Sept 2004
   A Dynamic Online Chapter for Barney's Book

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I am pleased to present this dynamic chapter to Barney Capehart's new book.
"Web Based Energy Information and Control Systems - Case Studies and Application"

This chapter as well as being in print in the book also lives as a dynamic document on our web site. Its intent is to provide more perspective on the topics covered by the book. We provide a short abstract of the related articles published on our web site with direct linkage to the actual articles so you can gain more information.  The web-based media is the message and it is hoped that providing web access to this information will amplify the power of the book and allow access to related information that has only been published electronically to date. This new book is a squeal to the first for our industry  Information Technology Basics for Energy Managers and Facilities Managers  I have been amazed and impressed with the widespread recognition of the need for a comprehensive, yet basic and readable book that introduces this topic in a way that is understandable to the average person working in the energy and facility management area that is not an IT trained professional.  Barney L Capehart, PhD, CEM Professor Emeritus College of Engineering University of Florida

This dynamic chapter is organized into four sections:

1. Online information on Web Based Energy Information and Control Systems
2. Evolving Communication Standards and Protocols
3. Wireless's Rapid Evolution
4. Learning more about Web Based Control

All sections provide a brief abstract and links to the full article posted on our web site. Once you are online interacting with this chapter of the book you will better understand.

1. Online information on Web Based Energy Information and Control Systems

Transforming the U.S. Electricity System Rob Pratt, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Presented at “Bringing the Electricity System into the Information Age” symposia, Feb/04

Over the last decade, leading-edge industries have been using real-time information, e-business systems and market efficiencies to minimize the need for inventory and infrastructure while maximizing productivity and efficiency. However, the energy system has yet to make those advancements, or reap their benefits. The electric power grid is full of massive and expensive infrastructure that is generally underutilized. To meet growing demand, utilities continue to put up more iron and steel, and pass the cost on to their customers, who have little say in the matter. To meet the load growth projected by the U.S. Energy Information Agency, $450 billion of new electric infrastructure must be added by 2020 if we continue this “business-as-usual” approach.

Request for Participation - Summer 2004 - Automated Demand Response Test for Large Facilities  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is recruiting energy and facility managers of large facilities to participate in the 2004 Automated Demand Response (Auto-DR) research project. This project builds on the methods used in LBNL’s 2003 Auto-DR tests.

Background: The California Energy Commission and LBNL are studying the ability of facilities to reduce electricity demand temporarily through implementation and testing of Auto-DR. Auto-DR is being evaluated in terms of its potential to flatten out the grid load shape on peak days, help avoid blackouts like those that occurred in California (2001) and the Northeast (2003), and lower costs to ratepayers. Demand response has been identified as an important element of the State of California’s Energy Action Plan, which was developed by the California Energy Commission (CEC), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority (CPA).

… merging Information Technology and Energy

In recent years EUN has postulated many variations on the energy industry future. This discussion defines energy future as “Gridwise”, a topic that will recur as EUN chronicles the new development. Gridwise refers to the national electricity system and architecture addresses information technology, networking and the Internet. Gridwise is an initiative to stimulate development and adoption of an intelligent energy system that enables more effective use of the U.S. Electric System. This will result in significant opportunities for energy efficiency, but of equal importance it can result in a more reliable Grid. Gridwise is being sponsored by the new Department of Energy Office of Electricity Transmission and Distribution (DOE O-ETD). It is the first new office created within the DOE in years, which demonstrates the importance of this issue. Pacific Northwest National Labs has acted on behalf of DOE to select a team of national experts for the Gridwise Architecture Board. EUN readers will be able to stay informed on Gridwise through this author, who has been invited to sit on the Board.


Vykon Energy – A Platform for Demand Response

Along with the challenges created by deregulation, The Department of Energy (DOE) has estimated that the demand for electricity will grow by approximately 2% annually through the year 2020. Other countries will be experiencing similar or higher growth rates as their economies become more reliant on energy. Unfortunately, as demand for energy goes up, generation units are reaching their plant maturity and being retired. In fact, almost half of the current generating capacity in the U.S. originates from units approaching their maturity. Although new generation continues to go online each year, hundreds of thousands of megawatts of capacity (368,000 MW in the U.S1 .) will soon be taken off line. Constructing new generation is difficult and, in many cases, units approved for construction have been deserted due to either unfavorable market conditions or the “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) syndrome. As a result, generation growth cannot keep pace with demand.

