Office Automation

A Few Applications of Building Management Systems over IP Networks

Building Management Systems (BMS) is the cumulative name for all devices that are used to monitor and control HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) systems, Security systems (like fire alarms, access controls), Lighting systems, Energy management, etc. in a large premises. Intelligent BMS systems integrate disparate BMS devices/networks onto a common network (IP) to enable unified automation and management, even though they maybe manufactured by different vendors. In the future, we may get a single dashboard to manage all BMS and Network/IT systems.

But why should we think about such a grand integration? Apart from the reduced capital and maintenance costs needed to create and maintain a single network (vs. multiple networks at present), unification also facilitates automation, increases energy efficiency and enables predictive analysis to reduce failures proactively. Protocols like BACnet can run on the IP network, thus enabling disparate BMS systems provided by different manufacturers to be integrated and monitored remotely over the web.

Web Services – that use XML to communicate over the IP Network – could be an ideal way to make a ‘top-end’ connection between systems running BACnet, LonWorks and other protocols.

Let us look at a few (possible) interesting applications of Integrating BMS systems over IP Networks:

  • Individual-level control of appliances (like air conditioners, etc.). For example, an employee can control the HVAC system in the conference room using the interface on the IP Phone’s screen, if he is working after office hours/on a holiday.
  • Unified dashboard and reporting for monitoring/controlling BMS & Network systems with multiple levels of access depending on user/admin profile.
  • Real-time energy utilization tracking for all buildings from a central location, to determine energy consumption patterns and identify (possible) areas of improvement. Knowing energy consumption levels and their sources will enable companies to understand usage patterns and negotiate power contracts with utility companies, better. They can also verify the billing info provided by the utilities.
  • Predictive Analytics/Business Intelligence techniques could be applied to try to predict failures ahead of time, based on usage patterns and history of incidents.
  • Powering off unused equipment/appliances automatically, without user intervention.
  • Real-time alerts of emergencies and events that cross predetermined threshold levels, over the Internet and Mobile networks. Web-based operation of BMS and Network devices by technicians, even from remote locations/home.
  • Creating intelligent buildings that self-regulate all major systems and improve energy efficiency, while simultaneously reducing the risk of failure.

Reference/More info: Building Automation System over IP, <pdf> by Cisco & Johnson Controls.

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One Comment

  • John Ndungu

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