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February 2020
Interview

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Andy McMillanEMAIL INTERVIEWAndy McMillan and Ken Sinclair

Andy McMillan is President and Managing Director of BACnet International, where he works with users and suppliers to expand and enhance the BACnet community. Previously he served as President of a building automation and energy management business unit of Philips Lighting. Andy has been an invited speaker on BACnet and open systems at conferences around the world. He has been awarded a dozen patents, has co-authored a book on data communications and his background includes BSEE and MBA degrees.

BACnet/SC Interoperability Acceleration Program

BACnet/SC, short for BACnet Secure Connect, is a new addendum to the BACnet standard that addresses important cybersecurity concerns.

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Sinclair:  Hi Andy!  We have heard a lot about BACnet/SC lately. We have also heard about a new program offered by BACnet International called the “BACnet/SC Interoperability Acceleration Program.”  We have a couple of questions we would like to ask you about these. First of all, what is BACnet/SC?

McMillan:  BACnet/SC, short for BACnet Secure Connect, is a new addendum to the BACnet standard that addresses important cybersecurity concerns. It uses standard IT mechanisms to provide data encryption for communications among controllers in building automation systems.

Sinclair:  How does BACnet/SC relate to existing BACnet systems using BACnet/IP and BACnet MS/TP?

McMillan:  BACnet/SC is an additional Data Link Layer option in the standard and does not affect BACnet objects, properties or commands. In that sense, BACnet/SC is just another lower layer choice, like BACnet/IP and BACnet MS/TP.  BACnet/SC utilizes standard IT networks and components, so it is highly compatible with the IT networks in most buildings.

Sinclair:  So, what is the BACnet/SC Interoperability Acceleration Program?

McMillan:  The BACnet/SC Interoperability Acceleration Program is a collaborative industry project administered by BACnet International to help suppliers rapidly incorporate BACnet/SC in their products. It gives participants access to education, software and a supportive technical community for BACnet/SC.  Program deliverables include a reference implementation of BACnet devices, technical webinars, a technical forum and a multi-vendor BACnet/SC interoperability test service.  The goal is to ensure broad availability of BACnet/SC products that are interoperable.

Sinclair:  What benefits would a supplier gain by participating in the program?

McMillan:  Suppliers participating in the program have the opportunity to rapidly get their technical staff up to speed on the BACnet/SC technical specification as well as critical implementation issues. In addition, suppliers will get source code copies of the reference implementation that they can use for internal testing or as the basis for their own products.

Sinclair:  Who can join the program?

McMillan:  Any organization that wants to learn more about BACnet/SC device implementation and system issues can join.

Sinclair:  What does the program cost?

McMillan:  BACnet International members can join for $5,000 and non-members can join for $11,000.  Approved academic institutions with interest and expertise in BACnet/SC can join at no cost.

Sinclair:  Why was this program initiated?

McMillan:  Cybersecurity in building automation systems is becoming more important as the industry embraces connected buildings and Smart Cities. BACnet/SC addresses an important part of the cybersecurity puzzle. So, accelerating the availability and adoption of interoperable BACnet/SC is an important objective for the whole BACnet community.

More information can be found at bacnetinternational.org/secureconnect.

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