February 2005
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The New Face of BACnet Be sure to read this month interview The New Face of BACnet

Visitors to the Controls and Automation arena at the recent AHR Expo in Chicago were greeted by a new kid on the block. No, it was not a new controls manufacturer. It was the new face of the BACnet community: BACnet International.

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Just before the opening of the show, members of two former organizations voted to consolidate and rename their collective assembly. The two organizations had been known as the BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the BACnet Interest Group of North America (BIG-NA). The former boards of these organizations have now been combined into a single and smaller board that will reflect the diversity of membership and the agility and responsiveness that will permeate the new organization.

Andy McMillan of member company Teletrol, is a board member of BACnet International and will serve as the organization’s president for the term of one year. He explains, the rationale for the organizational changes: “Some time ago we began to see the limitations of our two organizations, especially in regards to reaching a greater audience of those interested in the implementation of BACnet. The BMA, as its name suggests, was limited to those providing products or services to the industry. And the BIG-NA simply lacked the resources to effectively communicate to the entire community of users. So, we began discussions many months ago to redefine our joint interests and goals. At the BACnet Conference and Expo, held last October, we put the matter before members of both groups as a proposed plan and sought further input. Obviously, there were necessary legal steps and some agreements that had to be reached. Then, on January 22, we voted to formalize the decision.”

As its mission, the organization will be a resource to the greater body of BACnet users, product providers, service providers, and building professionals. Organization leaders expect that it will begin to take on the diversity of all interested parties. Education and training will become a major focus. And, because membership is now open to a greater audience, they also anticipate growth.

Reliable Controls “In actuality, a scalable and flexible membership structure attracts all interested parties, says Ben Dorsey of member company KMC Controls and Marketing Committee Chair for BACnet International. He continues: “There are different levels of membership for manufacturers and service providers, for example. We also anticipate that some building owners, facility managers, and consulting engineers will see the benefits of membership and join our ranks. We’ve even created a membership for BACnet sites, facilities whose owners wish to receive recognition for the integration or interoperability showcased therein.”

At the show, several members companies shared the BACnet International booth and created an interoperability demonstration that illustrated the high level of cooperation the new organization has established. Dorsey explains: “Booth visitors would have noticed that many of us who were there are direct competitors. Yet, we have become united by a common purpose in advancing the implementation of BACnet. To the extent we do so, all of us will benefit.”

Many who wandered into the booth simply wanted to learn more about what BACnet is and what it could do for them. These questions illustrate the central educational aim of BACnet International: tailoring its informational resources to various audiences. The organization plans to disseminate this information via its web site, through sponsoring and participating in events, and through published papers and articles as well as online web seminars.

“What seems clear to me, concludes Dorsey, “is that the interest in BACnet continues to escalate and that all parties have been seeking a definitive resource for BACnet information. BACnet International is now that resource.”

A new web site is in development for BACnet International (www.bacnetinternational.org). In the meantime, those interested in further information can call or email the organization (312.540.1200; info@bacnetinternational.org).

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