Wake Up Call? What’s in a Name? Soon, Your Location, Sensors, Valves, and Actuators

(Geopositioning of Will Smith in Enemy of the State and article provided by Runway Partners)

This article was provided by Therese Sullivan, Principal, Runway Partners. In this article Therese introduces a few new terms and an outrageously interesting concept of the global telecom industry taking a serious peek into our industry and the way we presently view intelligent buildings and smart parts! This could be a real game-changer. More on this as information becomes available. Read, and comment at will.

“We are fast approaching the day when all of the sensors, actuators and other assets attached to an Internet-connected building automation network have a common way of communicating their name and location. The global telecommunications industry is throwing its weight behind the effort under the umbrella trade organization TM Forum, with leadership from the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for location-service standards.

To date, controls professionals and their collaborating architects, mechanical engineers, code officials, general contractors, building owners, facilities operators etc. have not had a common naming convention. Or, to put it in the words of computer scientists, the world lacks a building automation and control ontology. Everyone who services buildings would benefit from predefined and universally understood device names and the equivalent of a GPS in every BACnet controller. No one enjoys time spent lifting ceiling tiles and testing connections to solve all the mysteries and errors in building blueprints and control schematics.

Progress in bringing physical buildings into the digital world has been severely hampered by the ontology void. Project Haystack, an open source initiative within the building automation community, has brought awareness to the problem and some progress through their efforts to develop tagging conventions and taxonomies for building equipment and operational data. This project augments the definitions for data normalization, data use and communication for building controls that can be found in internationally recognized and supported standards from ASHRAE, ISO and IEC, such as ISO 61499. Yet, none of these comprise an ontology. The telecommunications industry has now identified the issue as one of the barriers to wider adoption of smart grid, M2M networking and other services in the digital ecosystem.

A trade group for the Communications industry, TM Forum, is best known for the Frameworx suite of best practices and standards. Craig Bachmann, Director, Industry Initiatives, TM Forum says, “As we invest in smart grid, M2M and digital health initiatives, integrating location standards into Frameworx has become critical to our success.” That’s why TM Forum is engaging with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to address location information issues.

Regarding the ontology, the combined forces of TM Forum’s 900 communications-industry members and the 475 OGC member companies (government agencies, research organizations, and universities) should get the job done. With leadership from TM Forum and OGC, events like last April’s BACnet Ontology Hackathon have taken place.”

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