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EMAIL INTERVIEW Ed Richards & Ken Sinclair
Edmund B. Richards, President and CEO,
Ed Richards is the President/CEO and founder of Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence, Inc. (RZ) located in Santa Barbara, California. Mr. Richards is a Mechanical/Environmental Engineer with a special educational emphasis on the indoor environment including, HVAC, IAQ and Building Automation Systems. For over 25 years, Mr. Richards has been a leader in the engineering and construction market with a special focus on the Intelligent Buildings segment over the last 10 years. RZ is a manufacturer of IP centric building integration solutions, including a hardware and software solution known as the Mediator™. The Mediator™ provides an integration framework, known as the Multi-Protocol Exchange (MPX™), which allows for the convergence of multiple disparate building systems onto an IP network. Mr. Richards passion, energy and vision is keenly focused on bringing down the communication barriers in the Building Automation Systems Industry and allowing the industry to finally "catch up" with the much younger and advanced Information Technology (IT) industry.
Controls Vendor Free
Building owners and facility managers now have the ability to select building systems, components, smart equipment, and applications and services by a "best of breed" approach.
Sinclair: Please tell me about the "Controls Vendor Free" Control System?
Richards: Traditionally building control systems have been defined by the manufacturer and the manufacturers' brand of controls systems. Today, with the launch of a "controls vendor free" control system, the industry is seeing a paradigm shift. Building owners and facility managers now have the ability to select building systems, components, smart equipment, and applications and services by a "best of breed" approach. No longer limited by the technology that a single manufacturer is capable and/or willing to provide, building owners and facility managers can decide on the best overall technology solution in circulation. RZ calls this the Intelligent Building Systems (IBS) architecture.
Sinclair: Interesting. How has your history and experience in the building systems market provided Richards-Zeta with the expertise in this area?
Richards: In 1988, Richards-Zeta was the first to introduce innovative graphical application programming, perfectHOST, for the building automation industry. Coupled with the inception of the internet and subsequent standards, RZ introduced the Mediator. The RZ Mediator is a powerful, intelligent middleware solution comprised of both hardware and software which allows for the convergence of multiple disparate building systems and IT. It is a domain and protocol agnostic integration framework which is able to communicate with a number of disparate protocols and normalizes both IP and legacy serial based protocols. This normalization in turn allows for intra-protocol communication, the uniform application of services such as logging, and the common presentation of information that is sourced from the array of intelligent machines found in buildings.
By combining these two powerful technologies RZ provides for full, closed loop control service to be applied to any connected system or device regardless of manufacture or protocol resulting in this revolutionary "controls vendor free", control system.
Sinclair: How does the RZ Mediator promote the "controls vendor free" control system?
Richards: By installing the RZ Mediator infrastructure, users have the ability to easily install, network and integrate any third party controllers, systems and/or devices into the Mediator framework and combine further value by adding supervisory control strategies and additional control logic. With the Mediator architecture, any manufactures' devices and systems which support open protocol standards (XML, HTTP, BACnet/IP, Modbus, SNMP, LonWorks, etc.) or numerous systems with proprietary protocols (RZ currently supports <65), now become an integral part of the fully integrated Intelligent Building Systems (IBS).
Sinclair: How does the Mediator's design strengthen this approach?
Richards: The Mediator by design is an open source (Linux and Python based) embedded internet appliance. Its powerful Multi-Protocol eXchange (MPX) framework provides the enabling technology for building owners and facility managers to actively pursue and obtain the "best of breed" technology systems. Since all building systems data is normalized, the possibilities are endless and the implementation of fully integrated IBS systems is obtainable. Services such as advanced building systems analytics, energy management, automated demand response (ADR), automated fault detection and diagnostics (AFDD), computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), work order systems, tenant billing, database management and global schedules are integrated within the building management systems.
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