EMAIL INTERVIEW - David Oshoway & Ken Sinclair
David Oshoway, Integration Division, Practice Lead, Canem Systems Ltd.
David Oshoway has been application engineer for companies such as
Honeywell Ltd., Energrated Systems (Delta Controls), Energetic Concepts
Ltd and Canem Systems for the past 27 years. With a strong electrical/mechanical background David has combined
computer skills, database design, systems knowledge and engineering to
move into open platform integration of building control systems, energy
engineering and specification writing.
A Vendor Neutral Integrator
systems integration is a natural progression to tie all that they offered as an electrical contractor.
Sinclair: Since our last interview in September of 2009 what have you been up to?
Oshoway: Since we last discussed the acquisition of Richards-Zeta by
Cisco Systems much has changed. My company, Energetic Concepts Ltd was
acquired by Canem Systems Ltd. who I now work for as the Practice Lead
of the Systems Integration Division.
Sinclair: So Canem Systems has expanded from electrical contracting into systems integration?
Oshoway: Yes and more. Canem has always been good at electrical and
data systems installations and now sees a logical fit with building
systems integration. It is a natural progression to tie all that they offer together.
Sinclair: What are these other offerings?
Oshoway: The other divisions include lighting, security, data centres,
roll outs, facilities life cycle management, financial modeling as well
as HVAC automation.
Sinclair: How does integration tie these together?
Oshoway: We have been working for several years now transforming from a
simple open platform host in buildings using Cisco Mediator, to become
a remote cloud service encompassing an application engine, a portal
with tools and an open platform database which we host for our clients.
The portal is a matrix which provides security and a path for the user
based on email address and password to the correct site(s) they are
authorized for. The portal provides a graphic interface and tools to
access the database for trend logs, energy charts, alarm logs, trouble
tickets, operator logs, alarm logs and of course financial dashboards.
Sinclair: What is the purpose of collecting all of this data from all the systems into a database?
Oshoway: Data such as meter readings, energy alerts, trend logs, trouble
tickets, operator logs, alarm logs, health of devices and financial
information is collected on a regular interval from points in the
of this data is used to construct useful information in the form of
reports, energy charts, life cycle reports and more. The life cycle log
of the facility operations and performance will contribute to upgrading
the value of a facility by providing energy and maintenance profiles
similar to the log entries of service done on aircraft.
understand integration of building systems but what is financial
Oshoway: There are three layers of integration. Layer one is
specification writing to bring the silos (HVAC, Electrical and
Information Transport Systems) together. The second layer is
integration of all building system disciplines and manufacturers. The
third layer is financial integration. Financial integration is the
ability to offer a real time score card to the Chief Financial Officer
and others to track how the facility is operating based on their input
of costs and revenue, variable costs from metering input and carbon
costs all converted to operating dollars and continuously stored in a
database for the life cycle of the facility.
Sinclair: How do
you keep financial information safe when it is accessed from the portal?
Oshoway: The application engine portal is encrypted (https://) as
banking information when accessing a bank account over the
Oshoway: Canem Systems is not an equipment manufacturer so we
vested interest in selling a particular product family of devices. This
is what separates us from the Vendors as a Vendor neutral Integrator.
We invite Vendors to install their equipment in our Centre and book
time with their clients to show case. We offer our clients the ability
to come into our Centre for Building Performance to review and compare
the performance of different manufacturer’s systems. The client can
review a complete system from a manufacturer or choose multi vendor
components to complete a best in class or least expensive in class
model for their facility. Some clients will choose more than one system
for purposes of Bid Specification.
Sinclair: As a
Cloud Service what do you offer?
Oshoway: As a Cloud Service we offer our clients remote
analysis with first response to alarms and operator trouble tickets.
The trouble ticket system allows operators to book a trouble ticket
which is entered into the database with an automated response and our
monitoring centre responds with analysis and solution usually within an
hour. If a problem requires more in depth solution we will get the
operator involved and last course of action we will attend with an
onsite visit. This procedure usually saves the cost of onsite visits,
travel and truck charges.
