I think we would all be a little frustrated if we had to use a separate radio for each station we listen to. Before open protocol architecture, this scenario is similar to what end users of DDC systems had to do. It wasn’t uncommon to walk into an engineer’s office and see an array of monitors spread across the desk. Not only was this unsightly, it was expensive to maintain. As time went on, the attempt to solve this problem with custom drivers that could talk to proprietary systems failed miserably. It was messy and costly to reverse engineer, and the manufacturer would make changes that would break these bridges to freedom. In addition, once an equipment manufacturer was in the building with their product, it was next to impossible to get them out. Thus began the true motivation behind an open protocol.
By its most general definition, open protocol is the property of public domain. This means that there is no physical ownership, and it’s free for anyone who wants to develop it. To achieve success in such an open standard would require not only a free-for-all mentality, but also a robust, intuitive and flexible approach to building automation solutions.
Over the next several posts I will dive into what types of open protocols the industry has to offer. We will look at their strengths and weaknesses and talk about what the future has in store for open communications within the building automation industry.