BACnet's System Integration Helps Collect, Aggregate Building Data
BACnet's system integration helps collect and aggregate building data. One key to building intelligence is the ease with which this data can be collected, notes Jon Williamson, communication technology manager at Schneider Electric. "A typical building has hundreds, if not thousands of intelligent devices and several systems focused on different types of control," Williamson says. "Furthermore, at different phases of a building's lifecycle, different vendors may have been used to provide intelligent devices for the same subsystem — Vendor X in the original building, Vendor Y for the 2005 addition, and Vendor Z for the new building across the street. Certainly a variety of gateways or protocol drivers can be used to aggregate the data for building intelligence, but it gets inconsistent and costly to implement. The data provided in one system looks a lot different than the data in another."
Rocky Moore, director of business development for American Auto-Matrix, says that, to get the entire data pie rather than a random slice of information, seamless communication among the integrated systems is essential and that an open standard can help achieve this goal.
"In order to gain the most information about what is occurring in the building, it's important to be able to communicate to as many of the building systems as seamlessly as possible," Moore says. "This is where BACnet comes in."
BACnet — an open, standard, data communication protocol for building automation and control networks — provides a method to connect key building assets to create strategic technology integration. Assets include HVAC, life safety and security, lighting, and more.
"Customers should standardize on BACnet as it enables an integrated building and gives them access to solutions from various vendors," says Raphael Imhof, head of services portfolio and technology strategy, Siemens Industry, Inc. An open protocol, BACnet makes it easier to aggregate data so it can be acted on, he says.
Ben Dorsey, senior vice president of marketing for KMC Controls, sees building intelligence as three axes in space, forming a sizeable cube. The X-axis is automation, the Y-axis is integration, and the Z-axis is data visualization.
"The relative level of building intelligence can be plotted along one or more of these axes," Dorsey explains. "For instance, a building that has its HVAC system automated by a control system could be considered intelligent. The more systems that are automated, the more intelligent the building is. Significant levels of building intelligence are achieved when multiple systems are automated and these systems become integrated with one another."
According to Dorsey, the highest levels of building intelligence can be achieved when numerous building systems are automated, integrated, and presenting actionable data to the facility professional. BACnet helps achieve this.
About BACnet International
BACnet International is an industry association that facilitates the successful use of the BACnet protocol in building automation and control systems through interoperability testing, educational programs and promotional activities. The BACnet standard was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and has been made publicly available so that manufacturers can create interoperable systems of products. BACnet International complements the work of the ASHRAE standards committee and BACnet-related interest groups around the world. BACnet International members include building owners, consulting engineers and facility managers, as well as companies involved in the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and maintenance of control equipment that uses BACnet for communication. For more information, please visit www.bacnetinternational.org.