Voltron  Defender of the Universe Michael Buckner/Getty Images for RBK

Voltron - Defender of the Universe!

Volttron! (With two Ts)

It is an agent based open-source distributed control and sensing platform for buildings, the power grid, and the integration of the two In 2016 the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory integrated AIRx algorithms with the VOLTTRON software platform If you do not address data ownership and allow your vendors and contractors to own your generated data then they own you and your building

In case you have not heard, Voltron (with one T) is the Defender of the Universe in an American animated television series about a team of astronauts who pilot a giant Super Robot known as Voltron.

But what is Volttron with two Ts?

It is an agent based open-source distributed control and sensing platform for buildings, the power grid, and the integration of the two to support the deployment of energy efficiency and grid services to increase consumer benefits.

In 2016 the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory integrated AIRx algorithms with the VOLTTRON software platform to deploy them widely on the PNNL campus. The algorithms are equivalent to a “check engine” light. The deployment allowed for continuous monitoring of PNNL building systems, ensuring persistent building operations and peak efficiency.

These pdf provide more insight:

http://buildingretuning.pnnl.gov/documents/pnnl_sa_110686.pdf

http://buildingretuning.pnnl.gov/highlights/highlight.asp?id=2628

So that’s what it does. But now the big question: How did it come to have two Ts? George Hernandez, Principal Technical Advisor, Buildings to Grid Integration and Buildings Controls Research Program Manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provides the answer:

The two Ts sort of came from the Defender of the Universe. The original name was "Intelligent Networked Sensors Capable of Autonomous Adaptive Operations in the Electric Power System,” which is not very friendly. One of the co-founders of the software joked, “we should call it VOLTRON,” … the name stuck. However, not to have a copyright lawsuit, the second T was added to the name. There have been several naming contests, including the brand manager at DOE trying to change the name, but nothing else was accepted, so it's VOLTTRON.


Why do we need Volttron?

It comes down to data ownership. Who owns the data has become a big issue. If you do not address data ownership and allow your vendors and contractors to own your generated data then they own you and your building.

Setting data free for all to use is a big part of Volttron. Not only does data need to be free for all to use but it must be stackable, using machine-readable tagging like those generated by Project Haystack http://project-haystack.org/ Here are some links to help explain:

Data Freedom for Smart Buildings and Beyond: Takeaways from Haystack Connect 2017

‑- Adam Hise Senior Associate, Harbor Research

VOLTTRON: An agent based open-source distributed control and sensing platform for buildings, the power grid, and the integration of the two

-- George Hernandez, Principal Technical Advisor, PNNL

Using VOLTTRON

--  Nigel David, BSc, MSc, Ph.D., Lead Researcher, SES Consulting Inc.

Okay, flying a giant Super Robot into a haystack makes for strange mental image, but fighting the good fight to free and name our valuable data makes the software Volttron just as much a hero as its animated namesake.

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