Guide to Open Protocols in Building Automation

Schneider Electric Guide to Open Protocols in Building AutomationBy Schneider Electric

Building automation systems are a combination of many different devices and equipment, all communicating over a local or larger network.

These systems communicate with a wide variety of devices, from life-space positioned sensors and lights to technical-space located equipment such as chillers, boilers, air handlers and electrical panels. Regardless of the originating protocol from local controllers on different floors or zones, data may be forwarded to the cloud using another protocol via gateways. Monitoring dashboards in the local Facility Manager (FM) office or at corporate headquarters can see real-time visualizations of energy performance and issues.

To enable all this communication, many different protocols have been developed over the years. Protocols are the accepted rules and standards that allow communication and data-sharing between building automation equipment. Devices and systems that conform to a given protocol can communicate easily with each other, but not necessarily with other protocols.

Why does this matter? Because manufacturers that produce building automation equipment must choose which protocol(s) their product will conform to, which means that users of this equipment are choosing not just the product, but the protocol that goes with it. This Guide is designed to help you navigate, at a high level, the choices in building automation open protocols. First we examine some of the key issues involved in selecting which protocol(s) to choose, then we review each major protocol—why it was developed, who uses it, pros and cons, and any relevant application-specific or regional-specific information.

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