February 2005
Interview
AutomatedBuildings.com

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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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EMAIL INTERVIEW  Mark Noyes, Andy May & Ken Sinclair

Mark A. Noyes, CEO & President, WebGen Systems
Andy May, President & CEO, Millennial Net


Wireless Sensor Networking Brings New Opportunities to Energy Management

One of the exciting characteristics of wireless sensor networking is that it really does open up possibilities for new products and services and creates flexibility in systems that have not traditionally been flexible.

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Sinclair:  WebGen just announced a new wireless product. What is it and why is it unique?

Noyes:  Yes Ken! It’s unique since this is our introduction of a fully-integrated wireless solution with WebGen’s award-winning enterprise energy management system, IUE (Intelligent Use of Energy). By integrating Millennial Net’s Mesh485 with IUE, we now deliver a wireless sensor network system for energy management. This is an exciting addition to our product line because it changes the economics and feasibility of implementing an energy management system in many types of buildings particularly small or complex buildings by eliminating wiring requirements.

May:  Wiring can be a huge barrier to implementing energy management and other building automation systems. Wiring is always expensive, but in some case it may be prohibitively so or even impossible.

We’re therefore seeing a high degree of interest from many segments of the Building Automation market for our wireless sensor networking products which fundamentally change the economics of installing monitoring and control systems in many types of buildings. For example, in some old buildings, there may be asbestos or other hazardous materials in the walls and opening them up for rewiring is undesirable. Now, these issues are no longer barriers to implementing an energy management system like the wireless IUE.

Sinclair:  What role did Millennial Net play in this new product?

Noyes:  In early 2004 we made a decision to implement a wireless capability into our energy management system. After reviewing the technologies and products on the market we chose to work with Millennial Net based on the reliability and scalability of their networking protocol and the ease of integration of their Mesh485 networking system. This relationship has resulted in an easy-to-install, robust, cost effective wireless energy management system.

May:  WebGen used Millennial Net’s Mesh485 product family for this integration effort. Mesh485 is the industry’s first complete wireless sensor networking system developed specifically to replace RS-485 cabling. Our goal with this product line to enable building automation OEMs to quickly develop wireless solutions utilizing existing RS-485 interfaces. Our system and building automation expertise delivered the wireless component WebGen needed and allowed them to concentrate on their core competency: enterprise energy management systems.

Sinclair:  What does this mean to WebGen’s customers?

Noyes:  Our system traditionally works very well for larger buildings those that typically already have a full building automation networking infrastructure installed. Adding a wireless product to our energy management system portfolio enables us to deliver greater value to those customers because it provides an alternative that they can easily roll out to some smaller buildings in their portfolio.

May:  One of the exciting characteristics of wireless sensor networking is that it really does open up possibilities for new products and services and creates flexibility in systems that have not traditionally been flexible.

CatNet Systems Sinclair:  It sounds like the wireless product can also open up new opportunities for you.

Noyes:  Having a wireless solution available for our customers expands the existing markets. The economic model of wireless can be very cost effective for many small or complex buildings. Today, over 50% of commercial buildings in the market are 50,000 square feet or less in size, so it is important to have alternative solutions to match the diverse needs of this segment of the market.

May:   We’re seeing this trend among all of our customers. Once they see the power of the technology and the relative ease of development, the potential of brand new markets and offerings are suddenly within reach.

Sinclair:  How can our readers find out more about these products?

Noyes:  Information on WebGen’s IUE is available on our Web site at www.webgensystems.com. We can also be reached at (617) 349-0724 by phone or at wgsales@webgensystems.com by e-mail.

May:  For information on Millennial Net’s Mesh485, readers can call us at (781) 222-1030 or they can e-mail us at sales@millennialnet.com.

See February's Press Release WebGen Systems and Millennial Net:  Take Energy Management Wireless

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