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Communication and Data Infrastructure

The method of communication and data exchange within and between building systems is vital. It is a foundation that will determine the difficulty or ease of integrating system functionality and data. Smart buildings shun proprietary protocols in favor of standard open communications protocols based on the ASHRAE BACnet I/P, Lonworks, OPC DA, Modbus TCP, oBIX, XML, SOAP and SNMP standards of data exchange or similar open standard protocols. Many building products now incorporate open protocols, some going through a process that verifies or certifies their adherence to the protocol standard.

The network architecture of building systems should take into account the minimum speeds for serial buses, maximum size in points and devices per serial bus, maximum number of serial buses per network controller, and the use of native open-protocol controllers versus gateways in existing buildings.

The adherence to standard open protocols and detailed network design extends not only to building control systems but also to facility management systems, business systems, and IT systems in the use of standard database structures such as SQL or ODBC, Oracle or DB2.

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