Ever thought that your utility company could start your dishwasher when it is cheaper for you?
Prof. Stephen Chen and his team were recently awarded $124,155 to develop technologies that do exactly that: instead of predicting and hoping customers will behave as predicted, can utility companies move one step further and actually actuate user demand when users are flexible about it?
In a renewable energy scenario, where wind and solar power are unpredictably available, this need for demand to adapt to supply (rather than the opposite) is more pertinent. Thus, the dishwasher will not be programmed to operate at a precise preset time (say, 3am), but will start its cycle when green energy is available within a predefined flexibility interval (e.g. sometime at night).
The technology employed, Active Data, is the logical step beyond Big Data: instead of using data to predict and then hope for the best, how about using the data to just bring about the best? Read more about Prof. Chen's initiative.