Official Web Site of ASHRAE SSPC 135
This section contains previously released news items for your information. They are arranged with the most recent at the top, the oldest at the bottom.
|Old BACnet News
For news from previous years, click here:
- New Testing and Interoperability WG Holds its First Meeting (11/06) Atlanta, GA. The new TI-WG met for the first time. The purpose of the group is to work with the BTL's Working Group (BTL-WG) to improve communications between the SSPC and the BTL, an independent testing organization operated under the aegis of BACnet International. The group has decided to hold periodic teleconferences in conjunction with the BTL-WG so as to speed up the process of feeding back BTL-WG proposals for improved testing as defined in ASHRAE Standard 135.1. The TI-WG also began the review of several specific tests that the BTL-WG has already proposed.
- MS/TP-WG Works on Performance Improvements (11/06) Atlanta, GA. The MS/TP-WG discussed two proposals in Atlanta aimed at improving the performance of BACnet Master-Slave/Token-Passing networks. The first dealt with improving the performance of segmented message processing and has reached the point where the WG has passed the proposal on to the full SSPC for publication approval. The second dealt with the use of 3-wire cabling to improve noise immunity in certain installation scenarios. The current standard calls for the use of shielded twisted pair wiring. One of the WG members was tasked with developing a formal proposal based on the discussions.
- Internet Protocol WG Works on Enhancements (11/06) Atlanta, GA. The IP-WG has forwarded a proposal to the full SSPC to provide for the compatability of BACnet/IP devices with commercial Internet NAT routers. "NAT" or "Network Address Translation" is commonly used to protect private networks from the vagaries of the Internet by providing a substitute IP address for its secured devices. The NAT router then intercepts incoming messages and routes them to the real IP address if they pass its firewall rules. The problem is that some BACnet messages depend on knowing the true address of the communicating devices. This new IP-WG proposal should provide a way to deal with the situation presented by the use of NAT. The IP-WG is also considering proposals for a PTP/TCP data link, for accommodating IPv6, and for a new "Network Port" object type that will provide for interoperability in the configuration of network ports.
- Utility Integration WG Studies Real-Time Pricing (11/06) Atlanta, GA. The UI-WG reviewed the results of the completed real-time pricing (RTP) pilot project conducted during summer 2006 at Georgia Tech and discussed the published results. They also discussed future work of the UI-WG and decided to look at how to standardize the approach taken in the pilot for load shedding, namely when the RTP price reaches a certain threshold, facility thermostats are commanded to a setback condition. They also discussed looking at BACnet objects for presenting meter data.
- Network Security WG Looking for Implementers (11/06) Atlanta, GA. At its meeting in Atlanta, the NS-WG decided to open up its "Call for Implementations" to the broader BACnet-L audience so that all interested parties can be made aware of the group's activities and the desire to have the benefit of implementation experience and feedback prior to finalizing the proposed standard. Conference calls are resuming to prepare additions and changes to Addendum g based on comments received from the first public review. The goal is to have a document ready for second public review by the Dallas meeting in January.
- New BACnet Europe Journal Published! (11/06) Dortmund, Germany. The BIG-EU has just published Volume 5 of the BACnet Europe Journal. Among the highlights: an editorial declaring the protocol wars over(!); six case studies; a section entitled "BACnet Insight" containing a BACnet intro, articles on BACnet and IT, security and system integration; a section on new BACnet products; and a section containing BIG-EU news. Once again, BIG-EU has done a great job of putting together an excellent magazine! To download your own PDF copy, click here.
- Sixth Edition of "BACnet Today" Available! (11/06) Atlanta, GA. The November issue of the ASHRAE Journal contains the long-awaited sixth edition of the supplement "BACnet Today". This year's edition contains 9 articles featuring topics ranging from the use of the open source BACnet firewall router to case studies of BACnet deployment in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Russia. Rounding out the issue are articles on BACnet's use in access control, renovation and a New York hospital. If you don't have a copy of the Journal handy, check out the articles in our Bibliography section.