"Do-it-yourself" energy information systems in a Web-based world  Manufacturers of metering products have introduced new metering and data collection products that allow any electrical contractor or building owner to provide Web-based energy information to customers and tenants cost-effectively. 

Owners and managers of commercial and institutional properties are increasingly challenged to maintain profit margins in the face of high vacancy rates and more competition for tenants. This competitive pressure, combined with volatility in energy rates and the specter of deregulation in the electric industry has resulted in a rapidly growing demand for more timely and accurate energy information. Historically, getting this type of information has been expensive and the installation of energy information systems has been left to specialists such as systems integrators or building automation contractors. In response to the growing demand in this market, manufacturers of metering products have introduced new metering and data collection products that allow any electrical contractor or building owner to provide Web-based energy information to customers and tenants cost-effectively.

Why Connections to Our Clients' Web-Based Enterprise Are Important  Our clients' business models are evolving to enterprise based solutions as the easiest and lowest cost way of doing business.

I am often asked "why is web-based enterprise control so important?" I answer that all our clients' business models are evolving to enterprise based solutions as the easiest and lowest cost way of doing business. We have several great articles written by industry experts for our web site on this exact topic and rather than inflicting you with my opinions and words, I am going to provide you with three direct extracts that I feel provide great insight to this matter

Facilities Are Poised To Become New Sources of Business Information  Automation vendors can now play by the same rules as IT and use modern integration technologies to transform the closed languages of their automation systems into the open and pervasive integration languages of IT.

Building automation and controls manufacturers recognize the unique needs of property managers and are beginning to acknowledge the power of XML Web Services to provide seamless, open interoperability between automation systems and corporate business applications. XML Web Services, the same powerful integration framework that has been embraced by software providers and IT departments everywhere, is also perfectly suited to transform facility sub-systems into valuable sources of new business information.

Networked Building Control Enhances Demand Responsiveness  The convergence of IT and building systems technology has produced secure, cost-competitive products that are more effective for demand response than non-networked control.  

The proliferation of the Internet and information technology (IT) hasn't stopped at the outside of buildings--it's actually changing the way that buildings are operated. Facility managers and energy service providers (ESPs) are beginning to reap the benefits of networked building control--the practice of integrating building management systems (BMSs) with corporate intranets or the Internet. One of the main advantages of networked systems is that facility managers can control the operation of buildings scattered across a campus or across the U.S. It's no longer necessary to physically travel to numerous buildings to control equipment. And because these networked building systems are easier to use, facility managers are more likely to detect equipment problems before a total failure can occur.

Energy 2004 - Are we really on line?  What has been heralded by the Buildings and Energy Industry as Convergence, System Integration and Internet Digital Control™ is in direct alignment with trends in E-business as a whole

The title of this column may seem to ask a silly question. Particularly for those who attended the recent AHR Expo or attended the XML Symposium in January. XML (Extensible Markup Language) may be a new term to many readers, and there is good reason for that, it is a fairly high-level software tool that the average user would not see. What is more important than the tool itself is the impact that its use will have on the energy business. For those who did not hear about the XML event, it was a world-class gathering, sponsored by the Continental Automated Building Association (CABA) and Clasma, the sponsor of BuilConn. The XML symposium presented a unique opportunity to meet with industry leaders and talk about Internet based applications that will define the future of the energy and buildings industry. Again, XML is a software tool being used to develop Internet services that shape building automation and energy management over the next decade. But before getting too far down the road, it is worthwhile to stop and reevaluate the energy industry in the context of Information Technology at large. This would entail revisiting the basic premise for Energy Online, and the accompanying chart provides an excellent context for that discussion. This chart was developed by Gartner, Inc. a business and market analysis think tank, with operations worldwide.

A Wake-Up Call and a Brainer  Ask any economist worth his salt what the total impact on American industry would be if our gross use of energy were to decrease by 15% over the next 10 years.

Anyone involved with development, design, construction or operations of commercial or industrial facilities will tell you that automation is an absolutely essential component of a successful energy conservation / management plan. But ask any member of that group how many facilities under 50,000 GSF have any level of automation and the answer is probably very few. Below 5,000 GSF, almost non-existent. You would have to look long and hard to find a million plus GSF facility without a building automation system. I am not talking about time clocks here. I am talking about automation systems capable of performing fairly sophisticated functions that would include interaction with external systems using the latest technology. The simple reasons for this are cost and complexity. Your basic Mom & Pop deli, the local dentist, the branch bank or the retail proprietor will only be able to afford automation if it comes to them in the form of an embedded appendix of those products they rely on to conduct their basic business. Their HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems etc. Oh, and by the way, the man machine interface and networking of these devices to an IP connection will need to be as simple as unpacking the box, connecting the 110 and Internet. Local connectivity to the individual appliances and systems will almost certainly be a wireless solution.

