Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
The Future of BAS Manufacturers
I believe that analytics and artificial intelligence needs to trickle down into the firmware of DDC controllers to have the maximum impact.
Ira Goldschmidt, P.E., LEEDŽAP
February Issue - BAS Column
I’d like to continue my exploration of the present/future BAS challenges by addressing….
Where Have All of the Manufacturers Gone?
Over the past
35yrs. or so we have seen two expansions and contractions in the number
of commercial controls manufacturers. Prior to the 1980’s dawn of
DDC, there were the “Big 5“ manufacturers of pneumatic controls:
Barber-Colman, Honeywell, Johnson Controls (“JCI”), MCC Powers (now
Siemens) and Robertshaw.
Since then there’s been the:
The second contraction has seemingly led a return of the “Big 5”: Honeywell, JCI, Schneider, Siemens, and Tridium. Is this ‘Back to the Future’? - yes and no. Yes because, like the 1970’s days of pneumatics, the lack of a “market disruptor” has led to a stasis in technical advancement. However, history never repeats itself perfectly, so there are some important differences:
does this mean for the future? One possibility is the market
acceptance of the Tridium platform as a de facto standard.
This could lead to a further implosion of the manufacturer
choices. I doubt that this will happen given the strength of
JCI/Siemens/Schneider whose main offerings are not Tridium-based.
But even without this Tridium “takeover” I only see further contraction
in the market. More of the non-“Big 5” manufacturers will
continue to disappear unless they start offering some trend-setting
Fortunately, a new market disruption cycle is underway which could lead to another expansion of BAS manufacturers. There is an overwhelming need for the application of more intelligence to BAS’s (why are manually-tuned PID loops still the norm?). Facility Analytics is already showing some promise of providing this “intelligence” and perhaps being this market disruptor. However, this technology currently operates “above” the BAS level - will this continue and further the commoditization of DDC controls? Hopefully not….
Instead, I believe that analytics and artificial intelligence needs to trickle down into the firmware of DDC controllers to have the maximum impact. Who will be the market disrupters that make this happen and lead to the next expansion?
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