December 2021

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The Next BAS Divergence

We’ve reached the end of an era…. The end of another BAS Era.

 Scott Cochrane, President & CEO,

 Cochrane Supply & Engineering

 Contributing Editor

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We’ve reached the end of an era…. The end of another BAS Era. Goodbye RS-485 Serial… Hello to CAT6 Ethernet. Change is scary, but those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future. And the BAS advantages of this move are becoming overwhelming!


The first BAS Divergence was marked by the major shift from Pneumatics to DDC, moving from air pressure in tubing, to digital accompanied by RS485, RS232 and LON.  And with that, everything changed. From controllers to sensors to actuators, everything became digital and included data and feedback.  We, as an industry, became proficient in utilizing Serial Networks and computers to add visibility and control at a level far beyond that of the Pneumatic Era. Granted, it took years for the change to settle, but by the early 2000’s the industry had changed, leapt forward, with no looking back.


Well, here we are once more, amidst the next Divergence, as IP takes over BAS, witnessing what will again fundamentally change the industry, forever.  Everything is about to change… from IP Control to IP Sensing to IP Clouds into OT networks with Cyber Security. As these new concepts take hold, we will move from the (now) Stone Age era of Building Data into a digital revolution with unheard-of-possibilities utilizing building data in a way that will drastically improve the energy demand, greenhouse emission, operational efficiencies and most important, the occupant experience.


One key driver pushing this technology into every project, is incredible BANDWIDTH!!! We are taking 1,000,000 times more throughput. Literally moving the bandwidth from 128 k to 10 gig and more. The difference is crazy, and the data-crazed folk? Forget about it, this is your goldmine!


What does this mean to the Contractor?


For one, lower costs, as programming and commissioning hours are no longer used to stare at an update bar for an application. Instead, the update for the building can be done in milliseconds and the tech can move to the next task.


Another huge benefit – wiring and network reliability.  NO MORE TROUBLESHOOTING NETWORKS!  IP is plug and play, has already been used for networks in buildings and once it is up, it does not go down.


With all these advantages of installing IP, Techs do not have to spend nearly as much time on the installation and the savings are so real, we see contractors giving deducts by changing job network designs from Serial to IP Controllers.     


What does this mean to the Building Owner?


Open Systems on a scale they never dreamed. By controlling their own properly managed OT network with IP devices, they have no limitations on what hardware or software applications are offered to utilize. As better technologies are made available, all the Building Owner will have to do is plug the new device into their software updated OT network, which will allow for low-cost upgrades, adding new tenant features & amenities for years to come. The properly-secured OT Network allows the building to plug in Web Services, which the owner can add to increase any service/system they choose – Energy, Operations, Tenant Experience, etc. Most importantly, by moving to BAS IP Architectures, the owner can capitalize on internal IT resources to help make better-informed decisions on the system selections, unlike the cryptic, unmanageable, application specific RS485 BAS world we have been living in. The owner can now contour the BAS sector of their property to the digital footprint of their overall business much easier. Where they can start to truly evaluate the purposes and satisfaction of the spaces they serve, the experience of their tenants. All while positioning themselves toward future success in laying out new technologies for their building(s).


So, what do these concepts mean? Analytics, Machine Learning, Data Twinning and A.I.?


Well. kind of everything… especially when it comes to the future of the industry. You thought just FDD & Analytics was cool? With all the trapped data stuck in low bandwidth now accessible & sharable in mass with any software, I expect by 2025 we’ll see a Services Renaissance period for BAS like we’ve never seen before. Where buildings become scary smart, and even more efficient.


The era of limitations is OVER! From the boundaries of pressure readings to the confines of BAS data innovation stymied by serial networks. It is time to rethink the paradigm when it comes to what BAS data we want and how it’s delivered… I’ll give u a hint what I’m thinking, WE WANT IT ALL AND WE WANT IT NOW!


Welcome to the BAS IP era… 





2022 AHR Expo | Jan-31 thru Feb-2 | Las Vegas, NV

Hear more from Scott and other Industry Thought Leaders at the upcoming 2022 AHR Expo, including 2-full days of educational sessions featuring industry experts discussing the current and future state of the Building Automation sector.

2022 Las Vegas AHR Expo Educational Sessions


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