EPOS is designed and engineered as an application-independent service. In other words, EPOS can serve very different application domains without customizations in its core design. No single line of implementation code requires a change for this purpose. EPOS has been evaluated to three very different application scenarios that provide strong evidence about its potential to self-regulate sharing economies in a more viable and sustainable way.
Bike sharing initiatives play a key role in improving several urban qualities such as decreasing traffic congestions and air pollution as well as promote to citizens a more healthy lifestyle. City planners and system operators of bike sharing stations have to make sure existing stations remain balanced throughout the day, i.e. there are no stations without bikes as well as there are always some free parting lots in each station so that bikes can be returned. Manual bike relocations during the day as well as extensive expansion of the bike stations may be costly, operationally/politically inviable and can undermine the initiative. Instead citizens can determine alternative stations from which they can pick up or leave bikes using their smart phones. EPOS can make use of this flexibility and load-balance the stations collectively to decrease the manual relocations as well as the need for drastic expansion of the bike sharing infrastructure.
The regulation of residential energy consumption is of paramount importance for the stability of the power grid, the increase in the use of renewable energy resources and the overall safety of the society against catastrophic blackouts. Utility companies either require direct control of residential appliances or real-time pricing schemes operating over fine-grained power consumption data. These collected data are sensitive as they can reveal information about the occupancy of consumers, their daily activities and their lifestyle. Instead, utility companies could crowd-source the regulation process via EPOS by letting consumers determine alternative schedules of the appliances via their smart phones or other embedded smart controllers. Interactions via incentive signals and without collecting and processing consumers’ data can make participatory ancillary services possible, for instance, load-shifting.
Coordination of Electrical Vehicles
The adoption of electrical vehicles has a positive environmental footprint, however it poses operational challenges to the stability of the power grid. Charging electrical vehicles when citizens return home or when they arrive at work result in large power peaks that can threaten the system stability. EPOS can take advantage of alternative charging regimes during parking times and perform peak-shaving by desynchronizing the charging of the vehicles at large-scale.
1. Make sure you have a population of cyber-physical inter-connected agents, for instance, smart phone users, smart home residents, users of smart infrastructures, i.e. energy, traffic, health systems.2. Let agents autonomously self-determine (alternative) options about how they supply or demand resources, i.e. electricity, use of public transportation, hospital services.3. Determine an incentive signal of how the total aggregate supply or demand of the agents’ population should change to satisfy an objective, e.g. load-balance over time, decrease a supply or demand peak, etc.4. Let agents coordinate their selections from the options they determined at step (2) to satisfy the objective.
Agents in EPOS are self-organized in a tree topology over which they perform collective decision-making.