What Is BACnet's Role in the Building Internet of Things?
BACnet can provide a way for B-IoT devices to maintain their cloud autonomy while sharing and receiving data securely.
What B-IoT solutions need is a secure path from their cloud into and out of the BAS. BACnet is the interoperable protocol within modern BAS. BACnet S/C, which Osborne says is “very close to publication,” provides a way for B-IoT devices to maintain their cloud autonomy while sharing and receiving data securely.
According to McMillan, “BACnet S/C incorporates IoT technology without losing the BACnet standard interoperability protocol. IoT devices within the firewall can communicate via encryption for security, for example. And BACnet also features embedded Web services that enable communication to the cloud.”
BACnet SC uses WebSocket connections over transport layer security (TLS) for its message support. All traditional BACnet capabilities are preserved in the new system, including earlier BACnet deployments and devices. Under development for 10 years, BACnet SC can be aligned with existing IT standards and best practices, which allows users to create secure building automation infrastructure, as well as to unlock new cloud-based applications.
BACnet S/C also requires all devices on the network to have a properly signed certificate on the device before they can be connected to the network.
One detail still being finalized is how to handle certificates, according to McMillan. Buildings have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of systems and subsystems interoperating. To operate on the BACnet S/C virtual private network, each B-IoT device would need a valid certificate.
Another BACnet alternative is BACnet Web Services (BACnet WS). “BACnet WS provides a communication-protocol-agnostic mechanism and RESTful application programming interface (API) perfect for this kind of data gathering by enterprise applications,” says Fisher. “Either way, people who buy-in are using real international standards. That’s important to future-proofing the investment in cloud mechanisms.”