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Web Services Information Model Interactions

Moderator, Ken Sinclair.

Your input is important. Please share your views as to the best method of creating Information Model Guidelines.  Email me at

Interactions received to date are below.

From Ken Sinclair April 28, 2003

Our Open Letter:  To the Building Controls Industry on formation of Open Standards for XML and Web Services

became a reality in a extremely well attended meeting both physically and virtually. Again the complete crowd all got it, moving ahead in today's market is going to require working as a team. Want to see the actual presentation? 

Paul Ehrlich's presentation for the meeting can be downloaded from the following URL:

CABA has agreed to provide support and a home for this valuable industry interest group that is going to form industry standards for XML.

The result of the meeting was that XML standards are very necessary and anyone wishing to be part of the developing group should contact Paul Ehrlich Trane Global Controls

Securing Buildings News

Creating a standard for XML and Web Services for Building Control

Below is a proposal for starting a consortium to create a guideline for
use of XML and Web services for building control.  I have spoken with many
members of our industry and there seems to be a strong interest in using
this technology and in moving toward standards.  There is a preliminary
meeting scheduled for April 23rd to kick this off.  The attached document
provides further details.


Paul Ehrlich
Trane Global Controls

Guideline for XML / Web Services for Building Control

 The Building Controls industry has made great strides over the last 10 years in the creation of communications standards.  Both BACnet and LonTalk are now viable, commercially accepted solutions that provide owners with open communications.  Yet while we have made great progress in these areas as an industry, there has been an emergence of a larger,  more globally accepted standards created by the world of Information Technology.  In particular the broad acceptance and ever lowering cost of Ethernet / TCP/IP / XML communications is finding its way into our industry. Owners today are looking for:

There are many ways to solve this need.  Both BACnet and LonTalk have methods of existing on TCP/IP networks.  But frankly neither was designed with this in mind.  New communications standards for web based communications such as XML, SOAP and Web Services have the ability to be used directly today in larger more capable controllers (note:  for small controllers that are on dedicated wire, use of BACnet, LonTalk and proprietary protocols are likely to remain the primary solution). 

Using these new standards in building control applications provides the ability to meet the owner needs listed above.  The challenge however is to do this in an open, standard and interoperable manner.   Today many building automation providers are using XML and web services in their current products or in those under development.  However the use of XML  is being done without standards and while not proprietary is not readily interoperable. 

So what should we do?  I am proposing that we establish a consortium that will work on creation of a guideline for use of XML and Web Services in building automation and control applications.  In particular this would deal with:

 I would suggest that we can start with much of the work completed in the existing standards and  look at using this to create this proposed guide.  Consortium members would be encouraged to apply the guideline to their products.  The guideline would also be provided to standards organizations such as OASIS, ASHRAE, EIA/TIA, and others for potential acceptance.  CABA has generously offered to host this consortium.

An initial meeting to gauge interest and begin planning will be held at Buil Conn in Dallas on April 23rd from 1:00 3:00 PM.  If you are interested in attending in person or via teleconference please  RSVP to Kirk McElwain  at  - Phone: 519.846.1916 or 888.798.CABA.

Paul Ehrlich
Trane Global Controls

April 2, 2003 From Edward Brzezowski

RE: Creating a standard for XML and Web Services for Building Control


Interesting... makes sense, overcomes the BacNet/Lon issues by collaborating
up at the xML level... move above the cloud :)

I sent this to John yesterday morning....

See also:
OGC Demonstrates the Future of Interoperable Web Services
ISDA Announces New FpML Working Groups for Energy and Validation.


October 29, 2002 From Edward Brzezowski

WS-I releases profile for building Web services

By Paul Krill
October 29, 2002 12:38 pm PT

THE WEB SERVICES Interoperability Organization (WS-I) on Tuesday announced availability of the WS-I Basic Profile Working Draft, which features specifications and guidelines for developing interoperable Web services.

The Basic Profile consists of implementation guidelines recommending how a set of core Web services specifications, including SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1, UDDI 2.0, XML 1.0, and XML Schema, are to be used for developing interoperable Web services. The WS-I Basic Profile Working Group is seeking public feedback on the draft, with plans to release a final version in early 2003.

