Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
EMAIL INTERVIEW Anto Budiardjo & Ken Sinclair
XML initiative for Buildings
Anto Budiardjo is President of Clasma,
the marketing and conference company that organized the BuilConn 2003 in Dallas on April 23-25, 2003 (www.builconn.com).
Please send comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sinclair: First, let me welcome you as a Contributing Editor for AutomatedBuildings.com.
Budiardjo: Thank you, Ken, it is a privilege to contribute to the site and more importantly to be able to help the industry in these changing times. It is quite amazing the amount of activities that I'm seeing around the subject of convergence in the building systems space.
Sinclair: I understand you are also involved with CABA's XML initiative?
Budiardjo: I have been following the group's activities since they first met at BuilConn last April. It is without a doubt one of the most promising initiatives being undertaken in this area. The impact of having an XML-based standard for buildings is perhaps the linchpin in the convergence of building systems with the IT infrastructure - it is something this industry must support in order to grow.
Sinclair: How is the support for the initiative?
Budiardjo: It seems to be industry wide; the four technical working groups are progressing with their work, and I am aware of some discussion going on with LonMark and the BACnet committee. There is a plan in place to convene a meeting in Cincinnati on October 5th, the day prior to the BACnet Conference being held there.
Sinclair: Please summarize the XML initiative for buildings.
Budiardjo: In the not too distant future, the major connectivity platform for building automation devices will be TCP/IP, maybe not to all of the field and sensor/device levels immediately, but certainly at the automation and management levels. In this respect we're talking about the integration of LonWorks, BACnet, legacy systems and native TCP/IP devices, and all of these must use the corporate IT infrastructure. Such integration can only happen with an XML and Web Services-based standard. There is actually no alternative, none at all - period.
Sinclair: Why is this initiative so important?
Budiardjo: There has never been an opportunity like this in all of the years of electronic building systems. If the industry embraces this trend three things will happen. First, the vendors of systems and devices will have a non-proprietary management level standard that will enable them to focus on their core competence - controls, sensors, tools, actuators and so on. This standard will dramatically expand the market size for those who are good at what they do. Secondly, end users will have a common way to manage or at least operate past, present and future systems in a similar manner. End users do not need to make a commitment to LonWorks, BACnet, proprietary or legacy systems - they can choose and even mix and match between them as they see fit. Lastly, when using XML / Web Services, building systems will not be a threat to IT departments. IT professionals understand the technology, they are comfortable with it and they do not need to do anything different to embrace such building systems into their networks. Like it or not, the IT folks are part of our lives from now on.
Sinclair: Is it a slam-dunk?
Budiardjo: In terms of the fundamental technologies, it is. XML is, after all, the technology being used throughout the IT industry as well as by many other industries that are wishing to leverage the full and true potential of the Internet. There are however, some significant challenges ahead that will determine how we get to the end game.
Sinclair: What are the challenges facing the XML initiative?
Budiardjo: I see three areas of challenges. First, the industry needs to support this initiative and make it happen; it will take effort, commitment and basically a lot of work to agree upon how it will be done. Secondly, there will be a whole array of new tools, products, methodologies and education that will need to be developed; integrators and manufacturers alike will need to figure out how to work with this new paradigm, and this will take time. Third is the adoption rate of this technology by end users; end-users will need to understand and be convinced that this will eventually be the answer to their integration quest. Eventually is the operative word here; the expectation of the end-user community will have to be managed in line with the evolution of products and solutions based on this technology.
Sinclair: Are there any naysayers in the industry?
Budiardjo: Overall I don't see naysayers, but I see a quite a few companies just watching and not necessarily doing much in this area. My comment on this is that those who are involved and driving this initiative will be those who will lead it and benefit from it. Those who just stand by and watch will end up trying to play catch-up, usually when it's too late.
Sinclair: What is your contribution to the XML initiative?
Budiardjo: I am leading the marketing and PR group who is responsible for communicating the initiative to the industry as well as to the end-user community.
Sinclair: This fits in well with BuilConn it seems?
Budiardjo: Yes it does. It is a subject that will be covered extensively at BuilConn 2004. I am optimistic that by then significant progress will have been made.
Sinclair: What is your recommendation to my readers?
Budiardjo: Do not underestimate the implications of what is going in our industry. Convergence, XML and the changes they are bringing about will change your business. Be actively involved with some of the groups behind these movements, or at least read AutomatedBuildings.com and attend BuilConn to keep abreast of developments.
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