November 2011

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Controls Spring
What if the controls contractor had a standard open programming language?  When they are building DDC code they are actually generating the O&M manual and graphics by definition and the code is vendor independent.

Alper Uzmezler
Alper Uzmezler,
BAS Services & Graphics, LLC.

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The latest events around the world, such as (Arab Spring) show us the importance of freedom. We somewhat understand what freedom is through our daily lives but what is freedom in the sense of our digital technology as well as building controls.

As our society relies more on digital technoloy, data that we generate for our digital services and the ability (freedom) to copy it from one location to another becomes very important. We can see the importance of it on the web with services such as email (gmail), social (Google Plus, Twitter) and building automation analysis.

In order to give the user freedom, Google has chosen to give access to any data that is generated on google servers by you. You can download all your email data on gmail, personal data on google plus social. This enables the user to download their data and could create more applications around it. By allowing access to the data, 3rd party companies create apps and services for google apps. For example, there are companies that back up gmail data as a service.

Here are a few questions:

*How could we bring the  industry leaders together to agree on creating an open programming language and adhering to the rules?  (Remember Microsoft with HTML standard).

*How can we bring the bright minds to the building controls industry in order to make controls spring successful?

*What can we do to educate consumers so they would demand controls spring?

*What would be the market size if we agree on a standardized language?

*How can we get Frost & Sullivan to make an analysis on the market size if the industry agrees on open programming language?

*Where would the contractors recover lost revenue due?

I strongly believe that the answers for the questions above would be enough to generate controls spring. The building owners, energy companies, any company that is working with demand response programs shall demand this from their suppliers. Without the demand, I don't believe we would see Controls Spring.

How can we handle the standardization process?

This is the most difficult part of the topic. In our society, the best technology usually takes over the market but is it sufficient for our needs as humans due to the energy shortages that we might face. I don't think leaving the market to solve the open programming would be a good solution. The best technology that is even close to top programming standardization is Sedona. It is a well thought out framework that is being used by a variety of vendors right now. It has a bright future for open programming languages but how long would it take for Sedona to take over the market. Do we have time to wait for it to take over? I believe there are many reasons why we can not wait for the technology  to be adopted on its own. We need the industry leaders to join and agree on a way to standardize how we program and the data that our applications generate.
What would it take to get consumers to demand for Controls Spring?

First of all, we need to educate the consumer. Once the consumer understands the importance of their digital data, they will demand the service providers to open up. That would shift the market to open up and standardize more. With the demands on interoperability solved, the programming and and data standardization will be the next topic in our industry to be questioned.

How could we get the bright minds to generate applications and services?

Once the industry agrees on standardized DDC and gets the data to be open, we will see a lot more bright engineers joining our industry. The services that are offered for the controls industry are not up to the standards where they should be due to the closed box approach. Our progress has been slow for a variety of reasons.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] I would like the readers to visit the website. Take a look at their website. You will find 3rd party services that enhance basecamp with services like invoicing, billing, time management. There is an enhancement service for everything around basecamp's project management site.

In our industry, we could easily have services like alarm (ticket) management, energy analysis, self healing mechanism, etc. All we need to do is give the programmers a standardized way of programming DDC and allowing them to access the data.

Possibilties would be endless. We could bring the DDC data to a webservice and automatically generate O&M manuals if enough data is given during the programming. We could automatically generate graphics and pass the data to a 3rd party analysis application for continuous commissioning.

For example, we have a customer that wants to apply for a demand response program and they are investigating  to see if their building would save enough energy to apply for the program. The controls contractor that installed the controls went out business and the O&M manuals are lost as well. The amount of time that is wasted on remapping the points and recreating the controls logic is enormous which makes the demand response program financially impossible to implement.

What if the controls contractor had a standard open programming language?  When they are building DDC code they are actually generating the O&M manual and graphics by definition and the code is vendor independent. When the new controls contractor walks into the building, they see all the data digitally about the building. They can actually query the system.

How about DDC logic that is written and can be mapped to a BIM revit model for further analysis and to even be able to see how the system would work.

There could be a cloud service where the service would import the PID loop algorithm and generate the PID loop on the cloud server and would compare it to the live feedback from the BMS.

How about the DDC logic interacting with historical energy data and running what if scenarios to find the maximum energy consumption algorithm with just a couple of clicks.

What do you think the possibilities could be? Share your comment with us on Linkedin.

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As we can see we need controls spring and we need it now.


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