Component technologies are found within the scope of the Basic Profile for messaging, description, discovery, and security. Messaging is defined as the exchange of Web protocol elements, usually over a network, while description involves the enumeration of messages associated with a Web service and implementation details. Discovery includes metadata that enables advertisement of a Web service's capabilities, while security is intended to provide integrity, privacy, authentication, and authorization.

In addition to the Basic Profile, WS-I by the end of the year plans to release early versions of testing tools, use cases and usage scenarios, and sample applications pertaining to Web services and the Basic Profile.

WS-I was formed in February to promote consistent and reliable interoperability among Web services across platforms, according to WS-I. Among members are IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems. Sun Microsystems last week announced intentions to join the organization.


September 2002  XML Web Services: Is the End Near?  Ken Sinclair  & Edward H. Brzezowski review resources
"protocol work is starting to wind down, the infrastructure is catching up with protocols and it's time to start thinking about applications."

July 2002 How will XML impact industrial automation?

It appears that industrial automation industry is struggling with XML standard for interfaces as are we.

Thanks Ed for keeping us up to-date.  

Read the following news feeds.


Subject: IBM, Microsoft plot Net takeover
Date: April 13, 2002 1:16 PM

Another spin on .Net for your web services forum... 

IBM and Microsoft have been quietly busy behind the scenes for the last two years building a toll booth that could position the two companies to collect royalties on most if not all Internet traffic.

While the technologies that form the foundation of that toll booth have yet to be officially recognized as standards by an independent standards body, the collective strength of IBM and Microsoft could be enough to render Internet standards consortia powerless to stop them.

The potential for the two giants to erect a toll booth is tied to the likelihood that Web services protocols such as SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI--and the related ones to which the two companies hold patents or other intellectual property rights--will one day be as important as the standard protocols (such as TCP/IP and HTTP) on which the Internet is based today. Web services and the protocols that make them possible are destined to play a major role in most if not all electronic commerce as well as other Internet traffic.

To read the complete release,14179,2861123,00.html
... looks like we might need to add an E-ZPass Ethernet module 
to our new control systems for Web Services if this keeps up.   
Just kidding, but maybe not to far from the truth? 
Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E. Facility Energy Services, Inc. Consulting Engineers 

Subject: What Exactly Are Web Services? 
Date: April 12, 2002 7:46 AM


Another good summary for your web services forum... 


Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E. Facility Energy Services, Inc. Consulting Engineers 

Excerpt: Initially, the group is defining a Web service as an application identified by a URL, which has an interface that can be defined, found, and used by XML-based objects, and that works directly with other similar applications using XML-based messages over Internet protocols.,aid,94023,00.asp 

Subject: Why Web services will kill HTTP--eventually 
Date: April 12, 2002 6:04 AM


You might want to place a copy of this commentary in your web services forum... 

Why Web services will kill HTTP--eventually
By Larry Seltzer Special to ZDNet April 12, 2002, 4:10 AM PT


Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E. Facility Energy Services, Inc. Consulting Engineers 

From: "Edward Brzezowski" 
Subject: Sun: Microsoft worried over Web services 
Date: April 9, 2002 1:43 PM


Interesting news feed, 

update WASHINGTON--A high-level Sun Microsystems executive on Tuesday told a federal court that Microsoft feels threatened by the industry's move toward Web services and is hard at work trying to co-opt that trend and nullify the dangers it poses to the dominance of its operating system.

The burgeoning field of Web services is intended to provide one-stop shopping for consumers, who could access online sites--that is, the servers on which they reside--from a variety of computing devices including desktop PCs, handheld devices and cell phones. It's a more unified approach than is generally available today given competing and incompatible technologies.

During cross-examination by Microsoft attorney Steven Holley, Schwartz described Web services as "a platform" and said that Microsoft's Web services strategy "represents a threat" to the openness of Web services. In a series of similarly worded questions, Holley attempted to get Schwartz to agree that Web services are a next-generation, server-based application, but Schwartz consistently disagreed, saying that they are "agnostic with respect to platform."

It appears they are still thinking of WEB SERVICES from the point of view of a "person" instead of "device" or "device to device" centric operations.....


March 24, 2002 7:20 AM

Dear Mr. Sinclair:

I read your recent article in ES on Web Services and I think this a great and necessary area for BAS to evolve into. However, BAS in general while evolving, needs to "de-volve" a little. By that I mean the industry needs to help end users develop the proper staffing and training to use these rapidly changing technologies.