Cloud service we also host an open platform database to securely
store all the data from a client’s facility. The control website we
create for the facility is complimented by the data storage and creates
what we call TBIS (Total Building Information System) profiling the
building operations, maintenance records and energy usage for the life
cycle of the facility. This record log increases the value of the
facility over time as it proves the facilities condition and
the ITS, Electrical and Mechanical Consultants receptive to the
Oshoway: The integrator’s place is at the design table to
and insure all of the consultants are working in harmony. However it is
difficult to break into the traditional model. Of the consultants we
have spoken to they are in favour of the change to the standard boiler
plate they usually provide. There have been some signs of stress as to
the process of the integrator interfering with their direct control of
vendors. This is the reason for writing the National Master Code
plug-in. Once the consultants have agreed and their specifications have
modified by the plug-in they will realize they have more control over
their vendors and increased cooperation with consultants of different
divisions. The integrator will no longer be intervening in their
business because of devices not being compatible. It’s a win-win for
everyone concerned and the integrator does not have to be at the design
about the cost of completely integrated facilities with
remote monitoring and all the information collection to database for
Oshoway: Well, the cost of duplication is avoided, it uses one
cabling system instead of several, POE (power over Ethernet) is more
efficient than power wiring to devices and open protocols allow the
versatility of interchange ability in manufacturer’ products. The
facility is basically future proofed and when you include life cycle
costs it is less expensive over time.
like the automobile industry. There is a balance of what people
are willing to pay and how they perceive value. Once you drive an
automobile with automatic windows, cruise control, back up cameras, GPS
navigation, adaptive cruise control and better fuel economy would you
go back to a model with role up windows and none of the above?
Especially if they removed the dashboard so you have no idea of what
speed or how much gas you are using?
about existing systems?
Oshoway: The intent of writing a plug-in specification to the
Master Specification is to move the commercial buildings industry into
a position with the future in mind. From this point forward, the
specification is designed to move away from RS485 sub networks such as
BACnet MSTP and ModBus RTU to an open platform with protocols such as
BACnet IP, ModBus IP and LonWorks IP and TCP/IP which utilize the ITS
(Information Transport System) infrastructure common to most buildings.
There are different models whether fibre pairs are dedicated to
separate switches for building systems in common ITS closets or share
common fibre backbone and be integrated and firewalled from secure ITS
operations. Any existing building systems will have to be audited to
determine if their life is extendable. Many systems are capable of
being assimilated as a legacy network to extend their life cycle.
you maintain the existing RS485 networks such as BACnet MSTP?
Oshoway: Yes. The existing subnets such as BACnet MSTP are
but not future worthy in new construction. In ten years we believe most
manufacturers will be using ITS common infrastructure ports or wireless
on their devices. Where wireless is not feasible a retrofit will have
to include upgrading RS485 wiring to CAT6 or higher to conform. In the
life cycle picture it is more economical to plan and install ITS wiring
once instead of RS485 wiring now and retrofitting new infrastructure
later. Take for instance the ITS closets and racks. If they are not
designed for the future how will you add switches to a full rack? Was
ITS Backbone designed with future pairs or not? It becomes a major
have you seen in lighting technology?
Oshoway: Lately we have seen a shift from proprietary systems to
platform IP addressable ballasts and even LED technology that a
dimmable LED lamp will be served directly from the ITS switch with POE
(power over Ethernet). The POE switches are now capable of 25.5 watts
at 48 volts. Future versions are pushing 60 watts which will power two
28 watt LEDs from one switch port.
about Security Systems?
Oshoway: Security systems have not paid much attention to sharing
information in the past as they tend to think in terms of keeping
everybody outside. However, we have developed interfaces to specific
systems to read the event messages and control lighting and HVAC. Newer
designs have a more open platform that allows us to interface via
TCP/IP, BACnet IP and OBIX making the task much easier to read and
respond to the event messages.
Oshoway: At present we are using I-phones, I-Pads, PCs, Laptops
Digital media of all types such as touch screens. It is really
interesting to see the ability of a security guard walking the facility
with an I-pad supporting multiple camera views instead of monitoring in
a security office which required many screens. Another scenario is an
operator changing a setpoint in a fan room on his I-phone and receiving
email alarms without having to return to the operator station to view
alarms. It frees up operators time.
Sinclair: To conclude?
Oshoway: We are now into a major paradigm shift from standalone
to one inclusive system. The last major paradigm shift was in the 1980s
when the commercial industry went from 45 years of pneumatic control to
electronic control. Many stakeholders sat back and waited to see if
electronics would pan out. Now pneumatic control has faded into
obsolescence. It took years for innovation oriented companies to prove
the benefits and now electronics are common place. The same
obsolescence will happen to standalone systems. But in the facility
life cycle costing they will be more expensive to replace than to go
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