S4 has been using the phrase “Extending and Enhancing Metasys®” in our literature and discussions since day one. But, what does this really mean? I did a search of our web site and really couldn’t find a concise definition.
The S4 Open Appliances have a number of use cases and more are being added as our partners find new ways of applying our technology. Remember, we always present it as enabling technology. Many of our partners take this seriously!
The fact is that the installed base of legacy Metasys® N2 systems is aging. There is no magic elixir that will give you another 20 years of useful life out of systems that are already, in many cases, approaching 20 years in service. The fact that these N2 field devices and their associated Metasys® supervisory controllers have lasted this long is a testament to the engineering and manufacturing quality that Johnson Controls built into the Metasys® product line.
BACnet is the key to interoperability and compatibility in the building automation industry. It has evolved as the needs of the industry have changed. Virtually every value added application developed in recent years can connect to BACnet-enabled buildings to gather the necessary data to deliver their intended services. That’s why the S4 Open Appliances publish to BACnet.
When we developed our initial business plan we decided that we wanted to team with everyone in the industry, not compete with them. So, we put bounds around what we would deliver and the focus was as gateway and integration technology that enabled value added applications to be utilized against the data available via the S4 Open Appliances.
We coach our integration partners on how to present the value proposition of the S4 Open Appliances to building owners and their trusted advisors. That is, to be realistic, and honest, about what can be accomplished. Every installation of the S4 Open Appliances needs to be approached as part of a transition plan. However, instead of a traditional Rip-And-Replace transition plan this is a longer term plan that facilitates the upgrading of the BAS infrastructure over time when it fits the building owner’s budget and building operations plans.
So, the Enhancing definition is straight forward. We enable the enhancement of legacy Metasys® installations by facilitating the introduction of any value added application that supports BACnet. In fact, with our Upstream N2 technology that allows the co-existence of BACnet applications with the Metasys® head end, value added applications can be introduced to legacy Metasys® installations completely transparently to the operation of the installed Metasys® system.
Extending is a bit harder to define because it involves a number of interlocking plans. The simplest is empowering the building owner to continue using those legacy Metasys® devices for as long as they are physically able to operate. However, you need to take a look at Metasys® at the overall systems level, and any system is only as good as its weakest link. This becomes an exercise in risk management. The building owner and their integration partner need to be proactive. There needs to be a plan in place to replace the devices at highest risk as soon as budget allows. You also need to have contingency plans in place to react to unplanned failures of N2 devices so that the system as a whole remains operational. Lastly, to be realistic, at some time you will need to bite the bullet and upgrade to current technology. We are simply giving you the technology to plan this on your own terms.
So, there you have it. The S4 Open Appliances Extend the life of legacy Metasys® systems as far as is practical and Enhance these system by enabling the application of current generation BACnet enabled value added applications.