The J2 Innovations' blog

The home of smart buildings, smart equipment and IoT

Why Project Haystack is Important (& why we use it in FIN)

When finding something is difficult the English have a saying “it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack”. This explains the naming of Project Haystack, which is an open source initiative whose goal is to define a standardized way to interpret the data that flows from modern buildings equipped with building automation systems. “Tagging” the data enables it to be “found” and understood by application software, thereby enabling its transformation into actionable insights that help manage the building’s performance. Data tags (or meta data) provide the context and meaning that enables the data to be abstracted from the device or system it originates from. Once tagged in a standard way, management and analytic software can consistently and automatically process the data irrespective of which sub-system is comes from.

Haystack article graphic

Instead of every project being configured with data references that are different for each sub-system and building, adoption of the Haystack standard for automation systems will enable buildings to share data in a uniform way. The principle benefit is that application software can automatically digest the data required to manage or analyse without requiring time consuming data integration for each project. The recently announced version 4.0 of the Haystack standard, now includes additional data modelling features, so that it provides an even more comprehensive solution for the needs of those designing and operating smart buildings.

Additionally, as Haystack is not just a set of tag definitions but also a protocol, the process of integrating multiple systems can be simplified since the Haystack protocol is “richer” than BACnet standard. The ASHRAE organisation, who manage the BACnet standard, recognizes the value of tagging, and is currently engaged in formal discussions with Project Haystack to explore how Haystack definitions can be included in future versions of the BACnet standard.

J2 Innovations is one of the founding members of Project Haystack, which means the FIN Framework fully supports the Haystack standard. FIN uses tagging to enable automation of most of the configuration tasks that Building Management Systems (BMS) engineers would otherwise manually have to perform on each project. This is a huge time saver! FIN is designed for OEM developers to rapidly create templates and wizards that simplifies the management and deployment of their connected smart devices. The FIN Framework offers our customers a fast way to become Haystack compatible, avoiding the risk and high cost of in-house development. With FIN, you just pay per license, and gain the benefit of a world-class, proven technology, that can work with your existing applications via our various APIs. Find out more by about FIN and Haystack by watching our videos at To find out more about how FIN can help your business please get in touch, by phone, email or via LinkedIn.

Haystack Tagging

Chris Irwin

Chris joined J2 Innovations in October 2018, to develop J2's sales in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Chris comes with a wealth of experience in the building automation market and with skills in strategic business development and strategic marketing. Chris spent 12 years developing Tridium's open framework business in Europe so he is excited to now be working with the next generation product. Chris is passionate about simplicity, energy saving, renewable energy, and electric transport.

View all articles

Topics from this blog: FIN Stack Project Haystack FINstitute

Back to all posts