- Swan Speaks at 2006 AHR Expo-Mexico (10/06) Mexico City, Mexico. SSPC Chairman Bill Swan was one of the featured speakers at the October AHR Expo in Mexico City. His hour and a half talk was entitled "Tendencias de BACnet" ("BACnet Trends") and was presented in English with concurrent translation into Spanish to aid the many conference guests from Latin America. The talk presented a brief history of BACnet along with current developments and the SSPC's plans for the future. Following the conference, Bill's hosts took him on a tour of a few of Mexico's most impressive sights, including the massive Pyramid of the Sun in the ancient city of Teotihuacán, above.
- BI/BTL Holds Annual Plugfest (10/06) Vancouver, B.C., Canada. BACnet International / BACnet Testing Laboratories held its 7th annual BACnet Interoperability Workshop in Vancouver B.C. on October 3-5, 2006. The event was co-sponsored by Delta Controls and Reliable Controls. This workshop is designed to provide an informal environment in which engineers can bring their BACnet implementations for informal testing with other BACnet implementations and thus fosters communications within the BACnet community and promotes interoperability of BACnet devices.
This year's "Plugfest" was attended by 104 engineers from 28 different companies and 5 different countries. During the workshop, the group was divided into 36 different teams forming 18 work groups per session. Each team participated in 10 work sessions that allowed the different teams to meet, interconnect their hardware and test their BACnet implementations in a pair-wise fashion. The companies represented were ABB, Aircuity, Alerton, American Auto Matrix, Automated Logic, Centaurus Prime, Chipkin Automation Systems, Cimetrics, Delta, Field Server, Honeywell, Invensys, ITT Bell & Gossett, Johnson Controls, Kiyon, KMC, Lithonia, LOYTEC, Phoenix Controls, Priva, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, SoftDEL, TAC, Trane, Tridium, Viconics and Watt Stopper. The teams came from Austria, Canada, India, the Netherlands and the United States.
Prior to the workshop, the BTL Working Group met to continue discussions on BTL testing.
- Summary of Items from SSPC Meeting, June 23 - 26, 2006 (6/06) Québec City, Canada.
Addendum b Nears Third Public Review
Addendum b to BACnet-2004 presents new BACnet features supporting advanced trend logging capabilities, specialized alarm handling capabilities important for Asian markets, plus a number of incremental improvements.
This addendum has been through two public reviews and all comments have been resolved, however, implementing the changes required by one of the comments, regarding the TrendLog Multiple Object, has not been completed to the point of being able to be voted out for public review at this time. After much discussion, an agreement has been reached on the direction for this one remaining issue, so it is anticipated that there will be a letter ballot to have this addendum approved for public review before the 8/1/2006 deadline.
Addendum c, BACnet Web Services (BACnet/WS), to be Published
The XML Working Group has completed its review of all the comments received for Addendum c to BACnet-2004. The working group is in the process of drafting formal responses for the SSPC to approve, and in the process, will be considering whether the ensuing changes made to the addendum represent substantive changes or not.
[Subsequent to the Québec meeting, the SSPC voted to recommend publication and this was approved by the ASHRAE Board of Directors on September 29, 2006 and by ANSI on October 2, 2006. BACnet/WS is now an American National Standard!]
Addendum d Receives Final Approval for Publication
Addendum d to BACnet-2004 contains a number of incremental improvements to BACnet, extends certain minimum requirements for BACnet devices and relaxes others, based on experience gained with BACnet devices.
[This addendum was approved for publication following the SSPC meeting by the ASHRAE Board of Directors on June 29, 1006 and by ANSI on June 30, 2006.]
Addendum e to be Recommended for Publication
Addendum e to BACnet-2004 presents a new Load Control object. This object provides a standardized means for external control over load shedding and is the first of several proposals coming out of work on the integration of energy utilities with building automation systems.
This addendum has completed public review and all comments have been resolved. The changes made subsequent to public review were non-substantive and the SSPC therefore voted to recommend this addendum for publication.
