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BACnet Helps Make Buildings Intelligent, Meet Control and Data Analysis Goals

August 2013 - Building Automation


There is a lot of talk today about the idea of "intelligent buildings." But what does that phrase mean? While there is no true definition nor an accepted industry standard for an intelligent building, it is clear that developments in technology have given facility managers access to increasingly powerful tools to achieve goals ranging from control to data analysis. BACnet helps make buildings intelligent and meet their control and data analysis goals.

"An intelligent building can be thought of as a living organism," says Jana Garber, director, marketing and business development at Schneider Electric. "As with all living things, it must have a nurturing environment to achieve sustained health and performance over its life."

Some in the building automation industry believe the definition of a smart building depends on the audience, namely the building owner or facility manager's perspective, and how much technology he or she has been exposed to up to that point. Others say an intelligent building is one that enables them to have supervisory control over all of the facility's major systems instead of manual control. However, intelligent buildings can be far more sophisticated than that.

"Smart buildings improve the productivity of people and processes by leveraging technology and actionable information to help you and your building make better decisions and become smart, efficient and sustainable," says Craig Engelbrecht, director of smart services and technology, Siemens Industry, Inc. Organizations stand to benefit by a reduction in operating costs resulting from decreased energy usage, increased life of assets, and insight into the performance of their automation system.

Today it is possible to take unprecedented advantage of the capabilities of modern building systems to enable facilities to better meet organizational goals ranging from providing a safe, comfortable indoor environment to allowing the people inside to be more productive — while minimizing the consumption of resources.

"This includes the ability to use artificial intelligence to understand and change how the facility interacts with its occupants in real time," says Scott Pinder, regional sales manager for Trend. "At the heart of this statement is the ability for each device to learn its environment, control its environment, and deliver useful information to the owner with minimal human interaction."

With smart buildings, it's crucial to have communication between multiple building systems.

According to Jim Dagley, vice president of marketing and strategy for Johnson Controls, true intelligence is achieved when strategic technology integration allows data to be collected, leveraged, and optimized to reduce the total cost of ownership while creating comfortable, safe, and sustainable building environments. "The 'do more with less' era of building construction and ongoing management forces all stakeholders — from building owners and IT directors to general contractors and consultants — to take a holistic look at technology's role in the enterprise," Dagley says.

This holistic approach, notes John Nichols, executive vice president of Delta Controls, allows any human intervention to take place on the "breadth of all the building's data," using a dashboard, for example. "It's not just anecdotal pieces of data. You're effectively seeing the whole of the pie chart rather than individual slices," Nichols says.





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