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Certifications Can Help Ensure That "Open Systems" Deliver Interoperability

Today's topic is ensuring that interoperable systems really are interoperable.

Facility executives have long heard about the benefits of interoperable building automation systems. They provide facility executives with more choices when it comes to product selection and service providers. Because facility executives aren't locked into a single provider, they can get competitive bids, reducing long term costs of the system. That's why interoperable systems using protocols like BACnet and LonTalk have become more popular.

Just because a building automation system has BACnet or LonTalk capabilities, however, doesn’t mean it's interoperable. For facility executives, it's important to ensure that the devices being specified are truly interoperable.

One good way to do that is to look for devices that have been certified. For example, the BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL) verifies that the product correctly implements BACnet features. And LonMark International offers a certification program that requires manufacturers to have devices tested. If the device complies with the standards and passes the test, the device can use the LonMark logo as a sign of certification.

For facility executives interested in using BACnet or LonMark, those two certification marks are worth including in specifications to ensure that devices will interoperate as claimed.


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