Ending the Blackout Blues  We need (REALLY need) to improve the way our industry delivers more advanced technologies to our building construction projects. 

The experts are only half right. What they are missing is the second and equally important cause of this tragic event. The truth is, the same type of outdated industry structure and practices plague the energy conversion industry that operates on the building side of the electric meter - our HVAC industry. And our industry's failure to come to grips with it has resulted in HVAC electric energy use to be about double what is easily achievable, making our industry every bit as responsible for this tragedy as the utilities. That we have not yet had to bear the blame is a gift, and should be seen as a wakeup call of our own - that we need (REALLY need) to improve the way our industry delivers more advanced technologies to our building construction projects. And perhaps we can do so if we can avoid the glare of publicity while we work to more efficiently utilize the increasingly precious energy resources available. It won't be a simple process, but I'd like to cite here two simple things all of us can do right now that will most certainly move us in the direction of real improvement.

Protection during Electrical Outages; Power Quality Everyday  Electrical Power Quality changes hourly, these changes affect nearly every system's reliability in your facility and the bottom line of your business.  

While most are concerned about "the other" electrical service issue, Power Reliability (e.g. power outage), the occurrence of such an event is infrequent as compared to Power Quality changes. An outage does have an extended negative effect on your bottom line however, one that is beyond the loss of productivity during the period of the outage. This extended negative effect has to do with the damage to computer, network, building automation, process control and many other systems. This type of damage can be immediate but often is not; it appears in the hours and days after a power outage event but can be prevented with the proper Power Quality device.

If Buildings Were Built Like Cars - The Potential for Information and Control Systems Technology in New Buildings Barney L. Capehart, University of Florida Harry Indig, KDS Energy, Lynne C. Capehart, Consultant

The purpose of this paper is to compare the technology used in new cars with the technology used in new buildings, and to identify the potential for applying additional technology in new buildings. The authors draw on their knowledge of both new cars and new buildings to present a list of sensors, computers, controls and displays used in new cars that can provide similar and significant opportunities for our new buildings. Some thoughts on how this new technology could be integrated into new buildings are also discussed. The authors hope that calling attention to using new car technology as a model for new building technology will stimulate recognition of the potential for new buildings, and ultimately lead to the implementation of similar technological improvements in new buildings.

2. Evolving Communication Standards and Protocols

LonWorks and BACnet System Solution on a Chip  Both protocols have become well established and manufacturers are working to offer building systems supporting both platforms.

The building control market is at the edge of major growth.  It is being steered by the recent upturns in the economy and the desire for more control of buildings for the purpose of better optimization of energy, better service for the customer and added security. To respond to these new market opportunities companies are working on standard building control products based on LonWorks ANSI/EIA-709.1 and BACnet ISO 16484-5 protocols. Both protocols offer interoperability of products between manufacturers. The industry can now focus on two major platforms instead of 15 or so proprietary platforms. At one time there were major battles to see which protocol would win out in the industry. It is becoming clear that both protocols have become well established and manufacturers are working to offer building systems supporting both platforms.

oBIX Building Blocks  Simple modules. Complex modules. Each self contained.  Each with a well-defined interface for interoperability.

Best practices in software systems today is to develop smaller modules, each provably able to perform its limited internal functions and operations correctly.  These systems interact with other modules through well defined, highly abstracted and loosely coupled interfaces, not intimate programming interactions.  There are three very big effects of this approach.

  1. Each module can be swapped out or upgraded for enhanced performance of its single function without re-developing the entire system. 

  2. Functional modules can be distributed not only across computer systems, but across corporations, as modern ERP systems span logistical chains across companies, countries, and continents; this is done without committing to a single system everywhere. 

  3. Downtime in any one system does not imply downtime for all.

oBIXTM Evolves at AHR Expo  Short for Open Building Information Xchange, oBIX is an initiative to define XML and Web Services-based standards for exchanging building systems information with each other and enterprise systems. 

That was the case with oBIXTM at the AHR Epxo recently concluded in Anaheim. Amidst the sunny Orange County setting of theme parks, hotels and freeways, oBIX was the subject of much buzz, discussion, and debate. Short for Open Building Information Xchange, oBIX is an initiative to define XML and Web Services-based standards for exchanging building systems information with each other and enterprise systems.

