Thus the BACnet Interest Group BIG was founded:

BIG Deeds to Follow Great Words!

Frankfurt/Main. Not only the air conditioning in the hotel meeting room ran smoothly on this warm 14th day of May: also the program, put together by the BIG organizers and which began with several overview presentations, ran like the proverbial "clockwork." First Heinz Theo Sandkaulen, responsible for building automation in the medical facilities at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf (his group takes care of a 20,000 room, 4,000,000 ft2 complex with an additional 900 apartments!) discussed the technical and infrastructure-related tasks and problems of such a large facility. He presented examples of his solutions which use a specially developed room database and a usage-dependent cleaning and maintenance program which in turn take advantage of features of the building automation, CAD, and document management systems.

First there were informational presentations...

Next "Mr. BACnet" Mike Newman, who had flown from the USA to Frankfurt specially to attend the founding celebration, took the podium and in an excellent talk entitled "BACnet - Technology for Today and Tomorrow" sketched out for the audience the history, advantages, and structure of BACnet as an open, vendor-independent communications protocol for building automation. Of particular interest were his statements concerning current developments and the possibility of sending BACnet messages over the Internet - a subject of increasing significance to those desiring central monitoring and control of distributed properties.

The next speaker was Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer, Fachhochschule Dortmund (in his talk "BACnet as a European Standard" he compared the structure of BACnet to the less successful [German government-sponsored standard] FND). He was followed by brief presentations by Franz Fritz, Johnson Controls; Karl-Heinz Belser, Honeywell; René Quirighetti, Landis & Staefa; and Volker Stamer, Trane, in which they presented their perspectives, requirements, goals, and expectations of BACnet and BIG from the viewpoint of providers/manufacturers. Among the themes were the exchange of information and experiences with BACnet throughout Europe among all interested parties in the industry including designers, system integrators, and users of every stripe (in cooperation naturally with ASHRAE in the USA, etc.), the common marketing and development of guidelines for certification of BACnet products and the introduction of training programs and informational events as well as making BACnet a promotional priority.

...and then things got serious!

Around 3:30 PM, following a final coffee break and a brief discussion of the proposed by-laws, Prof. Dr.-Engineer Klaus W. Schiffers, Fachhochschule Aachen, directed the group to the most critical item on the agenda: the actual founding of the BIG and the election of the first officers. From the entries in the prepared list of company representatives, 17 firms indicated their desire to join the BIG and are listed in the accompanying table based on the seven membership categories. The subsequent elections produced the following BIG board of directors:

President: Nils Meiner, Landis & Staefa
Vice-President: Karl-Heinz Belser, Honeywell
Treasurer: Volker Röhl, JCI

Steering Committee (in addition to being "Sponsors"):

Hans Symanczik, Kieback & Peter
Prof. Peter Fischer, FH Dortmund
Volker Stamer, Trane
Richard Staub, BUS-House Zürich
Siegfried Weikmann, M&M

The editors of CCI also wish to extend their congratulations to the newly elected board members who, in the coming weeks and months, will have the task of breathing life into BIG. In addition to the goals mentioned above, two very concrete tasks stand at the top of the "to do" list:

First is the acquisition of members, particularly from among users who were relatively restrained at the foundation meeting [probably due to the financial requirements for membership] but whose participation is needed to truly "round out" the organization.

Second is the stronger internationalization of BIG. While it is true that a number of "non-German" firms are among the founding members (and that the leading European and globally active building automation companies are already in BIG), nonetheless BIG should pay particular attention to the theme "Europeanization of the Group."

In the next few days the board will likely be calling on Prof. Schiffers to take over the business aspects of BIG. He will thus inherit the task that TEMA was originally slated to carry out but will not: since TEMA already handles the business affairs of the LON User Organization, LNO, some foresaw the possibility of a future conflict of interest on the horizon and the planned liaison was therefore called off by mutual agreement.

Here are the Founding Members of BIG:

Category A (Annual contribution of 20,000 DM):

Manufacturers and dealers of automation equipment or contractors and integrators who, as Sponsors, wish to document their leading role in supporting the goals of the organization:

Alerton (USA), Elektrowatt (Landis & Staefa, Cerberus), Honeywell, Johnson Controls.

Categories B through D (Annual contribution of 10,000 to 2,500 DM):

Manufacturers and dealers of automation equipment or contractors and integrators with more than 1,000 employees (10,000 DM), between 100 and a 1,000 employees (5,000 DM), or up to 100 employees (2,500 DM): CA Computer Automation, IfR Institut für Regelungstechnik, Kieback & Peter, Regin Technology (Sweden), Siemens AG ATD/GTA, Trane.

Categories E through G (Annual contribution of 1,000 to 500 DM):

Design and consulting firms, not-for-profit organizations as well as operators and general interest members: BUS-House (Switzerland), EIBA (Belgium), FH Dortmund (Department of Communication Technology), GIMELEC (France), Design Group M&M, Schneider Electric (France), Triple S (Austria), VTT Building Technology (Finland).

(Translation of Dr. Manfred Stahl's original CCI pre-print by H. M. Newman, Ithaca, NY)