December 2019

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All I Want for Christmas…

If I were the BAS Santa for Master Systems Integrators, what toys would I put in my toy bag to give out to all the good designers, programmers and engineers out there?
Scott CochraneScott Cochrane,
President and CEO
Cochrane Supply & Engineering

Contributing Editor

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As we wrap up 2019 and get into the holiday spirit, I keep thinking about all of the new cool products I saw this year.  If I were the BAS Santa for Master Systems Integrators, what toys would I put in my toy bag to give out to all the good designers, programmers and engineers out there?  Well, here is my list of my favorite products of 2019!  

Vykon Edge 10 – A 10 Input Output Universally-Programed IoT Controller with a Kick | LOOK....It’s a JACE?   It’s a controller?  It’s a gateway?  It’s a webserver?  It’s all of the above, because it is running Niagara at the controller edge. This means we have to redefine how we utilize Niagara on projects, get rid of gateways and start running graphics, histories, alarms, even analytics at the edge for some of the coolest capabilities in local equipment control that are 100% IoT/network-ready to become part of any BAS or Enterprise networked system.  

Distech S1000 | Distech has not become a household name in BAS on accident. It’s because they are leading other manufacturers in adopting new technology—BAS IP controllers included.  When Distech released this product almost five years ago, they became pioneers in the transition for BAS systems to IP.  The product has continued to be improved, and while it now has some competitors, it continues to be a favorite for many integrators we work with.  With flexible IO and communication cards, a local web server, and a Distech programming library of awesome graphics and an open API, it makes it the most open IP Controller available today.  …The S1000 is the everything of IP controllers!  

Tridium Niagara 4.8 – System Database | On your next Niagara project, turn it on when you start your next station database, set up your hierarchy, develop your px's and assign your tags with tag rules.  Just a typical job, but what makes system database so cool is in 4.8 when you associate that station with a web supervisor, your station becomes completely transparent to the supervisor.  No more supervisor history nightmares—just clean, tagged, hierarchal data with all the graphics, ready to be utilized for analytics, along with aggregation and control in an enterprise system.  If you’re not interested in lowering your programming time while increasing your data capabilities, just ignore this one...

Phoenix Contact ILC 2050BI | What if there was a controller that looked like a PLC, felt like a PLC, could do everything a PLC could do, BUTTTT was running Niagara 4? This is like a PLC for IoT! Just like other PLC’s, the hardware features expansive options for plug-in IO and communication cards, like a build-it-yourself controller with unlimited possibilities. Most importantly, it fits the PLC footprint needed for heavy/dense IO applications from mechanical rooms to manufacturing to data centers to all sorts of heavy equipment using PLC’s today.  

Honeywell CIPer Model 30 Controller | This one is brand new, but we are already hearing good things about its capabilities.  Honeywell’s new product has all the features we have been asking for... IP, compact, easy-to-install, optional dipswitches and, of course, running Niagara Software.  Honeywell took their version of Niagara one step further by adding a full library of control configurations and additional programming objects to meet the complex demands when custom programming a complex HVAC application.  Having a 4-port switch on board really sets it apart, and as more end devices come IP enabled, the CIPer 30 is truly future ready. 

Optigo ONS-S8 Aggregation Switch | BAS has become IP overnight. Thankfully, there is Optigo who is focused on helping the BAS market deliver a secure, managed IP network for all these new IP control systems we have to play with.  The aggregation switch is a not just a managed switch--it’s an easy to use web tool for BAS technicians to open, close and manage all of the ports and all of the Optigo switches on the network.  In recent advancements, Optigo has added the aggregation capability to all of their switches, which opens up all sorts of new cost-saving, network-wiring options.   

[an error occurred while processing this directive]EASY IO FT04 | No they didn’t... Unbelievable... It’s the smallest IoT BAS controller ever!  It’s a 4 IO Wi-Fi controller (BACnet, Modbus, Sedona) smaller than a dollar bill. It has an internal webserver with a programming tool and a restful API for the developer types.  As we look to lower the cost of data acquisition in buildings, especially for the one-off applications, this little guy might just be a home run.  

Tosibox Lock & Key | Remote connections to job sites are important, and as BAS becomes more IP centric, we need new tools for this. Enter Tosibox Lock & Key. This is a 5-port switch with a physical USB key you connect to your remote connection and BAM! You have a secure, managed VPN connection to your jobs! No more exposed IP addresses on the internet—that’s the wrong way. Using a VPN is your responsibility if you accept a remote connection to a building.  With all sorts of cool options, no tech should show up at a new job site without one.  

Johnson Controls / Cisco MRP Ring Manager | OK this one is so new we are just testing it... but as we design more IP control jobs, we still struggle to meet the budget expectations of the RS 485 systems we have seen installed for years.  Johnson Controls understands these sensitive budgets and has partnered with network giant Cisco to release a 16 port managed switch capable of connecting 500 plus IP network devices.  JCI is utilizing the Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP) that includes self-diagnostics with automatic re-direction and super fast speeds, making it one of the most robust BAS network switches available.  Between MRP and Rapid Spanning Tree protocols, we can daisy chain IP controllers just like MSTP BUT with more capabilities, bandwidth and longer segments. This means we can beat those old budget expectations while delivering a solid network with a modern IP based control system.  

To all the manufacturers who have given us these fine toys this year and to all in the BAS industry, BAS Santa says Merry IP Christmas, and a happy BAS IP Utopia New Year!!!


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