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Tuesday
May292007

oBIX Standard Update to CABA

As if Connectivity Week were not enough fun, CABA's Intelligent Buildings comittee met on Friday after the conference. CABA was instrumental in the original founding of the oBIX initiative. Below is a summary of my report.

oBIX has been an OASIS Committee Specification since December. Delays in the IP management process as well as the review/comments/response cycle made progress slow last year. It is now in the winter of discontent when all adoption and movement appears glacial.

There are shipping applications with oBIX now. UNC is today running 70 buildings using oBIX. I am told the Department of Defense is using it in high end specialized situations, but things being what they are, I cannot say where or how. Interested parties can download the specification at:

http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/21462/obix-1.0-cs-01.zip

or can download the open source implementation at:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=148480

What is more interesting is the interest being shown to oBIX external to the buildings domain. The National Building Information Modeling Standard (NBIMS) and the oBIX committee have met to explore relationships between the standards, focusing on whether Energy Models developed directly against NBIMS models can be compared to live data from control systems read by oBIX to produce live models (or instantaneous commissioning). The Emergency Management Technical Committee, promulgators of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) would like invoke oBIX contracts directly from CAP alerts. The Open Geospatial Consortium would like to invoke contracts granting situation and spatial awareness to emergency responders. These conversations are the beginning of enterprise interactions with intelligent buildings.

During the report, I was asked about BACnet-WS and its relationship and competition with oBIX. Today, most implementers are still focused on point-to-point communication between systems using REST. Under REST, the difference between the two standards is small. As applications move toward interactions with systems outside the building system domain, wherein pervasive security, Federated identity management, cross-domain applications, long-running processes, and service orientation become more important, then the value of the SOAP binding offered by oBIX becomes of greater relative value. The applications cited above are good examples.

oBIX is currently recruiting members for the technical committee, both to flesh out errors and omissions (1.1) and to begin defining standard contracts based on the oBIX object model (2.0). oBIX is also considering forming an oBIX implementation committee. CABA members are invited to participate in either or both.

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