Addendum f Voted for Second Public Review
Addendum f to BACnet-2004 proposes a new Access Door object. The first of a series of new Access Control object types developed in liaison with the Security Industry Association, the Access Door object represents the combined physical characteristics of an access-controlled door and the physical hardware and devices commonly associated with doors including door contacts, door locks, Requests-To-Exit, and card readers.
This addendum has had all comments from its first public review resolved. A vote to put this addendum out for a second public review as a review of independent substantive changes was unanimously approved by those present and will be letter balloted for those absent.
Network Security Completes First Public Review, Moves to New Phase
The new network security architecture defined in Addendum g to BACnet-2004 has completed its first public review. All the comments have been discussed with the commenters and resolved, however formal responses have not yet been prepared for approval by the SSPC. Based on the resolutions to these comments, there is no major change in direction to the addendum, and it could easily be put out for public review again; however, the working group feels that this technology is sufficiently complex that interoperability testing with real working implementations must be completed prior to publication of this addendum in the standard.
Therefore, the SSPC will be working with ASHRAE staff to announce a public "Call for Implementations" with a deadline set for a live interoperability test to be performed before the SSPC votes this addendum out for another public review. Such tests are needed to minimize the possibility that the new standard will need to be revised as soon as it is published.
Progress Reported on a new Lighting Object
A new object representing a commandable lighting load is nearing completion. The object was reviewed on two consecutive days and the committee believes that all issues have been worked out, but that the final language is not yet ready to vote on.
- Fachhochschule Solothurn to Hold BACnet Seminar (5/06) Olten, Switzerland. The Building Network Institute (Gebäude Netzwerk Institut) has announced a BACnet training course at the Fachhochschule Solothurn Nordwestschweiz
in Olten, Switzerland on June 22. According to the GNI's announcement, the introduction to the details of BACnet will be kept relatively brief; instead the emphasis will be on practical experience with a multivendor system made up of products from 7 manufacturers. Attendees will learn how the interoperability between various systems really works and how interoperability problems, should they arise, can be analyzed. Registrations will be accepted up until June 9 at http://www.fhso.ch/wb/frame_wb.htm.
- BACnet International forms Steering Committee (5/06) BACnet International, the new organization formed by the merger of the BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the BACnet Interest Group North America (BIG-NA) is moving ahead with efforts to build an organization that can provide better and more extensive service to the BACnet community than its founding partners could manage separately. The Board of Directors has approved the formation of a Steering Committee to provide strategic planning and direction for the new organization. The committee is chaired by Steve Bushby, who served for 17 years on the BACnet Committee in various roles including chairman. The steering committee membership includes representatives from each of the diverse constituencies that BACnet International plans to serve: Building Owners/Facility Managers, Consulting Engineers, Manufacturers, System Integrators, and Institutions and Governmental Agencies.
As it begins work, the Steering Committee will both oversee the testing, marketing, and conference activities of the founding organizations and develop a new range of activities that include expanded training and educational opportunities, developing resources to link and support users of BACnet technology, and outreach to BACnet Interest Groups around the world.
- BIG-EU Publishes Fourth BACnet Europe Journal (4/06) Dortmund, Germany. The BACnet Europe Journal just keeps getting better! The fourth edition, just released, contains 60 pages of BACnet news, ads, product descriptions and technical tutorials all in a beautifully edited bilingual (German and English) format. The case study articles in this edition discuss BACnet at this year's Light+Building exhibition in Frankfurt, the BACnet expansion of the Munich Trade Fair facility, the use of BACnet by the "Poste Italiane", a new shopping center project in Vienna, the use of BACnet at a hospital in Switzerland, and much more. Other articles describe the inner workings of a BACnet-to-LON gateway, the details of the BACnet Point-To-Point protocol, and the features of the BACnet Master-Slave/Token-Passing protocol. To download your own copy, click here.
