June 2016
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BAS and IOT

It is fairly probable that the movement to IOT is also going to change how we look at BAS, controls and integration.

Paul Ehrlich, Ira Goldschmidt & Angela Lewis
Building Intelligence Group

As published
Engineered Systems 
June Issue - BAS Column


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There is a fair amount of press about the concept of the “Internet of Things” – or as it is commonly abbreviated, IOT.  The concept of IOT is simply defined as a network of physical devices.  Analysts are tripping over each other to estimate how pervasive this trend will be.  One predicts 20 billion devices to be connected by 2020 while another counters that it will be 30 billion.  Certainly this seems like a phenomenon!  Still, for those of us involved in building automation systems (BAS), this seems like a rehash of the same trend played out over and over again.  Remember when it was called M2M (machine to machine), and back before that when we just called it controls?  After all, is IOT really any different than what we have been doing with networked, and in many cases, Internet connected controls for the last several decades? 

The answer to this question is complicated.  In many ways, building and industrial control systems have largely pre-dated IOT.  What is a BAS other than a network of sensors, actuators and control logic?  The evolution of BAS has included moving from proprietary to open protocols, and from the use of exclusively dedicated networks to the ability to co-exist on an enterprise network.  In many ways, the many millions of connected nodes on BAS networks are already part of the IOT trend.

Reliable Controls At the same time, it is fairly probable that the movement to IOT is also going to change how we look at BAS, controls and integration.  Here are some likely changes to expect:

Of course, all of this raises an interesting question: “Will we have a BAS in the future or is it just part of the IOT?”  My opinion is that we will continue to need a way to safely, efficiently and reliably control building systems. The need to have qualified designers, suppliers, contractors, and operators who understand electrical and mechanical systems as well as controls and IT doesn’t go away.  Perhaps what we call a building control system in the future changes, but the basics of good control remain the same.




About the Authors

Paul and IraPaul and IraPaul and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and Developers. More information can be found at www.buildingintelligencegroup.com  We also invite you to contact us directly at Paul@buildingintelligencegroup.com or ira@buildingintelligencegroup.com




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