Secured by Cimetrics

I was the BAS manager for Trane in New Jersey and one "constant" that was always with us was that the features and benefits of Window based systems, clever control routines, etc. was often lost on the end user. The owner of the building, the architect or engineer, in their efforts to create a gee-whiz system forgot the end user: the boiler room mechanic. Not only that, they had some boiler-plate training time in the 'specs for "not less than 16 (or 24, or 40) hours of classroom training......". This training usually begins at the end of the job and has to compete with a myriad of other new-building complaints. The result is poor training which leads to poor understanding, which leads to poor use of the system which leads to "this system is a piece of junk".

The acceptance and use of new technology for BAS is a battle that will be won in the classroom. Training, personnel and products all need to evolve together.

John J. Christiano, P.E., CEM, Criterium Engineers

Friday, March 15, 2002 2:13 PM

Ken, I came across this article today which may be of interest...

Web Services need to build trust first
By Guest Writer Special to ZDNet February 14, 2002, 4:30 AM PT

Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E. Facility Energy Services, Inc. Consulting Engineers

Thanks Ed, interesting article. Ken

Thursday, March 07, 2002 11:23 AM

To Eric Craton Automated Logic 

Sena demo is interesting seems to have a part of what we might be looking for as part of their hardware??

Is evolution to a web services chip Possible??

Plus Roberts comments
xml Schema and Data documents and the process of Discovery as a method of
discovering unknown data in a foreign system, analyzing it as to what it
represents, and getting its value to use in a BAS process

What does this all mean to web services?

Should we included this as a resource?

Ken Sinclair


This appears to be nothing more than a protocol gateway... there are dozens of them out there (we even make one).  It is quite a jump to go from one of these devices to something that can interact as a Web Service.  I'm not saying it's impossible to do Web Services on an embedded platform (we're working on that now), but most of the Web Services platform currently envisioned run on a PC/server platform as a minimum.  I'm sure this will change with time.

>xml Schema and Data documents and the process of Discovery as a method of
>discovering unknown data in a foreign system, analyzing it as to what it
>represents, and getting its value to use in a BAS process
>What does this all mean to web services??

In addition to XML and SOAP, Web Services also incorporate something called UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration).  This will allow different Web Services to list themselves on the internet (or intranet) and discover each other. Another component of Web Services is WSDL (Web Services Description Language), and XML-formatted language used to describe a web service's capabilities.

These technologies work together to allow Web Services to discover, connect, and interact with one another.


Wednesday, March 06, 2002 1:37 PM

Ken, Please feel free to use this graphic at the right place and time...
It might get some discussions going...

With all the holes popping up in .NET, I wonder if it will end up like UltimateTV instead of DirectTivo....?

Try reaching out to these guys to see if they envision a Java or .NET solution? <<these are ~$150 list! <<this is their IDE

I believe there would be a control revolution if something as simple as the Basic Stamp was equipped with a Ethernet webserver module... look at what's out there.... just a quick thought... public domain libraries of HVAC control libraries/strategies/seq-of-ops, then optimization and other web services...

Who have you seen so far taking the .NET lead in HVAC and services?

Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E. Facility Energy Services, Inc Consulting Engineers

Be sure to read Ed's article for his vision of the future, plus linkage to interesting information on sensor evolution.

The Evolution and Future of Control Systems We know where we've been, but where might we be going in the future of control systems?  Edward H. Brzezowski P.E., Facility Energy Services, Inc

Monday, March 4th, 2002 Robert Kohl, ALC Controls, Inc

I am reading an article in the Feb issue of Engineered Systems entitled Standard Internet Protocols in Building Automation by Mike Donlon. In it he refers to the xml Schema and Data documents and the process of Discovery as a method of discovering unknown data in a foreign system, analyzing it as to what it represents, and getting its value to use in a BAS process. If I grasp this process correctly and if the author is correct in his statements, then this would apparently solve the problems of different BAS systems sharing information over the Web by using already available technology. So if Web protocols were the backbone connecting different BAS systems together in a building or various buildings around the world, and each of the different BAS had its Schema and Data documents in xml, then they would be able to share information using already available protocol standards. Am I misunderstanding what he is saying? - Bob Kohl, 

Article posted on Engineered Systems' web site Features Item
Standard Internet Protocols in Building Automation


Thanks for sharing your observation. I too need clarification on exactly what Mike is saying but I will add your comments to the web services forum and attempt to contact Mike Donlon to see if he can provide more information to the forum.  I think all our web services forum members should read this article.

