Building Automation: A Truly Open Chip
In May, we published the following on our website (www.automatedbuildings.com/releases/may04/loytec.htm):
"LOYTEC and Cimetrics announce BACnet / EIA-709 Controller IC"
"Vienna, Austria, and Boston - LOYTEC electronics GmbH, with its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, and Cimetrics, Inc with its headquarters in Boston, announced their agreement to support BACnet on LOYTEC's high performance low cost ‘System on a Chip' which combines the two leading open protocols for networked devices in building automation.
"This controller IC (called LISA) is an advanced "Convergence Solution" for manufacturers looking for an inexpensive way to implement a BACnet or ANSI/EIA-709 product or to create a dual solution able to be changed by firmware."
When I heard of this exciting development at BuilConn 2004, I contacted Al Mouton, president of Loytec Americas Inc., to have him update our readers. Mouton's article titled, "LonWorks and BACnet System Solution on a Chip" has become our most downloaded ever (www.automatedbuildings.com/news/may04/articles/ mouton/mouton.htm). An excerpt follows:
"At January's AHR Expo Automation Showcase, Loytec received much notice from its tools, and network products based on the L-Core, and the announcement of the new LISA chip. This captured the interest of the BACnet camp and Jim Lee of Cimetrics Inc. approached Loytec with the thought of working together to offer the first LonWorks and BACnet system solution using the LISA chip. This opens the doors to new opportunities for working to support both protocol platforms. At BuilConn in April, Cimetrics and Loytec announced their partnership offering a BACnet protocol platform from Cimetrics and a ANSI/EIA-709 LonWorks protocol platform from Loytec, both capable of running on the LISA chip.
"For the first time ever, it is now possible to develop products for BACnet networks as well as for LonWorks networks based on the same hardware and software platform. Simply by loading different firmware into the device, the node will communicate on BACnet and/or LonWorks networks. This is truly an exciting offering for the industry. It is estimated that the cost will be between $15 and $20, and product and tools will be available sometime during the fourth quarter this year."
A July interview with Cimetrics' Jim Lee on the technology inside the LISA "BACnet On A Chip" (www.automatedbuildings.com/news/jul04/interviews/lee.htm) provided more insights from which I have extracted the following:
Sinclair: "What is the potential application of the LISA chip?
Lee: Product vendors that currently have either proprietary or LonWork based solutions will find the LISA chip as an incredibly rapid development path to bring their product into the BACnet standard. They will be able to source a component that solves all of the communication needs of BACnet as well as having a 32-bit ARM processor available for their applications.
Sinclair: I understand that the LISA chip can also use the LonWorks protocol?
Lee: Yes, depending on the software you chose to use, the LISA chip can communicate using BACnet or LonWorks; this is an incredibly powerful feature that allows device vendors to develop their hardware ONE time for the TWO dominant protocols in building automation today."
Adding to all this excitement this news just in from BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA):
"ASHRAE Committee SSPC-135 Submits XML/Web Services Addendum to BACnet Standard for Public Review"
"Nashville, June 2004 - An XML/Web Services Addendum to ASHRAE Standard 135-2004, BACnet® was submitted for public review by ASHRAE committee, SSPC-135 as Annex M (BACnet/WS). Web services are a collection of technologies that allow different applications from different sources to communicate with each other without time-consuming custom coding. Because all communication is in XML, Web services are not tied to any particular operating system or programming language.
"The services described in Annex M provides a universal standard for data sharing, alarming, and trending of building data using XML and SOAP; a high level abstraction of building automation and control network data for use with other systems such as utilities, weather, and financial systems."
This is all very exciting news and ensures that BACnet is back. ES