • physical world devices (e.g. appliances, sensors and actuators, smart meters, etc.) including personal devices (e.g. smartphone and tablets)
  • external and third-parties systems (e.g. pre-existent management systems and networks, business-domain and public authorities systems, third-parties systems, pre-existent systems and networks to avoid extensive retrofitting, third-parties platforms for seamless federation with other similar platforms etc.)
  • open and proprietary services (e.g. web services such as, for instance, weather services, RSS feeds, etc.)
The various resources are seamlessly connected to the IMPRESS platform through Service Proxies that expose their functionalities as Web Services, irrespective of their underlying communication protocol. Service proxies implement a Resources Adaptation Interface that allows the IMPRESS platform to connect the application-domain resources and expose their measurements and capabilities with a common interface and data model.

The Monitoring and Control Module aims to optimize complex system operations acting on available application-domain resources. This module performs also Resource Management operations for solving conflicts, for scheduling and mixed-criticality, through the implementation of priority policies. The control algorithms implemented in this module are fed with data collected from Application-domain Resources and with additional information inferred by the processing operations performed by Sensor and Data Fusion Module and Data Analysis & Support System Module. Context information from Context Manager Module can also be useful for monitoring and control task. Moreover, the control process can consider also user commands from external applications (e.g. turn-on remotely an appliance from smartphone, etc.) as input.

The Storage is responsible for managing the persistence of various data and information providing a innovative relational or non-relational storage infrastructure that is relevant for future technologies such as cloud storage, graph storage, noSQL. Data and information to be maintained include for instance historical sensor data, analysed information, learned knowledge, policies, configurations etc. It is available for all the components of the overall IMPRESS platform, storing both raw data and enhanced information. Within the Storage Manager, the Data Warehouse stores raw data from application-domain resources and enhanced data and information inferred by sensor and data fusion modules. The Sensor and Data Fusion Module processes inputs from available application-domain resources by aggregating and filtering raw data and events (e.g. to ease scalability storing data with a degree of granularity suitable for the application, to perform high-data-rate applications, etc.) and combining data to synthesize new and enhanced application-domain information (e.g. calculating the average temperature in a room using temperature measures from sensors deployed in the room, or the variable resistor values from voltage and current measures, etc.).

The Context Awareness Module keeps and manages context information. It manages the context information using data extracted from available application-domain resources. It associates context information to raw and enhanced values (e.g. stating that temperature sensor, which its unique identifier is ‘1234’, is deployed in the room identified as ‘bedroom’ on the ‘3rd floor’ of the building ‘xyz’ sited at ‘50th Avenue’, belonging to ‘abed’ company, etc.). It defines general data models, possibly based on open standards, to describe the context in a suitable way.

Data Analysis & Support System Module identifies and extracts information such as relations among data in order to increase the effectiveness of the support system operations; the main function of this module is to extract in a short time the information coming from large amounts of data, in order to effectively use this information in decision-making processes. It provides support to the control algorithms performed into Monitoring and Control Module and generates suggestions and alarms to user-side application. This module is in charge of performing runtime analysis, allowing the system to be aware of its current status and adapting its operation depending on the context information.

The Configuration Tool sets the policies of the whole platform. It shows to the Platform Manager all the devices and modules belonging to the system, allowing to configure the parameters of the modules of the overall platform.

The Composition Tool allows interconnecting the various modules belonging to the platform. This module is a commissioning tool used by the Platform Integrator that allows to define the connections among the different modules needed to implement a specific application logic.

