October 2005

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Deepak WannerEMAIL INTERVIEW Deepak Wanner & Ken Sinclair

Deepak Wanner is the President of Precidia Technologies, a manufacturer of IP access devices for a wide range of industries, including building automation. Scheduled to address the Remote Monitoring Conference on October 6th in Orlando, Florida, Deepak offered Automated Buildings a preview of his address, discussing the possibilities for Network Configuration Managers (NCMs) in the building automation industry. Send your feedback to president@precidia.com.


Network Configuration Manager (NCM)

A network configuration manager (NCM) is a tool that can help network and facility managers better monitor and control the devices on their network.

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Sinclair:  What is an NCM?

Wanner:  A network configuration manager (NCM) is a tool that can help network and facility managers better monitor and control the devices on their network. While the Telecommunications industry has relied on NCMs for some time now, industries like building automation are only now realizing the potential of these tools. An NCM smoothes device deployment, enhances device security, supplies diagnostics, and provides real-time alerting to network problems.

Sinclair:  How can facilities managers use an NCM?

Wanner:  Precidia is in the early stages of testing our NCM, called NetVu, for applications in the building automation space. Right now, NetVu is being used with our POSLynx220 multiport dial/serial IP converter. These are primarily point-of-sale applications, where a service provider has several IP converters to deploy in stores across the country, and needs to configure and monitor from a central location. Based on our early testing, and what we understand about the building automation market, we believe this tool could help facilities managers from an equipment monitoring and security perspective.

Sinclair:  Tell us more about what you think an NCM can do in building automation.

Wanner:  Everyone wants better control of their network, and more efficient ways of managing all of the equipment, from multiple vendors throughout the network. Our IP converters deliver one piece of that puzzle: bringing serial equipment onto an IP network. This is a simple, plug and play operation, and many applications require only this functionality. The next level of complexity is solved by the SNMP agent onboard the Precidia converter, collecting and storing data in the managed device. NetVu ups the ante by delivering even greater visibility and control of the network devices, through a user interface that makes viewing, analyzing and tracking this data simple and actionable. With much of the equipment within any facility from multiple manufacturers, NetVu’s diagnostics and reporting capabilities ensure quick resolution of equipment problems by the appropriate vendor.

Sinclair:  Can you offer an example of how this capability might work in building automation?

Wanner:  As I said, we’re currently in early testing of the product for non-POS applications, and part of that is going to the market to learn how this might work in a different industry. But we can imagine a scenario in which NetVu would be an asset. A large facility, like a university campus or a hospital, could have the iPocket232 connected to energy meters and access controllers, for example. All of these devices are now accessible via the facility’s LAN for real-time monitoring. With NetVu, the iPocket232 can detect network problems, and send either an email or pager alert to the appropriate personnel, ensuring limited downtime for the device. In fact, an existing NetVu customer recently discovered that NetVu was helping to notify them of router problems on the network as well. So you can see that this capability is a strong value add for facility managers.


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