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Optimized Engineering Workflows: The Future of BAS

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Whether you are a system integrator, application engineer, or advanced end user, the effort it takes to develop a bespoke solution for a typical BAS is one of the most costly and time consuming aspects of a project. It is clear that the network effect of integrating multiple devices and leveraging the data they contain is valuable, but reducing the effort it takes to deploy is where I believe the next sea change in our industry is happening.

Nearly ten years ago, shortly after Project Haystack was created, we imagined what the future could look like with open data standards and authored a whitepaper on the payoffs of tagging and data modeling. 


Tagging and data modeling have become the "IT" (information technology) glue between "big data" and killer applications that consume the data. But the real unspoken hero is the "OT" (operational technology) benefits that can be gained by leveraging metadata to optimize engineering workflows. 

Imagine a future where:

  • You build a database by simply integrating devices (using templates) that include metadata tags to make the points self-declaring. All applications can then dynamically consume that information and automatically build technician graphics, equipment summaries, and user experience navigation (to name a few). 
  • Common workflows are simplified through the use of context-sensitive wizards and tools that prompt the user for key information about the task. Through the power of queries and metadata, the application builds new content such as equipment graphics, floor plans, schedules, or an entire project!
  • Typical equipment graphics, control strategies, and other applications are relativized, meaning they embrace a one-to-many relationship, where only a single graphic, routine, or alarm is needed, which is then dynamically linked to many equipment points that reside in the database. 
  • The user experience is flexible enough to enable different tasks and use cases without having to hard code bespoke single-use navigation. A user experience that provides dynamic buttons that link to related applications like graphics, summaries, O&M manuals, and schedules. 

We don't have to wait long or look too hard to see the beginning of the democratization of building automation systems. The original vision of Project Haystack data standard and the subsequent ecosystem has and continues to evolve our industry. We are realizing the "real value" of network devices by seeing a decrease in the effort (mouse clicks) to engineer a project. 


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: Project Haystack Integration Systems Integrator Smart Buildings Technology Building Automation System Democratization BAS

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