Earlier this month, ARM launched a free operating system to drive the uptake of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The announcement reflects the growing trend toward open-source protocols across many technology fields. The building automation space is no exception.
Several efforts exist to develop open-source platforms for various aspects of building automation. Traditionally, controls communications for building automation systems (BASs) have been based on proprietary languages and protocols that were developed by individual companies and only compatible with certain software or hardware solutions. Demand for interoperability from building owners and operators has begun to drive the development of open protocols for BASs. Open protocols provide customers greater flexibility to select equipment from a number of vendors as well as other benefits, including higher robustness, lower cost, and the opportunity for more innovation and collaboration.
Project Haystack is an initiative to streamline the process of working with data from the IoT. Founded in 2011 by a group of member companies, including Airmaster, J2 Innovations, Lynxspring, Siemens, SkyFoundry, WattStopper, and Yardi, Project Haystack became a non-profit organization in July 2014. With more than 500 members today, Project Haystack is involved in creating a library of naming conventions for items on a BAS.
The goal of Open BAS is to help facilitate the programming of systems in medium-sized commercial buildings (i.e., less than 50,000 square feet). The Open BAS project is being run by an Information Technology for Energy (I4Energy) team of experts and innovators striving to find IT solutions for global energy issues. The primary goal of the Open BAS project is to develop, refine, and formalize an open-source, user-friendly software platform that will bring energy efficiency to smaller commercial buildings.
The Security Hurdle
Finally, ASHRAE’s Research Project (RP) 1455 aims to provide a library of control sequences that integrators can use directly with HVAC equipment. One goal is to establish more standardized control sequences for design engineers and controls contractors. The 1455 project will specify best-in-class sequences for ASHRAE-compliant air systems in high-performance buildings.
Although these open protocol projects are good first steps, they have not yet provided interoperability to the extent that they promise. As building owners and operators continue to demand greater interoperability and more flexibility with protocols, additional efforts to open up the programming of devices and allow deeper access will likely arise. At the same time, security concerns highlighted by recent high-profile hacking attacks could limit the spread of open-source protocols.
Tags: Building Systems, Energy Efficient Buildings, Energy Management, Smart Buildings Program
| No Comments »