July 2018

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Zach NetsovEMAIL INTERVIEW  - Ken Sinclair and Zach Netsov

Zach Netsov, Product Specialist, Contemporary Controls

Zach Netsov is a Product Specialist at Contemporary Controls focused on the BASautomation line of products which provide solutions for both small and scalable building management. He received his BSEE from DeVry University with a concentration in renewable energy. At Contemporary Controls, Zach is part of the team that championed the design and creation of a BASpi I/O board for Raspberry Pi.

New Building Automation Blog Now Available

I started the blog – to create an interactive dialog with the building controls community.

This month, Contemporary Controls’ launched a building automation blog for building automation professionals and enthusiasts sub-titled “Building on Open Control.” The blog is written by Zach Netsov, who is a Product Specialist at Contemporary Controls for their BASautomation line of products.

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Sinclair: Congratulations on the launch of the Building Automation Blog focused on open control but what does open control mean to you?

Netsov: To me, the open control means freedom to choose the controller I want from like choices. These choices need to share the same communications protocol, need to share the same programming language, need to support compatible programming tools, and finally, need to be available to anyone in the community who wants such a controller. My company Contemporary Controls supports these ideals in their BAScontrol line of controllers by using IP/Ethernet as the networking technology, BACnet as the communications protocol, Sedona as the programming language and Sedona Applications Editor as the programming tool. This product line is available without restriction to anyone in the HVAC controls community. 

But what choices will “open software – open hardware” bring to our industry?  I have some ideas, but I want to understand what others say.  That is why I started the blog – to create an interactive dialog with the building controls community.

Sinclair:  Define your building controls community.

Netsov: I consider the building controls community consisting of specifying engineers, controls manufacturers, controls distributors, control contractors, systems integrators, building operators, and HVAC educators. I know I have thrown a big net, but everyone who has something to say is welcome to exchange ideas and experiences.

Sinclair:  All are welcome but will they have something to say?  The building automation industry is well established and set in their ways.

Control Solutions, Inc Netsov: And that is why this industry is vulnerable to distributive technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), low-cost and high-performance micro PCs such as the Raspberry Pi, and numerous open wireless technologies. None of this is controlled by the building automation industry – we are just customers of these technologies.  How are cloud services from the likes of Amazon and Google going to impact the industry?  Is FreeRTOS going to be the next big OS due to Amazon’s dominance? Is the traditional building controller now obsolete? I hope to discuss these topics and others with the community I am creating.

I know people are interested in open controls. In a product line, we call DIY (Do It Yourself), we recently released a 12-point I/O board for the Raspberry Pi along with a BACnet server and Sedona virtual machine that runs on the Pi and asked people to tell us how they used them.  Within weeks they had them installed on jobs for applications we would never assume. In addition, we got questions and suggestions on how to make it better for them. There is interest, and many are willing to share stories.  

Sinclair:  How often do you plan to update the blog?

Netsov: Right now, we’re updating the blog about once a week. We publish when we have relevant material for our audience. We already reach out to our customers once a month with our newsletter that contains product updates and company news. Our blog has more frequent, shorter updates specifically for the building automation audience. You can read the blog at – be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!


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