December 2020

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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Welcome to Connectivity
Exploring the world of IT, OT, and IoT.

Stephen Dawson-Haggerty
Co-founder of Comfy (a Siemens Company); systems and networking expert.

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“stepping back” to think more broadly about connectivity, data, and cloud technology to make the world better.


Hi! Having been immersed in the world of “smart buildings” for the past ten or so years, first at U.C. Berkeley and then at Comfy, a company I founded and grew, I now have both the time on my hands and an interest in “stepping back” to think more broadly about connectivity, data, and cloud technology to make the world better.

What is this blog about?

Broadly, it’s about connectivity. It’s about how ubiquitous connectivity is changing the world in one way or another; and the technologies that make it possible. Over the years, increasing connectivity has had many names — who remembers “M2M”, “sensor networks”, or “human area networks.” But overall the trend towards “mostly on” connectivity for increasingly small devices at increasingly low prices has been clear.

This blog is about how that connectivity is achieved, what technologies are involved, and particularly, if and why it’s desirable in the first place. My goal is to delve into topics and questions that interest me; not necessarily to tell a coherent story.

To give you an inkling of what’s in store, some upcoming posts:

I hope you enjoy!

A long time ago, “interoperability” for automation and controls was actually pretty simple. Because systems usually weren’t networked, you just had to make sure that the vendor implemented a relatively simple standard like Modbus, HART, or even BACnet; as long as you had the data sheet and a competent controls tech, you could plug your shiny new controller into whatever other system you had with some arcane register-fu. Systems were interoperable (although not usually interchangeable): get tired of one vendor, and you could generally rip out one and reprogram your other controllers to talk to it.

Fast forward (a lot), to today. Most vendors of sensors and primary automation systems (motion controllers, thermostats, PLCs, etc) still rely on the same field-level protocols; but now also offer “cloud adaptors.” GE Current is one example of such a controller — but nearly every vendor now offers a service to connect the on premise offering to the cloud.


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