Access to global media is everywhere, proven by the fact that I am preparing this month's column in Australia.

The global acceptance of browser-based interfaces with a standard Internet protocol is an amazing phenomenon of the new century. Global acceptance of browser-based everything is bridging language and cultural barriers at a rate never before seen. Proprietary operating systems of the past often reflected the lowest cost approach and were created in isolation from other building operating software. New browser-based interfaces are rapidly becoming the lowest cost approach because of their global application.

The browser-based global presentation standard is not enough to allow building automation globalization. Fieldbus standards like BACnet and LON and developing IP standards such as OPC are also having significant effects.

BACnet

From an interview with Jim Henry, Chairman BACnet Interest Group - AustralAsia (BIG-AA) on our AutomatedBuildings.com website:

"BACnet is widely accepted in Australia by the consulting community, and we see a large percentage of specifications now calling for BACnet [such as when] recently I went to both Korea and Japan. There is a great deal of interest in both countries, as well as China in BACnet."

From the BACnet website (www.bacnet.org): BIG-EU Hosts "BACnet Tech Conference 2001" (10/01). The Nuremberg Fair was both the location and center of attraction of the recent BACnet technical conference entitled "Increasing the Efficiency of Building Automation: Open System Communication Based on the International BACnet Standard."

Also The Guide to Specifying Interoperable Building Automation and Control Systems Using ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135-1995, BACnet, is now available as a downloadable pdf file in three languages: Chinese, German, and the original English.

Lon

LonWorld 2001 (www.lonworld99.com/) was held for the first time, in October in Frankfurt, and had 87 international exhibitors from 21 countries registered. The level of internationalism among fair and conference visitors was 50% and the top five visitor nations were Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Japan. The LON platform is a solution for networking everyday devices to each other and to the Internet and becomes the heart of enabling solutions for a connecting world.

OPC Plus Wireless

ABB Corporate Research submitted an article to my website, addressing Norway Wireless monitoring and control of an EIB fieldbus using PalmV/Bluetooth and iPAQ/802.11b, found at www.automatedbuildings.com/news/nov01/art/abb/abb.htm.

The implementation relies on off-the-shelf software components, including OPC client/server and Web browser technology.

The application of the OPC standard interface makes possible interoperability between automation/control applications, field systems/devices and business/office applications. (See www.opcfoundation.org/.)

The paper highlights the implementation of the solutions, and in particular the pros and cons of the two platforms. The Internet is the major driver toward interoperability and information-flow at all levels. All systems need to be integrated and interoperable, regardless of geographical location and hierarchical constraints.

Building Systems

In building automation there is an urgent need for increased performance with respect to system integration and flexible building utilization. Systems for handling energy optimization, ventilation, fire and water alarms, as well as security, require interoperability. In addition, there is an increasing demand for mobility within the building premises, where every employee will be provided with their own portable device. In such a setting, it appears evident that optimal building control should be based on the same fundamental principles (i.e., it must be wireless enabled, use standard Internet technology, and utilize existing standard field-bus interfaces). This has led to the development of the wireless OPC control.

Conclusion

Globalization of our industry through emerging standards is occurring at a phenomenal pace. The fact that today's developers are able to create products with a global reach increases the amount of manpower and resources available to work on the myriad of required interfaces. A second amplifier of the rapid growth in global building automation interfaces is the fact that industrial control interfaces that are created to work with the same standards such as OPC can be reused for our industry. ES