At a press conference that coincided with the AHR Expo kickoff, oBIX chair Paul Ehrlich, Business Development Leader, Trane, and others gave key industry editors background on the oBIX guideline and status on oBIX developments since its germination at BuilConn in April 2003.

Reporters and observers heard updates on the work of four task groups; Data and Services, Security, Network Management, and Marketing. In an effort that has become obligatory in the early stages of any business initiative, the oBIX Marketing task group has fashioned a vision statement to furnish clarity of purpose; building systems working together for the enterprise.

XML Spells Connection to the Future  An open letter to the Building Controls Industry turned into a reality. 

An open letter to the Building Controls Industry turned into a reality at the consortium's first meeting at BuilConn in Dallas. That open letter, which we ran on the website, proposed that we establish a consortium that would work on the creation of a guideline for use of XML and Web Services in building automation and control applications. I was able to attend this groundbreaking meeting in Dallas and the sense of purpose and cooperation in the room was amazing.

Let's all give special thanks to the BuilConn folk for hosting this meeting, and to the CABA organization for giving the newly formed consortium a home.

The first paragraph of the open letter reads:

"The Building Controls industry has made great strides over the last 10 years in the creation of communications standards. Both BACnet and LonTalk are now viable, commercially accepted solutions that provide owners with open communications. Yet while we have made great progress in these areas as an industry, there has been an emergence of a larger, more globally accepted standard created by the world of Information Technology. In particular the broad acceptance and ever lowering cost of Ethernet / TCP/IP / XML communications is finding its way into our industry."

Two Separate But Very Important Industry Acronyms XML & oBIX

XML is widely used by the IT community and considered by many as the most important enabling technology for the future of integrated and intelligent buildings, XML brings to fruition the convergence of building systems and the IT infrastructure. These IT-based technologies are drastically changing the buildings industry as they enable cooperation between disparate approaches to open systems, a vital issue within the industry. 

"As possibly the ultimate integration mechanism for buildings, XML will revolutionize the buildings industry," Ron Zimmer, CABA President and CEO, said. "This symposium will provide the HVAC professional with ample XML and Web Services education and a practical expectation of their adoption rate within the industry." 

Ehrlich: oBIX stands for Open Building Information Xchange, and it is an industry-wide initiative to define XML- and Web Services-based mechanisms to present building systems-related information on TCP/IP networks such as the Internet. 

 Ethernet: The Common Thread to Total Building Systems Integration  Ease of setup/configuration/use as well as connectivity options are key factors when considering a device server for your building automation application. 

Ethernet Made Easy 
Ethernet is a low cost, high speed, widely deployed, universally accepted medium for local area and wide area networks. Layer on top the TCP/IP protocol, the most common office networking language (as well as the language of the Internet) and you have the initial ingredients of an open, more easily integrated system. Of course, no solution is perfect and Ethernet has its drawbacks. However, most of Ethernet's weaknesses have been aptly addressed making it increasingly accepted in scenarios where it may have been rejected in the past. For example, critics have pointed to its lack of rugged components, non-determinism, and vendor acceptance. But, industrial grade switches, cables and connectors compensate for these fallbacks, and vendors are quickly adopting Ethernet as the new communication standard.

Open Systems Standards  This is the fifth of 9 articles where we are introducing the cost benefit for interoperability and that gained from the procurement technique achievable with open systems and choice. This article sets out some of my opinions, a collection of web-based technical data and then a current market summary opinion.  

The contributing editor acknowledges the following extract from a recent Automated Logic white paper as a useful contribution to the object-orientated programming point:

Since BACnet and EIB objects and LonMark functional profiles are information models and XML is a modelling language, we could express these high level information models in XML and in so doing make them compatible with the emerging Web services architecture. Because of the flexibility of XML and the web services architecture, these high level models could be expanded to include other types of facility-related (but not necessarily building automation-related) information. If each building automation protocol developed its own XML model, however, we would have similar but incompatible system models. Today’s problems of translating from one protocol to another at the building controller level would become tomorrow’s translation problems at the Web services level. What’s needed is a unified system model, in XML, that can be used by any building automation protocol.

The contributing editor suggests the oBIX initiative at OASIS is a good thing to support but the editor also acknowledges the BACnet work in their extension of their objects to XML ( and to KNX). What is needed is a unified model, oBIX can achieve this task the quickest and especially with help from BACnet such that unification at XML schema level is the best option for the end-user and supply chain.

Building Controls and BACnet, IT and XML. A report from the BIG-NA conference; BACnet, IT and XML are hot items. 

