August 2006

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LonMark Connection

Tracy Markie
LONMARK International

LONWORKS Converges with IP

The future of building systems seems clear. IP has become a key, pervasive element of networking technology at the enterprise/IT level, and LonWorks® technology and products at the field level. LONMARK®, a non-profit, worldwide industry trade association, is a dominant and significant force with its interoperability framework, standards definitions, and hundreds of interchangeable, interoperable products available off-the-shelf.

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Some people call this convergence; to those familiar with LON® (Local Operating Network), this is inevitability a great way to leverage the enormous assets created by the LONMARK standards of interoperability and by the LON community around the world.

These two worlds; LON and IP are set to converge in a big way in Amsterdam this October 3-5 at ConnectivityWeek Europe. This is the co-location of BuilConn, LONMARK Connection, and the Annual LONMARK General Meetings. LONMARK Connection is a new educational and outreach program created by LONMARK International (LMI) which, as a part of its mission, will present a newly created set of LONWORKS seminars to explain and explore how LON and IP can provide a synergistic partnership. ConnectivityWeek is destined to be a valuable collection of meetings and networking opportunities that will benefit anyone in the building integration community as well as the IP based players entering the buildings market.

LONMARK was part of the Cisco sponsored Round Table at BuilConn Palm Springs this past May. This important and influential group of participants laid the framework for convergence in the building space. During the meeting, IT players from building owner organizations (with real billion dollar budgets) presented their view on two fronts; firstly, they are now starting to care about buildings and facilities, secondly, they are primarily interested in obtaining information presented on their terms (IP, Web Services, etc.) and less interested in the details of the devices and their functions (field level).

Recognizing this trend, LONMARK International has taken significant steps to enable this convergence. The organization has already defined and published framework documents describing a System-level view and architecture using both IP and LONWORKS technology. They have also initiated a worldwide training and certification program for System Integrators to become certified as installers and integrators, providing a qualified, reliable team to satisfy the huge demand for system integration.

Convergence will bring enormous opportunities to vendors and integrators of LON products, systems, and solutions. It provides a vehicle for stakeholders to take advantage of the pervasiveness of IP for their LON assets; and more importantly to get in front of a new breed of owners.

The co-location of these events at BuilConn Amsterdam is no accident. BuilConn is the prominent venue for building systems and IT to come together, and with the recently announced moniker of ConnectivityWeek Europe, additional subjects such as M2M, Wireless and Energy can be discussed for the first time under one roof.

I am personally excited about this partnership and look forward to seeing the LON community take this opportunity to drive enormous business opportunities. As a volunteer member of LMI and current Chairman, I will be present to represent the industry and share experiences and knowledge with all. As a central supplier of products on both sides of this equation, my company – Engenuity Systems – will be there to represent the interests of both communities. I hope to see you there!

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