- Kranz Named "Godfather" of BACnet in Russia (4/06) For his help in encouraging the formation of the BACnet Interest Group - Russia, Hans Kranz (left) is awarded an honorary certificate of membership from BIG-RU Executive Director Andrey Golovin at the VDI (Association of German Engineers) booth at this year's Light+Building exposition in Frankfurt. BIG-RU has just announced the signing of an agreement with ASHRAE that will allow for the translation of the BACnet standard into Russian and adoption of BACnet as a Russian National Standard. For additional information, visit the BIG-RU Website.
- SSPC Meets for 4th Time in Germantown (4/06) Germantown, MD. Once again the SSPC working groups met on Montgomery College's Germantown campus. The meeting began on Monday, April 24 and concluded on Friday, April 28. Nearly 30 BACneteers from the USA, Canada, Germany and Switzerland attended. The following links recount the Meeting Info and Meeting Schedule.
- Light+Building 2006 is History (4/06) Frankfurt, Germany. The largest live BACnet interoperability demonstration to date took place between April 23 and 27, 2006, at the trade fair grounds in Frankfurt am Main! The massive 100' long booth featured 23 interconnected BACnet systems. According to the BIG-EU organizers the following organizations took part: ABB Automation Products, ABB Gebäudetechnik, Automated Logic, Delta Controls, GFR, Honeywell, I.T.E.N.O.S, Innovision, Messner Gebäudetechnik, Johnson Controls, Kieback & Peter, MBS, Neuberger Gebäudeautomation, Plüth Regelysteme, Priva BV, Saia-Burgess, Samson Mess- und Regeltechnik, Sauter-Cumulus, SE-Elektronic, Siemens Building Technologies, Sysmik, TAC and Tridium Europe.
- New BTL Test Lab Established in India (3/06) Boston, Massachusetts. For more than five years, the BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL) has operated a test lab in Boston. Now the torch is being passed to a new test facility. BACnet International and the BTL have reached an agreement with a new organization to establish and maintain a test lab for BACnet products: SoftDEL Systems Limited. The U.S. headquarters for SoftDEL is in Stafford, Texas while the actual test facility will be located in Mumbai, India.
The BTL Manager and BTL Working Group of BACnet International will continue to administer the test lab. In particular, the BTL Manager will continue to oversee the lab and help coordinate testing for BTL customers.
Jim Butler, of Cimetrics, has served as the BTL Manager since its inception in 2000. He explained the new move this way: "Demand for product testing has steadily increased over time. We needed a facility that could more readily respond to changes in demand while maintaining the quality that our customers have come to expect. As cost of testing can be high and serve as a barrier for some, we also sought a cost-effective solution. Finally, we needed to maintain the objective neutrality of a third party. We entertained several proposals but settled on SoftDEL after extensive investigation."
"We are pleased to assume this responsibility," said Ajay Nirantar, U.S-based Business Development Manager for SoftDEL. "We have had business relationships with select BACnet manufacturers for some time. More importantly, our Mumbai lab has been performing similar testing and validation since 2001. The discipline required by the BTL is perfectly in keeping with our corporate mission and services. We look forward to serving existing and new customers who want to take advantage of the credibility that BTL listing can provide." Transitional training for test lab personnel will take place in April. The new lab in Mumbai hopes to be operational and accepting products for testing by the end of May. SoftDEL will also pursue ISO-17025 certification for the lab.
- Record Number of Addenda Go To Public Review (3/06) Atlanta, GA. One of the fruits of the Chicago SSPC meeting in January was the recommendation of 5 documents for public review. These recommendations were subsequently approved by the Standards Committee and the 45-day reviews will all run concurrently, from March 17 to May 1, 2006. Addenda c, d and e are second drafts and Addenda f and g are going out for the first time. All of the current drafts can be downloaded in PDF format from our Addenda page where you can also find thumbnail descriptions of each addendum's contents.
