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Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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« NBIMS and Enterprise Interfaces | Software Factories and Building Systems »
Monday
Sep032007

Why The Enterprise needs Building System Information

Just about all the low level systems claim they have an interface to The Enterprise. What they have done is expose the low level engineer points within each system using the XML used by Enterprise systems. For the claims to be honest, they need to bundle up these low level points into the services they provide for the enterprise and expose those services as XML.

The Enterprise is, quite simply, the normal business of a corporation or agency. The Enterprise includes all the ways a business makes money. Anything that does not make money should have its costs cut.

On the edge of the enterprise are what some have called “hygiene factors”. No one is hired for their hygiene, although people have been fired for neglecting it. A cottage in the country can get by with an outhouse; but a town that does not upgrade its hygiene requirements as it grows smells bad. Hygiene factors are necessary, but rarely thought of.

Today Building Automation Control Systems (BACS), with a few exceptions such as pharmaceutical verified environment systems, is little more than a hygiene factor. As such, its operations are relegated to the dankest room in the back office, with little respect, outsourced if possible. It is noticed only when it fails (and perhaps by the odor). Enterprises certainly do not manage BACS as a strategic asset.

Health & safety concerns, Sustainable Buildings, and Carbon Credits are beginning to get BACS recognized as a strategic asset. Quality of Services (QOS) requirements are increasingly being written into leases, not only for comfort control but also for power management, HIPPA compliance, and other issues..

But what can control systems provide to the enterprise? Here is an example:

There is no building system simpler to consider than the black mat at the store that, when stepped upon, opens a door. A large retailer has enterprise enabled its door openers to provide live foot traffic information to its sales staffing operations. This information is used by its advertising and marketing groups to analyze the direct effects of their activities. A simple convenience control with very little smarts is now a corporate asset to three separate enterprise activities. Providing access to user friendly information enables people to make better decisions.

Today, much of the information available about our building and utility systems is generated for a specific user group focused on a narrow area of interest. The data is provided at a level of detail, and in a terminology, that is not useful to outside audiences.

Putting in place monitoring and information systems that expand opportunities for access and analysis would improve communication and decision making across a range of operational and business departments and users. These must not require that enterprise programmers learn about the building systems. The building systems must share their information in ways that make sense to the rest of the business.

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