BTL Mark: Resolve interoperability issues & increase buyer confidence
BACnet International year in review
Over the last few years it seems that fewer Christmas cards are showing up in my mailbox and more Christmas cards are showing up in my inbox. I’ve also noticed an increase in “holiday letters” accompanying both types of cards. The holiday letters I receive from people I know generally provide a recap of events in their lives over the last year. I like these letters because they help me stay connected and alert me to opportunities for encouragement, congratulations and generally deepening connections. In fact, I like it so much that I’ve decided to use this month’s column as something of a BACnet International “holiday letter” addressed to the building owner/operator and automation communities.
It has been a busy year at BACnet International with an expanded set of events. We started the year at the AHR show with the BACnet International booth in what has become a traditional gathering of BACnet suppliers. In June we sponsored our first-ever BACnet educational webcast. It was directed toward building owners and operators and garnered over 500 viewers during the live webcast and many more who subsequently viewed the recording. Rolling into the fall BACnet International worked with the Facility Decisions show to bring BACnet conference sessions, supplier and products to the attention of more than 1500 attendees. We followed that up in October with the largest-ever plugfest in Atlanta and our co-sponsorship of the first BACnet China conference in Beijing.
2009 was also a significant year for BACnet International in the area of education. After several years of work and preparation, the BACnet International Education Committee is finally up and running. You can expect to see some innovative results from this group over the coming year. Plans were also completed this year for a BACnet International print journal. The first issue will be out shortly and will provide case studies and other useful information for building owners and operators. Finally, BACnet International and the BACnet Interest Group – Europe (BIG-EU) completed the final steps toward establishing a single, integrated listing for all products that have successfully completed BTL qualified testing. No longer will users have to check multiple websites to find information on tested products. A single link from www.bacnetinternational.com will have it all.
BACnet International has spent a lot of time this year on a variety of evaluations. The most important, the evaluation of product interoperability is the responsibility of the BTL and we made a lot of progress in that arena. Over the summer we were able to announce the test results for the first Operator Workstations tested by the BTL. We also made substantial progress in getting the BTL lab accredited according to ISO procedures. That work should be complete sometime in the first quarter of 2010. At the same time we have reached an agreement in principle with MBS Software that will allow the BTL to utilize the BACnet Testing Framework tool in future testing efforts. The agreement also has provisions that will allow BACnet International members to purchase copies of the tool at a discount so they can do extensive pre-testing on their own. Along with tools and tests, another change at the BTL this year is the leadership. After several years of dedicated work with BACnet International as the BTL Manager, Lori Tribble has moved on to other challenges. Her successor, Duffy O’Craven is onboard and ready to take the BTL to the next level.
(Ok, this section should be titled “Membership” but I kind of feel like I’m on a roll with the “E’s” so we’re going with “Enrollment.”) BACnet International continues to grow, keeping pace with the increasing dominance of BACnet in the marketplace. We added seventeen new corporate members during 2009 and we added over 1000 individual members. Of course membership growth by itself does not accomplish anything but we have high hopes that our increased membership will allow us to better develop and deploy educational content and build constructive member networking opportunities.
While the economic environment in 2009 was difficult, BACnet’s ability to benefit energy efficiency and improve project integration made it a good year for BACnet and for BACnet International. In 2009 as in every year, though, it is our volunteers that made it happen and we enter the New Year grateful for every one of them.
As always, the views expressed in this column are mine and do not necessarily reflect the position of BACnet International, Teletrol Systems, Philips, ASHRAE, or any other organization. If you want to send comments to me directly, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
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