Article - March 2003
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What exactly is an "open system"? 
What are the elements . . . ingredients . . . issues? 

Dennis W. Tuft 
Vice President, Marketing
 Tridium, Inc.

Much has been written about the benefits of open systems and the state of the industry over the past few years. We've lived through the "protocol wars" (and continue to) and now are moving on towards the "Internet solution" which promises to resolve many of the issues simple protocols couldn't.

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In fact, much more than technology is at issue. What exactly is an "open system"? What are the elements . . . ingredients . . . issues? Exactly what are we trying to fix?

From the customer perspective an open system should provide freedom of choice -- the freedom to choose the best products, the best manufacturers, the best contractor agencies and the best service providers. The freedom to adapt as his business needs change, and freedom to push forward on his timetable and to adopt different technologies as needed over time. Open technologies should help the industry better meet the demands of its' customers. In today's markets, customers need to be agile. Some of the enterprise's largest assets - their facilities, are not. Agile businesses will survive the onrush of global competition, Internet marketing, shrinking boundaries . . . whatever the future brings. Agile building control solutions are necessary to allow these enterprises to accomplish their goals.

To the end user customer, "open" means much more than support for any single protocol. There are many facets of openness, including but not limited to device connectivity and support for accepted standard protocols. What about access to the solution - where can I buy, who will install, or what if I'm not happy and want to change suppliers? What about ability to readily add new enterprise applications to my facility? These are important concerns.

At Tridium, we have developed a framework technology (the Niagara Framework) to solve many of these issues. The Niagara Framework can provide customers with freedom of choice as well as an agile building control system ready to adapt as their needs grow. Many companies and end user customers have already adopted it, many are about to.

There's something in Niagara for everyone, . . . benefits to manufacturers, contractors, system integrators, independent software application providers, and most importantly end -users. Niagara: a unique framework created to solve industry issues and customer concerns. Check out our most recent discussion "The Niagara Framework: Measuring up to Open" at 

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