How to Make Proper Use of 1 Trillion Sensors (page 3)

Feb 17, 2014
Tsuneyuki Miyake, Nikkei Electronics

Controlling various elements to save energy at stores

Magori has been engaged in the research on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for saving energy at convenience stores. And he developed a technology to halve power consumption by using a test store that he developed in cooperation with Lawson Inc (Shinichiro Uto (Lawson) will deliver a lecture on the details of the technology at Trillion Sensors Summit Japan 2014). Based on the results (the effects to reduce power consumption), the AI repeatedly adjusts control elements such as air-conditioning and lighting systems to improve the accuracy of a control algorithm.

Magori employed the AI because the number of control elements that influence the power consumption of convenience stores is expected to increase in the future. As control elements, he uses air conditioning facilities, lighting apparatuses and natural energies such as ventilation and daylight. It is not practical to optimize those elements by hand. And it is difficult to prepare an accurate control algorithm in advance because each store has different conditions.

It is difficult to optimally control even multiple existing air conditioners. The energy efficiency of an air conditioner usually becomes highest when it is operated at about 70% of its maximum capacity. So, it is more energy-efficient to use one air conditioner at about 70% of its maximum capacity than to use two air conditioners at about 30-40% of their maximum capacities. Magori is currently optimizing the existing system to develop a sensor system that realizes a "zero-energy convenience store."