15 Years in the Collaboratory

Timeline Curated by Therese Sullivan, BuildingContext.me. Comments are welcome at therese@buildingcontext.me

Starting in about 1999, leading Building Automation professionals were early collaborators in the effort to put realtime data in service to better interior comfort and energy efficiency. They recognized their role as catalysts of this paradigm shift and set to work aligning all the necessary people, processes and technologies. Here's a timeline of their achievements. All the thought-leadership articles, commercial announcements, and press releases used to compile this timeline were found in the database of the online magazine automatedbuildings.com.

oBIX Unbound: Web Services Standard Complete

Aaron Hansen, Chairman of the oBIX XML Standards subcommittee and Tridium spokesperson, reports that the standard is available for public review. He explains that oBIX is much more than just a way to describe points, historical trends and alarms. “It is an extensible model that describes other models - a meta-model. oBIX allows control vendors to fully describe their proprietary systems and allow enterprises to discover non-standard data and invent new applications for it.” Read Hansen’s description of the oBIX Architecture.

Internet Comes to Building Automation

Ken Sinclair reports on how Internet connectivity is set to change real estate, facilities management and the buildings automation and systems integration industry. This article was a first wake up call as to how significant coming change is going to be in the future.

Control HVAC per Demand with Network Control

Thomas Hartman explains how network-based control can improve HVAC energy efficiency and comfort performance in the variable speed era. With network control, you can set the speed of the device according to actual requirements of all the loads served rather than to meet a static pressure or temperature setpoint.

Java and Building Automation Systems

Jim Butler and Keith Corbett of Cimetrics posit that BACnet and Java are complementary and they explore the use of Java for control systems. The article illustrates Java programs that communicate with BACnet devices. Java's technical challenges in this context are also evaluated.

Online Training & Education Effort Launched

As reported by Ken Sinclair, the challenge of keeping up with all the new IT and Communications technologies impacting the job of the buildings automation/control system integration professional is confounding a percentage of the industry. automatedbuildings.com and Engineered Systems magazine committed to working toward freely providing educational content digitally. What they have to learn to understand today's Building Automation industry is written on a curve that appears as a wall layered with every control technology we have ever invented. Without reference to how we came to be here it is just that, a wall. The last layer may be the only chance we have of explaining ourselves. Information Technology or IT solutions abound and everyone must learn the power of browser-based presentation to move forward. The ability of browser-based media to allow us to move in multi directions rapidly at our own pace is the tool we need to analyze the information wall.

Information Model: The Key to Integration

Eric Craton and Dave Robin of Automated Logic Inc. point out the need to adopt XML and Web Services Architecture for building information modeling in this article. It was a call to action: "If we do not take control of the data presentation of our dynamic information, the IT Industry will."

Energy Web Services - the Next Step

John J. "Jack" Mc Gowan defines the term ‘Deep Integration.’ In contrast to the “shallow" integration evident in a communication interface that provides only a subset of the points in a given controller and allows little or no access to control logic, ‘deep integration’ means to drill down to interact with the control logic. Also, a systems integrator ‘going deep’ is writing control logic to not only interact with HVAC control sequences, but for the other systems as well - fire, access and video surveillance. Web services that represent the convergence between Information Technology (IT) and Building Automation enable the ultimate in Deep Integration for comfort, energy management, security and other functions that support the customers' mission.

Connection Community Collaboration Meeting New York with video

The Building Automation world is comprised of a collection of communities working together to fuel new ways to extend the value of our building systems and to effect change and innovation. A first-ever attempt at bringing key thought-leaders from the various communities together in the same room happened in January, just after a great snowstorm, and was reasonably well attended. ControlTalk captured the session on video.

BACnet or LonWorks?

Respected industry author John J. "Jack" McGowan provides a primer here for system integrators deciding between the BACnet™ and LonWorks™ system communication protocol standards. Now that the market has settled on these two DDC network standards, the opportunity to achieve open systems and to leverage off-the-shelf technology and the worldwide web is at hand. However, there is still the challenge of choosing between these communication options. The author recommends close consideration of interoperability goals. Interoperability can be viewed as a continuum with levels: Connecting, Sharing and Substituting.” The article explains these levels and emphasizes that HVAC specialists need to expand their scope when evaluating interoperability, taking into account the interoperability levels possible with equipment used for fire alarms, security, vertical transport, office automation, etc.

Where Does Security Start?

John J. "Jack" Mc Gowan writes that, “In a post 9/11 world, security is not an appendage but an integral component of facility management. It begins with design and includes a host of Internet-enabled technology for access control, video surveillance, machine vision, "whole building" system integration, wireless networking, cybercrime data protection and more…. Energy and security are integral components of next generation building automation systems, along with the Internet and Local Area Networking technology. The key for energy industry professionals is to ensure that system effectiveness is not compromised through implementation by organizations that are not buildings experts. IT professionals are driving to acquire market share in the building automation industry, yet the next generation of integrators must have proficiency in building, security, HVAC and IT. In summary, owners and engineers must ensure that integrators have the requisite skills to successfully implement automation for energy management and security without compromising data integrity.

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