- Kranz Delivers BACnet Talk in Finland (3/06) Helsinki, Finland. One of the events at "Building Systems 2006" on March 22 in Helsinki was a presentation on BACnet given by Hans Kranz of Haustechnik Automation Kranz (HAK). Hans, as readers of this site know, recently published the first book dedicated entirely to BACnet and has been active with ISO-TC205/WG3, the group responsible for the international standardization of BACnet (EN ISO 16484-5, 6), as Germany's delegate. In addition to the talk, Hans (left) manned the BIG-EU booth and is joined in the picture by Knut Løe (right) of Standards Norway, the Norwegian delegate to ISO-TC205/WG3.
- ASHRAE Issues the 200th Vendor ID (3/06) Atlanta, GA. Question: Did the new millenium begin on January 1, 2000 or January 1, 2001? Different people have different opinions. The same could be said for the question of who has the distinction of having the 200th Vendor ID. Is it Innotech Controls Systems Australia of Brisbane? They have been issued ID 199 and since the numbering begins at 0 (retained by the ASHRAE SSPC for its use) they've got it. Of course, ASHRAE isn't really a "vendor" of building automation and control equipment so maybe the honor goes to Kandenko Co., Ltd. of Tokyo. They have been issued ID 200. In any case, congratulations to both companies - and all of the growing number of organizations that are helping BACnet grow!
- ASHRAE Offers First Online Seminar on BACnet (3/06) Atlanta, GA. The ASHRAE Learning Institute's Spring 2006 Professional Development Online Seminar series featured a seminar entitled "An Introduction to BACnet" on April 12, 2006. The instructor was Dave Fisher, one of BACnet's "founding fathers." Registration for the presentation totaled 38.
- BIG-EU Elects an International Board (2/06) Dortmund, Germany. There has been a changing of the guard at BIG-EU. At a special meeting of the membership in Essen, Germany, a new Board of Directors was elected and the number of directors increased from 3 to 4. Volker Röhl of Johnson Controls, who had previously served as Treasurer, was elected the new President. Hans-Werner Koch of Honeywell was elected to another term as Vice-President. Gijs de Koning, of the Dutch firm Regel Partners BV, was elected to the board along with Roger Braun of Siemens who will be the new Treasurer. Nils Meinert, who served as President since the formation of BIG-EU in 1998, recently left Siemens for Honeywell, necessitating an early election since the BIG-EU bylaws do not allow more than one person from the same company to serve on the board. For his years of exemplary service, Nils was named an Honorary Member of BIG-EU and, in the picture, Meinert (right) is being congratulated by incoming President Röhl (left). Thanks, Nils!
The new international composition of the board, with members from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, is in line with BIG-EU's goal of becoming a true transnational, European organization. BIG-EU now has 60 members from 13 countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
- Chairman Swan Speaks at ACREX 2006 (2/06) New Delhi, India. By invitation, BACnet committee chair Bill Swan attended the international ACREX 2006 Exposition (the "International Exposition on Airconditioning Refrigeration and Building Services") in New Delhi, India, organized by ISHRAE (the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-conditioning Engineers) and the New Delhi chapter of ASHRAE this February. There he spoke during the technical conference, "Towards a Greener World". The main order of business was to elevate awareness of the BACnet protocol and its benefits in this rapidly-developing country. Following the conference, "BACnet Bill" met with industry leaders in both New Delhi and Bangalore for further one-on-one discussions. In the midst of this whirlwind tour was the opportunity for sightseeing, as noted by this picture of the Qutub Minar, the highest tower in India, finished in 1236. To those whose efforts and kind hospitality made the trip a success, Bill says "Thank you!"
- BACnet International Booth Draws a Crowd (1/06) Chicago, Illinois. To publicize the existence of the new organization, BI put together a new, multivendor display area at the AHR which drew quite a crowd! Ken Sinclair, Publisher of the online industry journal The Automator , in his report on the show entitled "My 10 Takeaways from AHR Expo Chicago," perhaps said it best: "All the hard work of achieving a consensus standard has come to a brilliant finish. The energy, no the synergy in the BACnet International booth was amazing, the sense of industry cooperation with the demonstration of a myriad of connected manufacturers products. The notion that was obvious was the fact that as each of these manufacturers innovates with new BACnet products and services they add to the strength, the reach plus the cost effectiveness of their international community. Another feather in the BACnet International cap was the support by the major control companies of their international standard." Thanks, Ken! These are, indeed, exciting times for BACnet.