The convergence of Building Controls and IT, BACnet and XML are coming, and they're coming quick! The BACnet Interest Group - North America (BIG-NA) and the BACnet Manufacturer's Association (BMA) jointly hosted the BACnet Conference and Expo on October 5th, 6th & 7th, 2003 at the Kingsgate Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, on the campus of the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio. The Conference featured in-depth education, demonstrations, applications and hand-out materials on using the BACnet building automation and control network standard within educational institutions focusing on campus / district / and global facilities management systems and was attended by construction and facility managers and engineering consultants representing many colleges, universities, and global corporations.

The Niagara Framework: Measuring up to Open  What exactly is an "open system"? What are the elements . . . ingredients . . . issues?

From the customer perspective an open system should provide freedom of choice -- the freedom to choose the best products, the best manufacturers, the best contractor agencies and the best service providers. The freedom to adapt as his business needs change, and freedom to push forward on his timetable and to adopt different technologies as needed over time. Open technologies should help the industry better meet the demands of its' customers. In today's markets, customers need to be agile. Some of the enterprise's largest assets - their facilities, are not. Agile businesses will survive the onrush of global competition, Internet marketing, shrinking boundaries . . . whatever the future brings. Agile building control solutions are necessary to allow these enterprises to accomplish their goals.

Integrating OPC into Building Automation - The Latest Trend  OPC is a viable solution for building automation and is available today.

OPC is an established standard that enables integrators to connect disparate systems together, creating robust solutions and providing true interoperability; while at the same time reducing implementation time and costs. In addition, OPC enables a fully scalable solution for future changes and expansion. No longer are integrators tied, or locked in, to a single vendor. The data has now been freed and the ability to choose from an abundance of options is sitting well with integrators. Integrators are now able to deploy control systems and applications, regardless of vendor, and build best-of-breed solutions. Building automation is no longer dominated by a few large companies. The playing field is now open for many developers to offer far more advanced and superior solutions, while reducing the total cost of ownership. 

Protocol war yields to productive peace  Ironically by narrowing the choice of control protocols the industry can now invest more in well understood, and supported systems that are easy to specify, install, integrate and modify. 

Some business sectors have managed to get further than the automobile industry. The IT world has the de-facto Wintel (Windows plus Intel) standard in which (assuming you don't have an Apple, Unix or Linux computer) you can swap files between different systems without a problem. This standard came about by pure commercial pressure. Whether or not you agree that a few companies should impose their technology on an industry, there are plenty of examples, which show it to be vital to industry and market expansion. VCRs, electricity supply, telephones and railways are examples of innovations, which did not really begin to expand until one technical standard rose to dominance.

What could UPnP possibly mean to Building Systems?  Report from the UPnP Summit, Cannes, France October 28/29 2003  

The UPnP forum is a voluntary, international, open organization for companies and individuals formed in 1999. The first fact to surprise me was that here are no membership fees. The size of the membership and who they are surprised me. Currently the 625 members are drawn from North America, Europe and Asia. The Steering Committee is composed of Axis Communications, Broadcom, Canon, Inc., Echelon, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Lantronix, LG Electronics, Metro Link, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Philips, Pioneer, Ricoh, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Thomson and most recently, Pelco.

3. Waking Up to Wireless, Wireless's Rapid Evolution


Waking Up to Wireless Wireless…. WAKE UP it is here and it is now! 

I am writing this column just after returning from BuilConn in Dallas.  The haze of mega information is starting to clear and I want to tell you about one of the strong trends I saw at the show. Wireless…. WAKE UP it is here and it is now! ….. AND it will again change the shape of our industry. Approximately 10 to 15% of the folks at the conference were in the wireless industry. Wireless is now cheaper, runs forever on batteries, can even be self-generating, and can now organize itself into self healing and repeating networks. Let me provide you connection to some of the new thinking that will appear in our building automation products in the near future.

Wireless Mesh Sensor Networks  Enable Building Owners, Managers, and Contractors to Easily Monitor HVAC Performance Issues 

As the name implies, wireless mesh sensor networks are:

1.      Comprised of wireless nodes.  A node in this type of network consists of a sensor or an actuator that is connected to a bi-directional radio transceiver.  Data and control signals are communicated wirelessly in this network and nodes can easily be battery operated.

