November 2005

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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The Freedom of BACnet® Rings True at The BACnet Conference & Expo 2005

  Jon Williamson, Marketing Chairman
BACnet Manufacturers Association
and Product Marketing Manager, TAC

The BACnet Conference & Expo 2005, held October 23 – 25 in Nashville, Tenn., more than met its objective to educate mechanical system design professionals, integrators and end users on the benefits of the BACnet open protocol. The various educational seminars, led by industry professionals, were popular with attendees while the trade show and multi-vendor interoperability demonstration was a huge success.

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The conference opened with an impressive keynote address delivered by the leaders of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) BACnet Committee, the BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the BACnet Interest Group of North America (BIG-NA) discussing how BACnet is delivering “more freedom than ever.” During the keynote, Ron Sharpe, vice president of the BIG-NA, had the honor of unveiling the plans of the BIG-NA and BMA to merge and form BACnet International.

“As the new BACnet International, BACnet vendors will be able to deliver even more freedom to the end-users of controls systems since the end-users will have direct contact with the manufacturers,” Sharpe said.

BACnet has always been about the needs of the customers. By having a single organization with both producers and end-users, the process of translating new market needs from the end-user to real BACnet solutions from the vendors should accelerate, according to the speakers.

Following the keynote address, more than 30 representatives from controls manufacturers and consulting engineering firms testified regarding their strong commitment to BACnet.

The feedback from the attendees indicated that the agenda provided something for everyone and covered all of the bases.

              BACnet Basics Track                                     Advanced BACnet Track

·          BACnet Open Standard

·          BACnet Network Design

·          Plan for the Future with BACnet

            Testing and Commissioning

·          True Interoperability with BACnet,

·          The PICS Statement Simplified

·          The Meaning of the BTL Listing

·          Understanding BACnet Services

·          BACnet Basic Spec Writing

·          BACnet and IT Department FAQs

·          BACnet Integration & Peripherals

·          Advanced BACnet Spec Writing

During one of the general sessions, a panel of end-users and an integrator discussed how they apply BACnet to their sites. A session featuring an introduction to BACnet Web Services/XML informed the audience about BACnet’s ability to tie in utilities, financial systems, work order systems and other enterprise level systems into BACnet and share data between them for a more efficient coordinated facility.

Reliable Controls The entire exhibit hall was connected using Ethernet, and each vendor had the ability to demonstrate interoperability between BACnet devices. The high point of this interconnectivity was a live interoperability demo conducted by Grant Wichenko of Appin Associates. Six 42 inch plasma screens were lined up to display 12 BACnet front-end systems from Alerton, Automated Logic, Cimetrics, Delta Controls, Gridlogic, Invensys, KMC Controls, Lithonia, Reliable Controls, Siemens and TAC, as well as BACnet devices from ABB, Veris Industries and Viconics. Here the audience was able to see BACnet and its five interoperable areas in action. During just a few hours of setup for the demo, schedules were edited and calendars were created, objects were discovered, alarms were generated and distributed to every workstation, loops were displayed, graphics showed values dynamically updating and devices were reloaded – all live and all on the fly. The 75-minute demo went off without a single mishap.

A presentation on the future of BACnet closed the show. Bill Swan, the BACnet Committee chairman, spoke of the new BACnet objects that will soon go out for public review, including the structured view object and the load control object, which is designed to aid with equipment load shedding. He also spoke of the working groups who are enhancing the standard in the areas of XML, network security, utility integration, lighting applications, access control, intrusion detection, CCTV, new IP technologies, such as IPv6 and BACnet HTTP, and the newly formed Inter-configuration Working Group.

Next, Jim Lee, the past president of the BMA, explained to attendees that BACnet is a great tool for addressing the hottest concerns of building owners: continuous commissioning, enterprise energy management, enterprise management of building operations and maintenance management.

Finally, Brady Nations of Johnson Controls offered a summary, explaining that BACnet is the future of building automation, because it is a standard, recognized by ASHRAE, ANSI and ISO; because it is a reality, as shown by the interoperability demo; because it is beyond controls, that is, the protocol is extendable and can keep growing to accommodate new applications; and most of all, because it is FREE!

The conference demonstrated that the future of BACnet will be exciting, with “more freedom to come” for building owners.


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