Deployment in a energy management in Brazil
The evaluation of IMPRESS platform will be done through real world system development which targets extension to the conventional energy management systems by adding the following key features:
  • Development of energy management extensions that take into account context information such as the users’ behaviour, habits, preferences, work activities, environmental conditions etc. to remotely monitor and control the platform at application level
  • Development of micro-grid concept that allow interaction with the energy providers to receive real-time information about current energy cost, thus opportunistically balancing during peak and off-peak time the consumption of energy from the provider or from local storage systems
  • Development of system promoting energy education for users to form an energy aware community through the provision of continuous feedback about their participation in reducing CO2 footprint and a social media platform where they can exchange information on energy savings
  • Making intelligent ICT-based energy management more accessible through easy adoption of inexpensive wireless sensors (e.g., energy meters) and actuators (remotely controlled switches) from different vendors which could minimize the device cost, construction works, and cabling costs
  • Enabling seamless and autonomous integration of distributed energy sources (e.g., renewable energy sources) into the considered scenario and exploiting specific systems to store the generated energy for use at a later time
The systems will be developed and tested in the Federal University of Pernambuco which then in the last year of the project will be deployed in the Teatro Amazonas Opera House as an attractive showcase to demonstrate the potential of the smart system for reducing energy usage and CO2 footprint in an existing public building, that obviously allows no significant retrofitting and construction works. teatro

The IMPRESS platform will allow developers to integrate the legacy system and use the available building blocks, orchestrate them to create an intelligent monitoring and control system that relies on dynamic sensor data, in real time taking advantage of natural resources (like daylight and solar energy) and control the operation of both passive and active environmental systems to ensure the best possible comfort conditions with the most efficient use of energy.

The intelligent Energy monitoring and smart control of appliances at the Teatro Amazonas will effortlessly optimize efficiently the energy usage without compromising comfort or convenience and simultaneously provide a platform with an enormous publicity potential establishing the necessary public awareness to change the attitude towards energy usage and CO2 footprint and creating a wide public base for necessary changes in actual human behaviour to realize long-term energy savings. The demonstration will use its real-time energy-awareness services for all users of the Teatro Amazonas and combine awareness services with a community portal. This will enable collective, community activity motivating positive competition in saving energy, complemented by courses on towards the education on energy efficiency and sustainability.

Additionally this showcase will be a figurehead with enormous potential creating international awareness far beyond the Teatro Amazonas, the City of Manaus and Amazonas State and moreover create a touristic attraction on its own, showing a successful integration of national historic heritage and green awareness and ecological sustainability.

Expected Project Outcomes
IMPRESS will produce a middleware that runs on ARM gateways for ensuring the cost of the required system low. Moreover the middleware will facilitate the development of mixed criticality energy efficiency applications by scheduling the access to the services, enable the interoperability with legacy systems and widespread use of wireless networks in service oriented architecture environment which allow flexible deployment in existing buildings, including public buildings and preserved historical interest by employing self-configuration capability of the components. The middleware will be complemented by an integrated development tool that enables rapid system developments by non-expert developers.
In-JeT’s role in the project
In-JeT’s role in the IMPRESS project will be to lead the requirement engineering phase and secure that the technical implementations align with the projects overall conceptual vision. With our experience in energy efficiency, we can help bridging the gap between the user partners and the ICT specialists. In-JeT is also bringing in the knowledge gained in the Hydra and BEMO-COFRA projects together with FIT and CNET. Further, it is In-JeT’s role to perform business modelling analysis and define exploitation plans and develop innovation and dissemination activities. In-JeT has a permanent presence in Brazil and is thus well suited for working on the cross-continent dissemination activities.

Fraunhofer Institute for applied Information Technology, Germany (Coordinator)
CNet Svenska AB, Sweden
In-JeT ApS, Denmark
Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, Italy
Valtion Teknillinen Tutkimuskeskus, Finland
Comau do Brasil Indústria e Comércio Ltda., Brazil
Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil
Federal University of Amazonas, Brazil
iVision Ltda, Brazil
Teatro Amazonas
Companhia Hidráulica de Energia do Rio São Francisco
Engetron Ltd.
Universidade Federal do ABC
Co-funded by the European Commission
6th Framework Programme for Research and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico in Brazil

Project budget: 1.2 m€ (EU part only)
Project funding: 1.0 m€ (EU funding only)

Project start date: 1 September 2011 
Project end date: 28 February 2014