March 2010

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A wired and wireless controller for better ROI
BAS still require the use of several wired devices, which means that wired and wireless technologies need to be integrated together within a single system to enable centralized control.

David Lamarche
Director of Communication
SCL Elements Inc.,
Maker of CAN2GO™


The building automation industry is at a crossroad. On one side, the industry is affected by the economic downturn. On the other, there is growing awareness of the importance of energy efficiency, whether for environmental or financial concerns.

The good news is that we should be able to profit from the current context because we provide energy savings, which are significant by themselves, and are encouraged by governments and the general public opinion. The bad news is that businesses are reluctant to invest and are demanding quicker return on investments.

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Is the wireless promise fulfilled?

new controller, called the CAN2GO™The expected path to take full advantage of this conjecture has been the adoption of wireless technologies. Being both greener and easier to install, observers expected widespread adoption.

In practice, cost savings on installation have been offset by integration and control limitations. Because of this, the “time-on-the-job” hasn’t decreased; an inconvenience and a strain on human resources, especially with the gradual departure of qualified baby-boomers into retirement.

The solution to these pressures does reside in the proliferation of wireless technologies, but without their existing shortcomings.

Seamless integration

In its current state, the offering of wireless end-devices includes switches, thermostats, sensors and more. However, complete BAS still require the use of several wired devices, which means that wired and wireless technologies need to be integrated together within a single system to enable centralized control.

Until now, wired and wireless integration has been, if available, incomplete. The gap in control capabilities and the cost of extra hardware and software have limited return-on-investment improvements.

Fortunately, recent R&D breakthroughs have pushed a new controller, called the CAN2GO™, on the market. It allows contractors to install and manage wired and wireless (EnOcean™, Zigbee™) devices at the same time. The integration of these different technologies into BACnet objects is also made automatically by the controller, which also plays the role of gateway.

This controller has two other particularities. It can communicate with its peers using a wireless mesh network, which reduces the need of wiring between controllers. It also acts as server, hosting a complete BACnet IP web interface. Connecting the Ethernet port of a single unit to the LAN will make the entire building automation system manageable from the web. No extra software or server needed. The interface is hosted by any and every CAN2GO™.

With these improvements, contractors spend less time deploying, wiring and integrating, while cutting hardware and software costs. Everything is done by the controller.

Control Solutions, Inc Improving the contractor business model

These technological advances will have a big impact on building automation solution offerings. It will also have a tremendous impact on the industry’s capacity to generate quicker return on investments.

The time and money saved on deployment and integration can be used in a variety of ways that all provide competitive advantages. Contractors can make more competitive bids on tenders. They can also invest to provide customers with value added services.

For the end-user, the equation is simple. Better technology, less intrusive installation process, better control, and most importantly, faster ROI.

In a climate of economic uncertainty that has burdened the construction industry significantly, this means a lot. When you can provide substantial energy savings with less investment required up front, it makes the whole operation much more interesting.

Making wireless easy

The building automation industry has taken a turn for the better; the wireless turn. But because it still has to rely on wired technologies, hybrid solutions are the way to go, and products that bridge this gap will be increasingly relied on.

By making other wireless technologies more user-friendly and allowing a quicker return on investment, the CAN2GO™ should help fuel the spread of building automation commissioning and retrofitting despite the economic context. This will be good for consumers, for the industry and for the power grid.

For more information about the CAN2GO™ technology, visit www.can2go.com

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