- BACnet International Launches! (1/06) Chicago, Illinois. Visitors to the Building Automation and Controls Showcase area at the recent AHR Expo in Chicago were greeted by a new kid on the block. No, it was not a new controls manufacturer. It was the new face of the BACnet community: BACnet International (BI).
Just before the opening of the show, members of two former organizations voted to consolidate and rename their collective assembly. The two organizations had been known as the BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the BACnet Interest Group - North America (BIG-NA). The boards of these organizations have now been combined into a single and smaller board that will reflect the diversity of membership and the agility and responsiveness that will permeate the new organization.
Andy McMillan of Teletrol, is a board member of BI and will serve as the organization's president for a one-year term. He explains the rationale for the organizational changes: "Some time ago we began to see the limitations of our two organizations, especially in regards to reaching a greater audience of those interested in the implementation of BACnet. The BMA, as its name suggests, was limited to those providing products or services to the industry. And the BIG-NA simply lacked the resources to effectively communicate to the entire community of users. So, we began discussions many months ago to redefine our joint interests and goals. At the BACnet Conference and Expo, held last October, we put the matter before members of both groups as a proposed plan and sought further input. Obviously, there were necessary legal steps and some agreements that had to be reached. Then, on January 22, we voted to formalize the decision."
As its mission, the organization will be a resource to the greater body of BACnet users, product providers, service providers, and building professionals. Organization leaders expect that it will begin to take on the diversity of all interested parties. Education and training will become a major focus. And, because membership is now open to a greater audience, they also anticipate growth.
"In actuality, a scalable and flexible membership structure attracts all interested parties, says Ben Dorsey of KMC Controls and Marketing Committee Chairman for BI. "There are different levels of membership for manufacturers and service providers, for example. We also anticipate that some building owners, facility managers, and consulting engineers will see the benefits of membership and join our ranks. We've even created a membership for BACnet sites, facilities whose owners wish to receive recognition for the integration or interoperability showcased therein."
At the show, several members companies shared the BACnet International booth and created an interoperability demonstration that illustrated the high level of cooperation the new organization has established. Dorsey explains: "Booth visitors would have noticed that many of us who were there are direct competitors. Yet, we have become united by a common purpose in advancing the implementation of BACnet. To the extent we do so, all of us will benefit."
Many who wandered into the booth simply wanted to learn more about what BACnet is and what it could do for them. These questions illustrate the central educational aim of BI: tailoring its informational resources to various audiences. The organization plans to disseminate this information via its web site, through sponsoring and participating in events, and through published papers and articles as well as online web seminars.
"What seems clear to me," concludes Dorsey, "is that the interest in BACnet continues to escalate and that all parties have been seeking a definitive resource for BACnet information. BACnet International is now that resource."
- BIG-SE Hosts BACnet Seminar at Nordbygg 2006 (1/06) Stockholm, Sweden. The Nordbygg exhibition is a biennial event and the biggest in Scandinavia with more than 55,000 visitors. This year, the newly-formed BIG-SE arranged a half-day seminar with the theme "BACnet's role in future Building Automation" with Hans Kranz as lecturer. (See the item below!) The goal was to give the audience basic knowledge about standardized protocols in general and BACnet in particular. The seminar was well received by the audience of about 25 attendees.
BIG-SE has been active in other areas as well and has run a number of BACnet-related articles in the biggest HVAC magazine in Sweden, Energi & Miljö. The articles are a mix of market information and more detailed technical information. BIG-SE also plans to have BACnet training on May 11 in Stockholm for building owners and consultants taught by Jan Risén of Siemens. Interest in BACnet is growing in Sweden and BIG-SE hopes to boost it with their activities!
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