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EMAIL INTERVIEW - Jon Williamson & Ken Sinclair
Jon Williamson, BACnet Conference & Expo, Chairman
Sinclair: The BACnet protocol is well recognized as a popular open protocol, what can we expect from the BACnet Conference & Expo?
Williamson: The BACnet Conference and Expo is designed as an educational event for end users and consultants. The need for interoperability and open protocols is getting to be well understood. The conference will answer many of the questions surrounding the use of open protocols and making them work efficiently and effectively for the building owner. The BACnet protocol provides much more than a way to share data. The BACnet protocol can also provide interoperable trends, schedules, alarms and device management. The attendees will learn how to utilize the full power of BACnet to their advantage.
Sinclair: When it comes to interoperability, building owners can be skeptical about the end result. Are you addressing this concern?
Williamson: That's why we are making the "Expo" portion of the conference much different than expos where each booth is its own island. Dozens of the vendor booths will be wired together and connected for BACnet interoperability at the BACnet Conference. On October 25th, a formal demo of multi-vendor, multi-system BACnet interoperability will be given. You are right; it has come to the point where building owners say, "I'll believe it when I see it!" At the BACnet Conference & Expo, they will be able to see BACnet in action.
Sinclair: Will the conference be geared for the BACnet newbie or the seasoned BACnet veteran?
Williamson: The conference will have educational programs for every level of BACnet background knowledge. General Sessions will present topics that will interest all attendees such as the "BACnet State of the Union Address," the "Future of BACnet" discussion and, not to forget, the Interoperability Demo. Breakout sessions will be designed to let attendees choose between introductory BACnet topics and more advanced BACnet topics.
Sinclair: Who is putting the BACnet Conference & Expo together?
Williamson: The BACnet Conference & Expo is a joint effort between the BACnet Interest Group of North America (BIG-NA) and the BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA). Past conferences have shown that the team really works well together. The BIG-NA is a user group formed around the BACnet technology; they understand the problems that a facility manager faces everyday. The BMA is the governing body of the BACnet Testing Labs (BTL), which assures BACnet products adhere to the standard. Having both groups design the conference program has led to content that allows the attendee to explore both perspectives of the building automation community.
Sinclair: Have you received any endorsements?
Williamson: Yes, we are proud to have ASHRAE as an endorsing organization of the BACnet Conference. ASHRAE is the organization that created BACnet and continues to evolve this international standard. It means a lot to our attendees to know that we are representing the BACnet protocol in an appropriate manner.
Sinclair: How can someone register for the conference?
Williamson: A special website has been created just for the conference - www.BACnetConference.org. From this website, the perspective attendee can view show information and register online. If you register early, you also receive a discount for the conference. Discounts are available for government and educational attendees. There is also a link to the Nashville Airport Marriott registration site, where the attendee can receive a hotel discount by entering a conference code.
Sinclair: How is this year's BACnet conference different from other years?
Williamson: The scale - it's bigger. It has to be bigger to accommodate the growth of BACnet.
Sinclair: Is that what is meant by this year's theme "More freedom than ever"?
Williamson: Exactly! There are more BACnet sites then ever, more BACnet products than ever, and more BTL-listed products than ever. BACnet is all about a choice in controls solutions, which give the end user - "More freedom than ever."
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