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EMAIL INTERVIEW - Ken Sinclair and Zach Netsov
Zach Netsov, Product Specialist, Contemporary Controls
This month, Contemporary Controls’ launched a building automation blog for building automation professionals and enthusiasts sub-titled “Building on Open Control.” The blog is written by Zach Netsov, who is a Product Specialist at Contemporary Controls for their BASautomation line of products.
Congratulations on the launch of
the Building Automation Blog focused on open control but what does open
control mean to you?
Netsov: To me, the open
control means freedom to choose the controller I want from like
choices. These choices need to share the same communications protocol,
need to share the same programming language, need to support compatible
programming tools, and finally, need to be available to anyone in the
community who wants such a controller. My company Contemporary Controls
supports these ideals in their BAScontrol line of controllers by using
IP/Ethernet as the networking technology, BACnet as the communications
protocol, Sedona as the programming language and Sedona Applications
Editor as the programming tool. This product line is available without
restriction to anyone in the HVAC controls community.
But what choices will “open software –
open hardware” bring to our
industry? I have some ideas, but I want to understand what others
say. That is why I started the blog – to create an interactive
dialog with the building controls community.
Define your building
Netsov: I consider the building controls
community consisting of specifying engineers, controls manufacturers,
controls distributors, control contractors, systems integrators,
building operators, and HVAC educators. I know I have thrown a big net,
but everyone who has something to say is welcome to exchange ideas and
are welcome but will they have something to say? The building
automation industry is well established and set in their ways.
And that is why this industry is
vulnerable to distributive technologies such as the Internet of Things
(IoT), low-cost and high-performance micro PCs such as the Raspberry
Pi, and numerous open wireless technologies. None of this is controlled
by the building automation industry – we are just customers of these
technologies. How are cloud services from the likes of Amazon and
Google going to impact the industry? Is FreeRTOS going to be the
next big OS due to Amazon’s dominance? Is the traditional building
controller now obsolete? I hope to discuss these topics and others with
the community I am creating.
I know people are interested in open controls. In a product line, we call DIY (Do It Yourself), we recently released a 12-point I/O board for the Raspberry Pi along with a BACnet server and Sedona virtual machine that runs on the Pi and asked people to tell us how they used them. Within weeks they had them installed on jobs for applications we would never assume. In addition, we got questions and suggestions on how to make it better for them. There is interest, and many are willing to share stories.
How often do you plan to
update the blog?
Netsov: Right now, we’re updating the
blog about once a week. We publish when we have relevant material for
our audience. We already reach out to our customers once a month with
our newsletter that contains product updates and company news. Our blog
has more frequent, shorter updates specifically for the building
automation audience. You can read the blog at www.ccontrols.com/blog
– be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!
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