A majority of planners intend to integrate lighting, HVAC and security systems into a common platform, and almost half of building automation projects involve legacy systems running multiple protocols from different vendors, according to a recent survey by control networking platform provider Echelon, which concludes that multi-protocol and converged solutions will be key to extracting optimal benefit from the emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Results of the Echelon survey, which was conducted online for four weeks earlier this year include:
- Seventy percent of respondents said they plan to integrate their disparate building lighting, HVAC and security systems onto a common platform—nearly one-third of them in the next 12 to 18 months.
- Almost half the survey respondents indicated that more than 50 percent of their building retrofit projects involve multiple protocols.
- Nearly two-thirds reported that at least a quarter of their current retrofit projects involve multiple protocols.
Building automation systems have been developed using disparate protocols such as BACnet, LonTalk, DALI, C-Bus, Modbus, KNX, etc. that currently do not intercommunicate.
A single converged network can help building operators lower costs, and more easily create powerful, integrated applications that boost energy efficiency while increasing comfort for people in the buildings.
Market researchers predict that the IIoT will comprise a billion industrial and commercial devices by 2017, and that the IIoT will add 500 million new units per year.
Potential IIoT benefits depend on both existing and new building automation devices being able to interoperate with one another, running whatever protocols evolved within their particular domains.