I’d like to share a discussion that I’ve had with many of our partners that may help others who are planning to upgrade their buildings but don’t know where to start. These discussions were mostly with companies who offer energy management or analytics applications that can work with data collected via BACnet.
Traditionally, our S4 Open: BACnet-N2 Router has been the product of choice as the gateway technology when an integrator wants to introduce a new BACnet Operator Workstation and Global Controller to a legacy BAS system. On day one this very quickly adds value by improving the user interface, improving navigation, and introducing more sophisticated global control of all building services. This is normally the first step in a transition plan to migrate to current technology. In almost every legacy building these steps will eventually be taken, but they do not have to be the first steps!
Let’s consider building efficiency. BACnet has the versatility to support many different client applications at the same time. The S4 Open: BACnet-N2 Router can act as an on-site agent to provide data from the live building to populate the digital twin that provides the building model for value added analytics applications. This makes your first step to gather the facts about what is working in your building, what needs tuned, and what is completely broken beyond repair. This allows the building owner to make decisions about where to invest first based on facts, rather than pure intuition. At the appropriate time a new operator workstation and global controller will indeed be a part of the upgrade plans. But, the ROI analysis based on building analytics might indicate that other things should have a higher priority.
After you have completed this baseline analysis then consider continuous commissioning, energy management, demand response, and other value-added applications that will keep your building running at peak performance and efficiency. They can all share the data provided by BACnet. What if some of these applications are in the Cloud? Building IoT holds the solution for that.
Since all of these applications are BACnet based, they will continue serving the building long after those legacy systems are replaced by current generation BACnet technology. It’s an investment that keeps on returning on the investment