EnerGuide and ENERGY STAR


The Residential Programs group of the Office of Energy Efficiency at NRCan is responsible for the enforcement of Section 5 of the Energy Efficiency Act. The Act is Canada's response to the need to reduce the amount of Green House Gases that are produced as the result of using energy inefficient devices.

The Act requires the manufacturers and importers of certain types of energy using products to meet standard for the energy efficiency of these products. The companies are required to register their products with NRCan with information which includes the energy efficiency of the product. In conjunction with Revenue Canada, NRCan then tracks the import of products, and ensures that they meet the standards. The programs most visible component is the EnerGuide label which denotes products that have met the energy efficiency guide lines.

In 1997 there were approximately 1,000,000 imports of products covered by Section 5, and NRCan has only 2 staff dedicated to tracking compliance.

Implementation by RKIL


RKIL has progressively built a system with NRCan that allows for the cataloging of products to be tracked by Section 5, and the compliance with the import of those products. The system allowed NRCan to enter product energy efficiency reports, as well as to record information from Customs invoices that included Section 5 products. 

The system has been expanded to include a product web site the allows importers to check on allowable products before importing, and a secure system of exchanging information with Revenue Canada on imports of products. 

The original system was a client/server system which uses Omnis 7 as the client on Macintosh and Wintel workstations with Oracle running on Windows NT as the server. The system has been expanded to include an Oracle web server, and an MQ connection to Revenue Canada that uses Entrust technology.  

This implementation with Revenue Canada was awarded a gold medal at the 1998 Distinction Awards for technology in the Federal Government.

iPad vs. The Knowledge Navigator


So the 2010 iPad is announced, how does it compare with the with the 1987 Knowledge Navigator concept piece for 2010?

The iPad has many of features that the Knowledge Navigator forecast, and some it did not.

  • The Internet. It did not really even have a name in 1987, yet alone the concept of accessing data bases from around the world, as well as adding in voice and video access. Wow. Remarkably close.
  • Built in wireless phone connections. In the video it was almost a glorified answering machine, however the iPad can offer very similar functionality through Skype and other similar services.
  • A multi-touch panel display. The iPad is shockingly close with the ability to manipulate daa directly

The iPad is missing a few, some for the better.

  • Agents with voice recognition. While voice recognition must still be available on the iPad, there definitely is not a built in agent (played by Bill Nye in the video) who not only recognizes your voice, it understands your intentions. This is a big one, and the only systems that come close now have a real person at the other end.
  • A video camera for conferencing. While Macs have had video cameras standard for iChat for 5 years, it does not seem to have been included on the iPad (or iPhone). Yet.

The iPad also has a few features that did not show on Knowledge Navigator.

  • The App Store. It would have been tough to show in such a short video, however the tens of thousands of apps now available for the iPad give it a customizability that was never previewed by Apple.