Monday, February 18, 2002 Paul Ehrlich, Trane BAS


It looks like there is a more general group that is forming with similar intent.  Take a look at

Here is a little background

Industry Leaders Align Around Web Services Interoperability Armonk, NY and Redmond, WA - A broad group of technology leaders today announced the formation of the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) Organization ( This cross-industry initiative is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of interoperable Web services across a variety of platforms, applications and programming languages. Web services are a platform- and language-independent means of building distributed systems that can connect and interact with one another easily and efficiently across the Internet, based on industry standards.  

Take care, Paul Ehrlich Trane BAS

Thanks Paul I will post on forum. It looks like one we all should know about. I think our industry focus on an Information Model is still needed. Ken

February 8, 2002

Thomas Zaban, P.Eng. Vice President, Marketing Reliable Controls 

Hello Ken,

As you may know, Reliable has just starting looking in detail at Web Services. We believe in the long run, the concept of Web services is good. However, Microsoft is at the infancy of developing a "real" marketable product. There are plenty of loose ends which must be resolved before the technology has a hope of achieving critical mass. ( e.g. security of code, business model, etc)  Sincerely Thomas Zaban

February 7, 2002

John Van Gorp, Product Marketing Manager Industrial and Institutional Systems Power Measurement  (250) 652-7146

Ken, please add me this online forum as well. We are continuing to evolve the Internet-connectivity of our energy management hardware and software products, and the web services concepts expressed on your web site are in line with our own.  Thanks!

February 1, 2002

Dennis W. Tuft Vice President of Marketing Tridium Inc. email:

Ken - attached are a few white paper resources that we would like to submit for this effort.  Please review and place appropriately. Best Regards, 

White paper PDF BAJA  A Java  Based Architecture Standard for the Building Automation Industry
White paper PDF The Case For an Automation

January 30, 2002

Thomas Hartman, P.E. Principal The Hartman Company Contributing Editor
Internationally recognized expert in the field of advanced high-performance building operation strategies.

Dear Ken,
The migration to Web browser technologies that employ standard software and hardware is an extremely positive development in our industry. With Web browsers we have a "standard" means for human interface to building controls and thousands of software people who can set up and maintain the exact type of interface desired. This development is very important because as we all know, the vision many in our industry have had concerning "open" building control systems has not yet happened. Systems are, practically speaking, still quite closed.

The network diagram shown is in reality very difficult to operate because database, programming and all other features of the various control units on the network are likely to be quite different and each likely requires a specific set of manufacturers software tools to access. I know of no successful network that has 5 different types of controllers operating as shown in this diagram. The strain on the operations to support such a system would be substantial. What is shown in the diagram is possible, but not very practical --  yet.

We need to recognize that standardization such that systems become "open" includes not only communications, but also programming language, database management and operator interface. The migration to Web browser interfaces fills the operator interface slot and shows that standard software developed by others can be applied to our industry.

True "open" system architecture is not an impossible dream. It is coming. There will be resistance from traditional controls manufacturers to the type of restructuring necessary for truly open systems, but in the long run, those that pay attention will thrive. The move toward standard hardware and software platforms is now coming from outside our industry as it did with Web browser workstation technologies. This is good news because no small group within our industry can control our future and those who pay attention stand to benefit from this new level of standardization. We've come a long way since our first flirtation with open systems more than a decade ago and we still have a long way to go. But our industry has built a great deal of momentum. The only possible impediment now to realizing our dreams for open systems is losing our desire and commitment to keep moving forward


 Tom Hartman

January 8, 2001

David Branson, PE, Sr. VP/Owner Compliance Services Group, Inc.
Specializing in Integrated Building Systems Design & Deployment  Tel: 806-748-0040

We could start the ball rolling on several fronts - the online forum; networking vendors & others at the AHR Expo; solicitation of interested parties from within ASHRAE TCs/GPCs/SSPCs (TC1.4 Controls, TC1.5 Computer Apps, TC4.11 Smart Bldgs, TC 9.9 Bldg Commissioning, GPC20 XML Defs, SSPC135 BACnet), etc.  A minimal level of organization would need to be in place from the get-go so there would be a point of contact for interested parties.  Also, a draft describing the current state of the initiative should be put together and made available, so different crusades don't dilute the effort.


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