Article - March 2001
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BTL Mark: Resolve interoperability issues & increase buyer confidence
BACnet Testing Laboratories

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The Vykon SolutionDennis W. Tuft 
Vice President, Marketing
Tridium Inc.

"We need to encapsulate all systems information into a common object module that can then be accessed or manipulated - without regards to its origin of manufacturer - consistently, seamlessly and from a standard Web browser."

There has been a tremendous amount of buzz recently in the building automation and controls industry about the move to integrate diverse building systems with Internet-enabled software applications. Building and facility managers need the ability to seamlessly access and control all of their systems throughout an entire facility or group of facilities. Today, these systems come from a variety of manufacturers, speak a variety of different communication standards - some open … some proprietary - and do a variety of different tasks, such as HVAC or lighting control. To add to the mix, today's building managers and occupants need widespread and easier access to control their environments, to save energy and to streamline operations.

The standardization efforts brought to the industry by BACnet™ and LonMark™ systems and devices are a great leap forward in providing interoperable products and systems. However, this interoperability is only available in and among like products. Neither deals effectively with the other's technology and neither can handle the information needs of the entire enterprise unless all products and systems are of the same standard.

Reliable Controls The solution lies in adopting technologies from the Internet and in embracing the fact that there currently are - and probably always will be - many different communication standards (such as BACnet or LonMark). Couple this with the fact that there are many different systems already installed (most likely with a proprietary communication technology) that customers need information from, and we can see that merely solving the "field bus" protocol issue is not going to provide the total solution. We need to encapsulate all systems information into a common object module that can then be accessed or manipulated - without regards to its origin of manufacturer - consistently, seamlessly and from a standard Web browser.

Enter Internet-enabled building automation systems. . . . enter VykonTM by Tridium.

Vykon has solved this complex problem of accessing and controlling multi-vendor devices, systems and communication standards by incorporating a universal software infrastructure - known as the Niagara FrameworkTM - into a sophisticated Internet-enabled building automation system.

Vykon - Unlocking the Power of Networks 

Tridium's Vykon software suite solves the challenge of managing multiple communication standards and multi-vendor control devices used in today's building facilities by allowing companies to access and control both new and legacy building systems - regardless of manufacturer, platform or communication standard - via a Web browser.

The foundation of the company's technology is its universal Niagara Framework infrastructure. The Niagara Framework's open, Java-based platform converts devices and their proprietary protocols into what is known as software "objects." With this object modeling, Vykon can talk to new and legacy systems using their "native" protocol and respective networks, regardless of make, model and manufacturer. As a result, end-users can now access and control their diverse building systems while protecting their investments in legacy systems.

In addition, Niagara utilizes enterprise-level software standards such as TCP/IP, HTTP and XML to allow access to any control system via the Internet. The end result: users can seamlessly integrate these devices so they can read real-time data and send commands to and from different devices. They can take action to help manage energy consumption and costs, correct comfort problems, or do whatever else is necessary for smooth and concise building operations - from anywhere around the world via the Internet.

Vycon Schematic

Vykon In Use

Since its launch, Vykon has enjoyed rapid success in North America. Its current portfolio of customers using the Vykon Building Control application includes Honeywell International, which markets it under the Honeywell WEBs™ brand, and Enron North America, which has chosen Vykon as the architecture to build its energy services business upon.

A recent example of a successful application of Vykon by Enron involved a lights out (unmanned) facility that provided metered cooling and compressed air to a manufacturing plant that specializes in a variety of fabric sheet products, such as those used in everyday clothes dryers to soften fabrics. Enron's challenge was to integrate and control the company's air compressing system that used ModBus™ protocols, the chillers that used BACnet, and to meter the power usage via LonMark technology meters.

Tridium's Web-enabled Vykon software integrated these systems seamlessly allowing Enron to monitor and manage the production of the utilities, in this case cooling and compressed air, and to actually bill the customer for consumption without ever having to set foot in the plant. As a result, Enron was able to bring added value service to its customers and the end-user received a guaranteed supply of the utilities needed to keep production going without the headaches of managing multiple control systems and fear of interruptible power.

About Tridium

Tridium is a privately held software company, focused on unlocking the power of information contained in networks, with subsidiaries based in London and Singapore. Venture capital partners include Enron Principle Investments and kRoad Ventures, L.P. The company has established key strategic alliances with leading corporations in the energy services, building control, home automation and industrial control industries. Tridium markets its products to value-added resellers, original equipment manufacturers and a network of Tridium Systems Integrators.

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