Interview - January 2003
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EMAIL INTERVIEW  Glen Allmendinger & Ken Sinclair

Glen Allmendinger, is President of Harbor Research, Inc.

Pervasive Internet and Networked Building Systems Convergence

Sinclair:  What do you mean by the Pervasive Internet?

Allmendinger:  The use of the Internet (and other wide area networks) to enable many sorts of devices and systems via embedded and networking technologies to unleash new modes of client interaction and service delivery. As networks evolve to support a continuous and diverse stream of data content, monitoring and control, the Pervasive Internet will become known for three things:

By linking everyday devices to a network, a heightened degree of interaction between devices will be possible, automating tasks such as temperature and lighting control, content distribution, alert management, etc. Ultimately, all devices will become highly integrated and specialized to perform key tasks and respond to our individual preferences. With devices accessible via the Web, various parties of interest will be able to access the device (e.g., end user, product manufacturer, service provider, expert consultant, etc.). This will create a seamless service delivery platform that will better integrate the functions and services of a customer's support network. Ultimately, a customer will be able to act in real-time with individual and multiple service vendors to achieve an incredibly high level of integrated service. We believe this will have a significant impact on the building automation arena.

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Sinclair:  How does the Pervasive Internet fit into a building systems and control context?

Allmendinger:  The Pervasive Internet combines embedded intelligence, networking standards and software applications that enable communication within a building's equipment systems (e.g. HVAC, lighting, fire control, etc.), and across multiple building systems, into one central location where data can be collected, analyzed and acted upon. The result is better control, monitoring, operation and financial performance. This approach simplifies building management by standardizing access to important systems information. PI technologies in combination with industry standards like BACnet allow simple communication throughout a building's systems or across multiple systems using a common information architecture and data model. This allows building managers to easily monitor their systems and compare energy use and other data to previously established information. This allows for analysis of building data to previously established information Cimetrics analyzes building data and allows managers and service providers an ability to make recommendations on how to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency. This process of monitoring and analysis can improve building safety, save money in operating costs, and expedite decision-making.

Sinclair:  What's different about the Pervasive Internet from traditional BAS?

Allmendinger:  Unlike existing players in building control systems, who are predominantly focused on HVAC and limited systems integration, a new generation of suppliers are providing a complete, standards-based solution for networked commercial facilities, including networking, application services and consulting. The concept of the Pervasive Internet combines the physical infrastructure for networking and monitoring building systems with consulting services, applications and related value add to help companies make better decisions based on predictive data analysis and data mining. The implication behind truly pervasive intelligence and networking is the completeness of the solution: networking products, consulting services and applications.

Sinclair:  Where will this take us in the future?

Allmendinger:  The next "big thing" will be the advent of true web services in a machine-to-machine communications context. That is, information objects from a diverse range of equipment, sub-systems and devices will be able to communicate with no human intervention. Hence, a faulty motor or pump will be able to share information simultaneously with other systems, allowing for a variety of decisions to be made (predictive maintenance, electricity purchasing, operations checks, etc.)
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