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Intelligent Commissioning for Smart Buildings

Remote commissioning defines the communication between the commissioned and the target device.

Marian HonschMarian Hönsch,
Remote Commissioning Team Leader, Technical Working Group,
EnOcean Alliance

The EnOcean Alliance defined a standardized process to pave the way for remote commissioning of EnOcean-based devices in building automation networks. This enables installers and system integrators to remotely connect batteryless wireless devices using a central tool. At the same time, the specification allows complete documentation of existing networks and offers therefore a comfortable and practicable way to expand or change installations. This brings interoperability in building automation to the next level.

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Energy harvesting wireless solutions capture more and more application fields in a building system. This also breaks down the boundaries between individual disciplines, crossing separate areas to an intelligent overall system. That’s what today’s expectations towards building automation are. But these expectations put new challenges to system integrators and installers as they make a system’s planning, implementation and operation more complex.

In regard to this development, the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the EnOcean Alliance has developed a complete process for remote commissioning that includes initial set-up, parameterization, control, maintenance and documentation of batteryless wireless devices. The target is to define a uniform approach for all of the listed procedures as a next level of interoperability.

Common rules

Remote commissioning defines the communication between the commissioned and the target device. Basis for this is the specification of an interoperable interface that product manufacturers can integrate in their devices. It adds to the existing standardized profiles and offers an enhanced interoperability by defining abstract structure of the commands and basic rules for remote access, configuration and a uniform procedure of parameterizing EnOcean-based devices in the field. The communication is based on Generic Profiles data description language, the grammatical rules for all options of data encoding for ultra-low power and energy harvesting radio communication. These also specify how a managing device, a smart phone for example, talks with the target device.

Consistent device description

In addition to the commissioning process, the TWG has introduced a standardized file for device description that describes the device and its functionalities in detail in a pre-defined electronic data sheet. It comes along with a uniform device labeling which is composed of the EnOcean ID (communication basis) and the product ID (reference to manufacturers’ specific end-application). All this information will be available on a central data base. Installers or system operators can use a device’s ID to find the detailed electronic data sheet. That way, they have immediate access to all specifics of the product including the application profiles in use (EnOcean Equipment Profiles, EEP), operational modes and the requirements of parameterization. This significantly eases set-up and maintenance of an EnOcean network.

The specification has an open character so that manufacturers and service providers can develop several tools such as apps and web interfaces that include all functionalities of the remote commissioning. This will provide installers and system operators with user-friendly solutions to configure, control and maintain automation systems.

One specification for several tasks

The standardized interface and processes of remote commissioning are intended to further optimize the control and configuration of building automation networks by using software that automates the support for EnOcean-based devices.

All together, remote commissioning has the following tasks:

Remote Commissioning

The remote commissioning process is based on the EnOcean Alliance’s strong eco-system of more than 1,200 products and consists of the three pillars interoperable communication standard, standardized feature description including unified product labeling and commissioning tools.

Different use case scenarios

The functionalities of remote commissioning provide benefits in several scenarios. First of all, it helps to centralize and record the teach-in process. This not only eases the implementation and network of energy harvesting wireless devices. It also enables system planners to reproduce the implementation at any time, even after years. That way, they can adapt the process or change it for new devices or when the network structure needs to be changed. When a new network is installed, all parameterization can be done by one central commissioning tool. The user just needs to scan the device and transmit this information to the actuator. All necessary information including IDs and functionalities are transformed with one single step and stored centrally for configuration purposes.

Adjustments of an existing network

In an already installed network, the existing devices can be commissioned afterwards. This is particularly interesting for areas where rooms have a similar design, as in a hotel for example. Here the same commissioning procedure can be repeated several times for different target devices. Another scenario is the change of control parameters of intelligent actuators, for example thresholds and timers in local HVAC equipment or if the room structure in office buildings is changed. The complete process of re-configuration can be done during operation via remote control without touching a single device. Nevertheless, this might affect the configuration of the application or of the entire system, which can also be done with the remote commissioning tool.

Service and maintenance

contemporary The comprehensive documentation as a vital part of the remote commissioning process can also be used to set up a comprehensive monitoring application to visualize and actively control a live network. For this, visualization tools give an overview of the documented system structure (plans, drawings, descriptions, tables etc.) that, for example, allows users to identify and solve potential problems in operation.  The same functionality can also help to determine malfunctions and the affected devices very quickly. In addition, the specifics of remote commissioning also ease the replacement of the non-functioning device. For a smooth replacement process, the new device should support the same application profiles (EEP) as the previous one. Installers can find this information in the product labeling, which they can access in the central data base. Besides this, the application configuration needs to be restored in the new hardware. In this case, the new device can be commissioned in accordance with the documented and previously stored link tables and application configuration of the old device. This guarantees a seamless product change without any system failure.

With remote commissioning, the EnOcean Alliance has defined a new standard for the set-up and operation of intelligently automated buildings. This significantly eases the work of planners, installers and system integrators. At the same time, it strengthens the interoperability of EnOcean-based devices as the installer doesn’t need to deal with the specifics of a device anymore. As of now, manufacturers can integrate the standardized specification in their devices and develop tools for central control, configuration and troubleshooting – bringing the intelligence of a smart building to the next level. 

About the Author

Marian Hönsch is Product Manager and Software Architect at EnOcean. In this position, he is responsible for EnOcean software products and security concepts. In the EnOcean Alliance, he actively contributes to the Technical Working Group, where he leads the Remote Commissioning and Generic Profiles team. In addition, he is a member of the Alliance’s EEP Approval Committee. Marian holds a Bachelor's in Informatics and a Master of Science magna cum laude in Software Engineering.


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