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Front-end Interface Is Critical With BAS Upgrades


The building automation system is one of the most complex pieces of equipment to upgrade and replace, yet it may not be well understood by facility managers. This dichotomy can be a great source of tension and hesitation when considering a BAS upgrade, a high stakes capital project that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. One thing to remember is that the front-end interface will make or break the upgrade. The front end of the BAS, or the hardware and software that the operator interfaces with on a regular basis, whether controlling the system from a remote terminal (more typical today) or from the BAS interface itself, is the single source of communication with the BAS. Things to look for include:

• Responsiveness. Network architecture and the front-end interface need to be as fast as an iPad. Software must refresh quickly. If it’s slowed by delays, operators will stop using it.

• Quality of graphics. The visual presentation of the software and hardware should be appealing and intuitive.

• Programming Language. If the programming interface is presented only in code, the operating engineers are going to be hesitant to make any changes, but if they’re presented with object-oriented language, it’s much easier to make the necessary changes and adjustments. That being said, a more sophisticated operating engineer is likely to make tweaks to any programming interface. Know the limits of your operating engineer when choosing the programming language.

Remote mobile access computing, or the ability to use the Internet to connect to a building’s BAS from a remote location through a secure portal, provides an additional front-end interface option for the building operator. While this may not be ideal for every building, it can provide an added level of flexibility and reliability for any BAS.

This quick read comes from David Callan of McGuire Engineers.

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