2.      Arranged in a networking topology called “mesh”.  A typical mesh network topology is shown in Figure 1. Mesh networking is a type of network where each node in the network can communicate with more than one other node thus enabling better overall connectivity than in traditional hub-and -spoke or star topologies. State of the art mesh networks often have some of the following characteristics:

a.       They are self-forming.  As nodes are powered on, they automatically enter the network.

b.      They are self-healing.  As a node leaves the network, the remaining nodes automatically re-route their signals around the out-of-network node to ensure a more reliable communication path.

c.       They support multi-hop routing.  This means that data from a node can jump through multiple nodes before delivering its information to a host gateway or controller that may be monitoring the network.

The self-forming, self healing, and battery operable attributes of a mesh sensor network make it ideal for temporary environmental monitoring applications in a wide range of facilities.

Autonomic Wireless Building Networks   The key to reliable ad hoc wireless networking for building automation applications and protocols is an Autonomic mesh network: an Autonomic network is one that self-configures, self-heals, self-regulates, and understands when to apply these parameters. 

Wireless technology for building automation applications has developed rapidly and commodity radio technology has helped accelerate adoption. Wireless technology provides the benefits of wire replacement for reduced deployment and maintenance costs; increased scalability; and has enabled application development. As pointed out by Helmut Macht, chief technology officer for Siemens Building Technologies Group, "The innovations in wireless communication allow more and more wired communication to be replaced."[1] In addition, wireless is an enabler for many hard-to-reach or hard-to-wire applications typically found in large old buildings, museums, factory floors, and remote job sites; and also in rapidly developing countries like China and India where the cost of wiring anything (labor, routes through old neighborhoods, etc.) is just about cost-prohibitive. 

The ZigBee Alliance review of the ZigBee Alliance which is leading the new wave in wireless networking. 

Mission The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard.

Objective The goal of the ZigBee Alliance is to provide the consumer with ultimate flexibility, mobility, and ease of use by building wireless intelligence and capabilities into every day devices. ZigBee technology will be embedded in a wide range of products and applications across consumer, commercial, industrial and government markets worldwide. For the first time, companies will have a standards-based wireless platform optimized for the unique needs of remote monitoring and control applications, including simplicity, reliability, low-cost and low-power.

What is GridWise? GridWise is an entirely new way to think about how we generate, distribute and use energy. Using advanced communications and up-to-date information technology, GridWise will improve coordination between supply and demand, and enable a smarter, more efficient, secure and reliable electric power system.

GridWise seeks to modernize the nation's electric system - from central generation to customer appliances and equipment - and create a collaborative network filled with information and abundant market-based opportunities. Through GridWise, we can weave together the most productive elements of our traditional infrastructure with new, seamless plug-and-play technologies. Using advanced telecommunications, information and control methods, we can create a "society" of devices that functions as an integrated, transactive system.

GridWise optimizes resources by integrating all elements of the electric system and allowing them to work together in smarter, faster ways. Taking advantage of new and existing technologies, GridWise integrates the energy infrastructure, processes, devices, information and markets into a collaborative arrangement that allows energy to be generated, distributed and consumed more efficiently.

4. Learning more about Web Based Control

Connecting Convergence August Supplement Engineered Systems
Connecting Convergence

In our fourth supplement “Connecting Convergence” prepared for Engineered Systems Anto and I identify the major trends that are fuelling the connection of real time data to our client’s enterprise. For the most part convergence has happened and what is left to do is sort out who will be the players and which standards will be used in providing these essential connections. Anto’s views are well expressed in his portion of the supplement Convergence or Divergence? Which way to Enterprise Building management? He outlines the drivers and trends and then analyzes what is going on to move us forward in delivering value to building owners and operators.


Convergence or Divergence 

While the industry buzz in the past couple of years has been the idea of convergence, now is a good time to review what is really going on in the industry delivering building systems. To do this, let us look at the drivers and trends and then analyze what is going on to move us forward in delivering value to building owners and operators.Marketing Convergence - Engineered Systems November Supplement
Technology developments are clearly the most visible driver in our industry. In the past decades we have seen the advent of DDC (Direct Digital Control), the proliferation of networked controls and even the creation of open system standards. These changes significantly affected the internal workings of the industry. They provided new features, flexibility, cost savings and even the freedom of choice between systems to control and manage a building. They did not however, change the relationship between building systems and the owners in any significant manner; building systems remained entities unto themselves.

Convergence Will Happen 

In the past we did not realize that our industry's direction and our personal lives would be so effected by information convergence. We cannot wait until convergence occurs and then get involved with how it gets marketed, because it will be too late; the marketing plan will not include our industry. Our industry's presence in creating a marketing convergence plan changes everything. We as an industry bring new concepts and tools to the convergence table in the form of "real time information." Our industry's business is collecting, acting on, and distributing real time data such as temperature, pressures, energy usage, client comfort, humidity, IAQ, video, security card ID's.

