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How Does FIN Stack, Stack Up?


FIN Stack is based on an open framework that simplifies smart building management to get jobs done faster. It’s based on our FIN Framework software and consists of a comprehensive suite of ready-to-use apps, enabling integrated BMS solutions to be engineered quickly and easily. FIN Stack was created for System Integrators as an out-of-the box solution. 


In a previous blog, we explored in detail both open device protocols and open data standards. The holy grail for our industry has always been to provide openness that incorporates devices, data, and distribution. With FIN Stack, we support all the open protocols, are founders of the Project Haystack data standard, and have an ecosystem of authorized FIN resellers. 

Our connector framework provides one of the easiest toolsets to simplify the integration of multiple building systems. For example, as points and equipment are discovered, our point libraries automatically tag the modeled data with Haystack tags. This is important because our database natively supports the Haystack data standard (no additional work is needed to share data with enterprise apps).

The combination of a database engineered using the Haystack open data standard and an open database query language provides all the key elements that make up an independent data layer. FIN Stack utilizes the optimized, fast database to provide analysis and visualization applications natively as well. 

Unlike legacy building automation systems of the past that required proprietary thick clients to provide the software user experience, modern BAS tools use browser clients and the latest web technology. With FIN Stack, not only are the end user applications leveraging the browser, but all the configuration and commissioning software tools are browser based (this eliminates the need for loading multiple versions and brands of configuration software tools).  

Ease of use

FIN Stack's browser based user experience sets the new standard for programming and operating a smart building. Through the use of context sensitive navigation, users are presented with autogenerated hyperlinks (magic bubbles) to provide intuitive and easy access to related applications (this eliminates traditional graphics that are crowded with icons and links to related pages). For example, when viewing a VAV graphic, the magic bubbles automatically know which schedule is controlling the equipment and provides a link to that specific schedule. 


The semantic tagging model provides the basis for engineering efficiencies and optimized workflows. There are numerous payoffs of leveraging a tagged database that, for example, can automatically generate point graphics and summary graphics for equipment data (this is traditionally a very time consuming task to create graphic pages and tables).

Value Adds

Edge2Cloud is a complimentary service that enables users of the FIN Framework to remotely access building data easily and securely. Until now, this has required IT support (including the use of a VPN connection, using up valuable time and resources). This is just one example of the Cool things you can do with Edge2Cloud. Check out this blog for more ideas


Another benefit of the independent data layer is that, as the name implies, the data can be independent of the applications, this means additional "killer apps" can be easily added to the FIN Framework. For example, Fault Detections and Diagnostics (FDD) and Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS) can easily leverage the structured data. 

FIN Stack also works great with Niagara as a data integration through the use of the open source nHaystack software module. For southbound communications, similar to BACnet and Modbus, the nHaystack connector provides integration to legacy Niagara installations (no need to rip out or upgrade supervisory controllers).  

As you can see, FIN Stack offers a state-of-the-art open platform for building automation that checks all the boxes for device, data, and distribution. It utilizes 100% browser based toolset, optimized workflows, and even supports remote access through Edge2Cloud. How does that stack up for you?

B. Scott Muench

Scott joined J2 Innovations as a partner in 2011, and is now Vice President of Customer Experience. He has a wide range of responsibilities including evangelism, business development, training, and operational excellence. Scott is well known as an industry expert in smarthomes and smart buildings. He is a past president of ASHRAE, and is currently a board member for Project Haystack. Scott attended Clarkson University for Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a BS/Business in Organizational Innovation.

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Topics from this blog: FIN Stack Project Haystack Systems Integrator FIN Edge2Cloud

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