Open systems: The foundation for a new era of BAS
The expansion of the open systems model to multi-protocol, cross-subsystem integration in both single- and multi-premise applications is becoming the norm. Owners want the best the market can offer, and sometimes this requires a combination of technologies to achieve the desired result. New systems are embracing a variety of subsystem architectures that employ an assortment of devices and communication protocols. But these solutions must "play nicely" together in order to provide the necessary ROI and longer-term cost benefits. Systems utilizing industry standard communication protocols such as LonWorks, BACnet, Zigbee, Z-Wave, EnOcean, and OpenADR, all of which have or will achieved ISO standardization designation, will become commonplace, and all of these protocol based subsystems must be able to interact and work together.
Active investigations are under way to tackle this hurdle including several independent efforts such as the EASI project (Enterprise Application Standard Interface-an independent group of end users, owners, vendors, and developers) working on a open architecture solution, which addresses the communication between the lower subsystems and the enterprise by providing common application program interface (API) and data profile models for information. Other initiatives, such as the Haystack project (also an independent group of vendors, developers, and users), are looking to address the common labeling, tagging, and point identification issues that can help with the standardization of information models as disparate systems are integrated together. Other standards bodies, such as the OpenADR Alliance (automated demand response), are looking at solutions that focus on the communication levels between the building and the utility to manage energy consumption.
According to Barry Haaser, Executive Director of the OpenADR Alliance, "Demand response (DR) programs help utilities maintain grid reliability and enable customers to realize significant value. Unfortunately, existing propriety solutions add unnecessary cost and complexity. The OpenADR Alliance was created to standardize, automate, and simplify DR to enable utilities to cost-effectively meet growing energy demand, and customers to control their energy future. The importance of BAS and DR integration is paramount to the success of the Smart Grid."
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.