Why Is There A Need For Marketing?

But some kind of mass communication must occur in order for convergence in the building systems industry to gain a stronger foothold and industry-wide acceptance. Building owners are aware that this convergence is happening, and they're out there looking for answers. And convergence is certainly talked about and written about, but for the most part the message of the remarkable benefits of truly integrated systems is still missing its target. So what does the building systems industry need to do to be heard?

Selling Integration and Convergence  

The Buildings Industry is undergoing massive change, and its' impact on automation and engineered systems will be profound. My conservative estimate is that 75% of today's "control contractors" will cease to exist, or dramatically change their business model over the next decade. 

Controlling Convergence  - Engineered Systems April Supplement

Knowledge gained from the digital office explosion has helped building owners understand the potential savings of cost effective web-based upgrades to insure and communicate client comfort at the lowest energy and manpower costs. These solutions are being applied to new buildings but attractive paybacks are also available with the upgrading of existing DDC automation to web-based solutions. Moving to the next level of advanced digital buildings for owners is achievable now because of our automation industry's present position, which includes a myriad of web-based solutions. This position allows us as an industry to lead the world's dynamic/interactive data integration revolution. Working examples now available are Dynamic Energy Control/Accounting, Indoor Air Quality Reporting, Client Comfort Communication & Control interfaces. The transforming of our conservative large building automation industry is necessary to increase our visibility to building owners, designers and decision makers. This new visibility is forcing us to reinvent, restructure and repackage ourselves to create an exciting identity that will make web-based information and real time interactions come alive with seamless connections to the clients' enterprise.

Tom responded with a powerful article, which we have included in this supplement called "Convergence: What Is It, What Will It Mean, And When Will It Happen?"

Over the last several years, a remarkable transition has begun in the building controls industry. We see it in what are called Web based control systems that permit operation over standard Web Browsers. In itself, a Web based system is not really much to be excited about. User-friendly human interfaces for building controls have been around a long time. The only real direct advantage of a Web based control interface is that because it uses standard Web browser software, no special software package is required for a computer to operate as a human interface terminal for the control system. Very few control systems really use more than a couple of human interface terminals anyway, so many in the industry are asking, "What's all the fuss about?"


Facility Operation Evolution or Revolution Guide to Web-Based Facilities Operations - Doing more with less by using Web-based anywhere information to amplify your existing building operational resources.

The creation of the new model of data and information and support anywhere provides an excellent opportunity to simplify and increase the ease of access to critical building operations. As the "DDC Revolution" exposed the complex relationship between controls and equipment the "Net Revolution" will expose our lack of understanding of the complex cost/comfort/safety issues of today's buildings. This will cause us to economically invest in the need for increased knowledge to operate today's complex buildings cost effectively.

The Web-based presentation of static and dynamic building information of what is actually required to achieve the best of client comfort, while maintaining excellent Indoor Air Quality for the least cost per square foot will be an eye opener for all. As these dynamic models evolve, reflecting the realities of day-to-day building operation, management will be required to re-evaluate the real cost of having less than the best possible operation people; they will arrive at the conclusion that the correct operation team can greatly add to the company's bottom line by enhancing the art of providing desirable cost effective buildings.

The new Web-based media access and presentation has the power to simplify and teach while greatly aiding the comprehension of building operations. The concept of creating a website for each complex allows critical building information to be located in one organized place accessible to all. The inter-weaving of the actual dynamic building information allows contractors and consultants the ability to quickly understand complex building problems. 

Procurement of the Latest and Greatest  The request for proposal approach allows active solicitation of the innovative approach.

The request for proposal approach allows active solicitation of the innovative approach. We solved this problem over 20 years ago when the Direct Digital System started to replace pneumatic controls. The problem then was that old ways were hard to change and to reap the benefit of these new technologies the traditional design needed to be retrofitted as soon as the system was installed. To really capture the power of DDC a new approach was needed. The control part of a building represented a small fraction of the total cost and assembly was left to a fragmented group with no concept or care to how the building owner may wish to use the system. The solution was to follow the IT industry procurement model and to buy the building controls much the same as an owner would buy his IT enterprise system. In purchasing IT systems the fact that it all fit together and worked was more important than the lowest cost. Feature, functionality and fit ruled the procurement process.

One of our sixteen is missing …  or can Integration be specified? 

Integration presents challenges to the construction procurement process on numerous levels. The industry is demanding integration throughout the enterprise from building automation, fire alarm, access and video surveillance for security to Enterprise Energy Management, Metering and Maintenance Management. Integration goes beyond independent building systems such as those listed above, because it requires commonality with building application infrastructure including: hardwired and wireless LANs', central databases and even network-client software among others. In the last few months, I have reviewed more than a dozen Requests for Proposals and Specifications asking vendors to provide systems that integrate many or all of the above systems. Some of these have been solicitations independent of construction and some have been part of construction specifications. Set aside the flaws that might exist in any of these specifications because of a lack of understanding of the independent systems themselves or the complex interaction that must be achieved between all of these systems and the host of generations thereof. The fundamental issue raised here is that those solicitations that are done as part of a new construction process creates divisions between the various trades, tasks and scopes of work to be carried out. 

Web-Based Automation  Access to real-time information anywhere, anytime through an Internet-enabled automation system is the real value of this technology. is a focal point for discussion of control technologies in general, and by extension related Internet technology due to the e-zine's unique vantage point on the industry. Having recently returned from the AHR show in Chicago it seems appropriate to address this juxtaposition of Automation and the Internet, as it seemed to be a significant factor every booth. "Native TCP/IP, Internet-Ready, IP enabled and Internet Control are among the related buzzwords that were used, along with a host of references to Web Browsers and other Internet based features. At the same time, many attendees were asking; what does it mean and how do you cut through the hype to see if it brings any value? The logical expansion of building automation has been to move from Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) control to Direct Digital Control (DDC) and integration of fire and security, and potentially more. The next step for DDC was Internet access, but Web-based Automation or "Internet Control" goes beyond simple access. Internet control automates facilities, HVAC and processes, while expanding the scope of control to the enterprise level, thus using the Internet to convert a control system into a management information system.

Energy and Wireless Internet …what's the connection?  Wireless Internet is yet one more tool to use in the continual evolution toward Real-time Energy Management. 

One of most exciting new technologies today is Wireless Internet Service. It became evident to me how quickly this technology is growing when my family recently visited four Universities, all of which touted wireless Internet access. This Internet technology is called Wireless Fidelity (WI-FI) and a recent New York Times article noted that one can walk down any street in lower Manhattan continually surfing the Web. WI-FI is the reason and it is so pervasive that computers with Intel's centrino™ mobile technology or an "802.11b card" can literally hop from one WI-FI network to another. 

Real-time Energy Dashboard™  the next new thing in Building Automation

As both author and a System Integrator this entire topic has been an ongoing focus. The result of those efforts is a product called the Real-time Energy Dashboard™. Please note that this is not intended to be an advertisement, but this concept is so new that it is easiest to describe it by showing a real example, and of course it also answers the question above. The concept of dashboards has been growing in popularity for several years in the Information Technology business. Much as Ken discussed in his Engineered Systems treatise, the dashboard can be, in effect, a home page for a building. However it has the potential to be much more! The simple fact is that there is data trapped, and sometimes hoarded, in microcosms throughout any organization. Facility managers have data that only they usually get to see, and so does accounting, finance, purchasing, etc. In most cases these and other groups are more than happy to share the information that they have, but in order to get at it a user must be proficient with special hardware and software, as well as go to someone's office. The dashboard concept is based upon the definition of Web Services, which simply stated is a process that makes it possible for information to be shared between many different systems, that was previously not shared and not available, via the Internet.

Economy Drives Convergence  The first advantage of convergence is installed cost.

The first advantage of convergence is installed cost. It's less expensive for the BAS to use multi-function cabling and technology already installed for other enterprise networking applications: email, sales data, collaboration tools, and others. What's more, enterprise networks are correctly seen as mission critical. As a result, these networks usually are high-performance, capable of carrying a vast amount of application data at high speed with good security and reliability. 

Access and reach are two more advantages that enterprise networks offer BAS systems. By their nature, enterprise networks reach out to points throughout a company or institution where a traditional BAS, until very recently, had limited or no means to communicate. When a BAS uses an enterprise network, the BAS and its users benefit from this expanded reach. Just as Simone in Fresno can send email with a spreadsheet attached back to the corporate office in Toledo, the BAS in Fresno can automatically share energy usage reports and other operating data with the Toledo office. The corporate facilities manager now has an unprecedented ability to keep tabs on increasingly dispersed holdings in real time, a great benefit to controlling costs in an energy-sensitive economy.


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